New York State Passes Legislation That Would Further Expand Protections Against Pay Discrimination

The New York State Legislature recently passed a trio of pay equity bills in an effort to address wage inequality and expand protections against pay discrimination to even more individuals.

THE SCOPE OF NEW YORK’S EQUAL PAY LAW INCREASED

The first bill (S5248B/A8093) would amend New York State’s current equal pay law – Labor Law § 194 – to cover a number of additional protected categories, including age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, and other employees and interns protected under the New York State Human Rights Law. Currently, Section 194 prohibits only gender-based pay discrimination.

In addition, this bill would further amend Section 194 and lower the bar for employees bringing equal pay claims by requiring that employers provide equal pay – not just for “equal work,” but for “substantially similar work” as well. Under this bill, the New York State Department of Labor would be authorized to assess civil penalties for pay discrimination because of membership in a protected class.

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