SB 695 - This act prohibits paying any employee wages less than those paid to employees of the opposite gender for the same work. Furthermore, it also 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. Certain wage payment differentials are exempted from these civil actions 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.
The act redefines wages to include bonuses, stock options, awards or tips, nonmonetary compensation, and any compensation that has economic value to an employee.
The act permits recovery of actual and compensatory damages, not to exceed twice the wages awarded, for any unlawful gender-based pay practice. Courts are authorized to issue an injunction against employers for violation of the provisions of the act. This act allows for the recovery of attorney fees and court costs in any civil action brought under this section and abolishes the six-month statute of limitations for filing an action.
This act prohibits employers from reducing wages to comply with this act. It further 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.
This act is identical to SB 247 (2015), SB 873 (2004) and HB 1069 (2002) and substantially similar to SB 952 (2016), HB 2249 (2016), HB 2356 (2016), HB 2370 (2016), HB 2403 (2016), and HB 2660 (2016).