Equal Pay and Wage Disclosure Laws by State
Author: Beth P. Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor
Equal pay laws generally prohibit an employer from paying different wages based on sex (or other protected classes) for the same or similar work. At the federal level, these laws include the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In an effort to eliminate wage discrimination and achieve greater pay equity, a number of states have enacted laws that build on the federal protections by mandating equal pay and addressing wage disclosure. In addition, some states have equal employment opportunity laws that also prohibit discrimination in compensation based upon protected class status.
Many state wage disclosure laws seek to increase pay transparency and may, among other things, prohibit an employer from:
- Requiring, as a condition of employment, that employees refrain from discussing the amount of their wages;
- Requiring employees to sign a waiver or other document denying them the right to disclose their wage information; or
- Taking adverse action against employees or other individuals who inquire about, disclose, compare or otherwise discuss their wages.
The following chart provides an overview of state equal pay laws that apply to private employers, the protected classes covered by the law, which employers are subject to the law, the type of work being compared and the circumstances in which pay may differ. The chart also indicates which states have wage disclosure laws in place and provides links to relevant employee handbook statements that relate to wage discussion and incorporate wage disclosure provisions.
Table cells are marked N/A where the state statutes or regulations are silent. States that have no requirements regarding equal pay or wage disclosure are marked N/A. In the absence of state requirements, federal rules may apply. An employer should check local laws, as some municipalities may have requirements regarding equal pay and wage disclosure.