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Massachusetts Updated Equal Pay Act, Effective July 1, 2018

On July 1, 2018, the new Equal Pay Act takes effect.  The Office of the Attorney General has published an overview of the new law and answers to frequently asked questions which is available, here.

The Act updates and replaces M.G.L. c. 149, Section 105A.  Some key provisions of the Act are the following:

  1. Employers may not prohibit employees from discussing their wages

  2. Employers may not require prospective employees to disclose their wage or salary history

  3. Employers may pay different wages to men and women doing comparable work based only on one or more of six specified factors (seniority, merit, production / sales, geographic location, education/ training / experience, and/or travel requirements).

In some circumstances, an employer that undertakes a good faith, reasonable self-evaluation and is making reasonable progress eliminating unlawful gender-based wage differentials may have an affirmative defense.

Comparable work is work requiring substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.  What is or is not similar may require a case-by-case determination, as will, e.g., relative merit.  Needless to say, employees and employers will continue to spar over whether such determinations were unlawfully biased and whether efforts to eliminate unlawful disparities were reasonable, undertaken in good faith and timely.  Standby for more!

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About this Author

Nancy S. Shilepsky. Employment Attorney, Sherin and Lodgen Law FIrm
Partner

Nancy S. Shilepsky is a leading influence in the world of executive advocacy, employment law and employment litigation. In May 2015, Nancy was selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). The LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation, and superior ethical reputation. She has been a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers since 2000.

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