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Rhode Island Enacts New Protections Against Pay Discrimination

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee has signed into law new protections against pay discrimination. The new law, which goes into effect January 1, 2023, makes it unlawful to pay any employee less than the employees of another race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin for comparable work.

Salary History Ban and Pay Transparency

Consistent with other state equal pay law trends, the Rhode Island law also contains a “ban” on employer inquiries about or reliance on salary history, as well as pay transparency protections. Employers may not require a candidate to disclose salary history or rely on a candidate’s wage history to justify lower pay.

Employers also may not prevent employees from discussing pay.

“Safe Harbor” for Self-Evaluation

The new law also provides a “safe harbor” if an employer has analyzed pay and rectified any identified problems. An employer would have an affirmative defense to all liability if it evaluated its pay practices within the two years prior to commencement of an action and can show that any unlawful pay differences identified by the analysis have been eliminated.

A permissible self-evaluation may be “of the employer’s own design” or on a “standard template or form” to be issued by the Department of Labor and Training.

We will continue to monitor for additional developments and provide updates as warranted.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 196
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About this Author

K. Joy Chin, Jackson Lewis, wage benefits lawyer, affirmative action attorney
Principal

Joy Chin is a Principal in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Since joining the firm in 1995, her practice has been devoted exclusively to employment law and related litigation and the firm’s regulatory practice.

Ms. Chin has litigated matters before local, state and federal administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. Ms. Chin is a frequent speaker on affirmative action and creating lawful diversity programs and spends much of her time counseling employers on issues relating to diversity,...

631-247-4613
Jonathan Shank Boston Principal Employer Workplace Law Jackson Lewis PC
Principal

Jonathan R. Shank is a principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island offices of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in all areas of workplace law, including preventive advice and counseling, as well as the litigation of employment disputes.

Jonathan has represented employers in cases involving discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation, ERISA, wage and hour laws, and breach of contract, as well as cases involving restrictive covenants...

617-305-1272
Robert H. Morsilli, Labor & Employment Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Principal

Robert H. Morsilli is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island, offices of Jackson Lewis P.C. He practices labor and employment law, with a particular emphasis on traditional labor relations and wage and hour advice, counseling and litigation.

Mr. Morsilli provides advice and counsel, conducts training and represents clients in matters involving a wide array of employment law topics, including employment discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and...

401-490-3444
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