SB 119 - This act removes references to male and female employees and prohibits paying any employee wages less than those paid to employees of the opposite gender for the same work. The act also:
- Redefines "wages" to include bonuses, stock options, and any compensation that has economic value to an employee;
- Creates a civil cause of action against employers who pay lower wages to employees of the opposite gender when the work performed is equal, requires equal skill, and is performed under similar conditions;
- Exempts certain wage payment differentials from civil action when they are based on merit systems, regional economic factors, factors that measure pay due to output, or other bona fide factors other than gender. Varying local market rates for equal jobs do not qualify for this exemption;
- Prohibits employers from reducing wages to comply with this act;
- Prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who utilize the protections of this act and creates a civil action for actual and compensatory damages for such retaliation;
- Creates a civil action against employers for actual damages and compensatory damages, not to exceed twice the wages awarded, for any unlawful gender-based pay practice;
- Authorizes an injunction against employers for violation of the provisions of the act;
- Allows for the recovery of attorney fees and court costs in any civil action brought due to the act; and
- Abolishes the six-month statute of limitations for filing an action.
This act is identical to SB 873 (2004).