Equity Law Case Study

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New York’s pay equity law closely resembles the new provisions in California’s law with a few key differences in the scope of comparison employees can make when bringing claims and available affirmative defenses. New York’s statute is more restrictive in the scope employees have to compare themselves to their counterparts to prove wage discrepancies: the law requires employees to perform jobs that necessitate “equal skill, effort and responsibility . . . under similar working conditions.” The four acceptable factors employers can use as bases for wage differences are the same as those in California’s law: seniority, merit, measures of earnings based on production quantity or quality, or “a bona fide factor other than sex.” New York’s …show more content…
The state’s new statute requires employees claiming wage disparity to show that they do “comparable work” to employees used as a basis for comparison. The law defines comparable work as that which “requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions”—language that mirrors California’s statutory text. Massachusetts’ statute, however, also adds that “a job title or . . . description alone” is not determinative of comparable jobs. Massachusetts also more closely defines “working conditions”—unlike California and New York—as a combination of “reasonable shift differentials” and “the physical surroundings and hazards encountered by employees performing a job,” among other factors.
Massachusetts’ statute includes variations of the affirmative defenses that California and New York’s statutes incorporate. These include systems based on seniority or merit or that “[measure] earnings by quantity or quality of production, sales, or revenue,” as well as differences in “education, training or experience to the extent such factors are reasonably related to the particular job in question.” However, Massachusetts’ statute also includes the employer’s location and the “regular[ity] and necess[ity]” of employee travel as additional employer justifications for pay
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Kansas’s law requires employers in violation of the statute to pay employees the total amount of unpaid wages and overtime compensation, notwithstanding any agreement between the employer and employee. The statute allows for a minimum $250 and maximum $1,000 fine for violations of its pay equity provision. Kansas’s law does include an anti-retaliation provision: employers that fire or broadly discriminate against employees because of complaints filed, legal claims filed, or testimony given in a wage discrimination case under the statute are automatically considered to have violated the statute and garner an additional fine of $250 to $1,000. However, Kansas’s statute does not include liquidated damages tied to the total amount of underpaid wages. While Kansas does include overtime wages as part of its liquidated damages provision, which California, New York, and Massachusetts’ statutes do not include, employers’ additional monetary liability is capped at

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