Pay Equity and State-by-State Laws
Pay Equity and State-by-State Laws

Pay Equity and State-by-State Laws

When you’re managing payroll, it’s tough enough keeping track of – and maintaining compliance with – federal and a single state’s laws. But organizations that have operations in more than one state often experience challenges when it comes to tracking the always-changing requirements of pay equity laws. Complicating matters even further, some states such as California and New York, have separate laws governing cities and counties. We’ve created this handy chart to help you get a quick view of each state’s laws.

State-by-State Pay Equity Laws

State  Law/Citation  Covered Employes  Provisions 
Alabama  None   None  None 
Alaska  Employment Discrimination Act

Alaska Stat. Ann. § 18.80.220(a)(5).
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for work of comparable character or work of the same type in the same location. 
Arizona  Equal Wages

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23-340, 341  
Private companies and Public employers  Requires employers to pay wage rates equal to the rates paid to the opposite sex. Employees must work in the same establishment and have the same work classification. They must also have the same skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.

Provides employer liability for damages.  
Arkansas  Wage Discrimination

Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-601, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers.  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for work of comparable character or work of the same type in the same location.

Provides employer liability for damages.  
California  Equal Pay Act

Cal. Labor Code § 1197.5  
Private companies and Public employers   Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.) Retaliation against an employee who files a complaint is illegal. It’s also illegal for an employer to prohibit employees from talking about their or their co-workers’ wages.

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.

Employers are prohibited from asking for an applicants’ salary history and are required to supply pay scales upon an applicant’s request.

San Francisco has a city ordinance that further prohibits employers from disclosing a current or former employee’s salary information without their consent.  
Colorado  Wage Equality Regardless of Sex

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-5-101, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based solely on the sex of the employee.

Provides employer liability for damages.  
Connecticut  Discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §31-75, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based solely on the sex of the employee. Employers can’t ask about an applicant's pay history, unless it was voluntarily offered.

Provides employer liability for damages.  
Delaware  Differential rate of pay based on gender prohibited

19 Del. Code Ann. § 1107(a), 1113  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.) Employers are prohibited from screening an applicant based on past compensation and can’t ask about salary history. They can confirm salary after an offer has been extended.

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.  
District of Columbia  No equal pay law

Employment discrimination law


D.C. Code Ann. § 2-1402, et. seq.  
  Washington D.C. doesn’t have a specific equal pay law. They have a blanket employment discrimination law that prohibits wage discrimination based on protected class status. 
Florida  Wage discrimination based on sex prohibited

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 448.07  
Private companies with 2+ employees  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.  
Georgia  Sex Discrimination in Employment

Ga. Code Ann. § 34-5-3, et. seq.  
Private companies with 10+ employees

Public employers  
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.

City agencies in Atlanta can’t ask for salary history on employment applications, in interviews or in employment screenings.  
Hawaii  Equal pay; sex discrimination

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 378-2.3, -5

Wage discrimination prohibited

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 387-4  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.

Employers can’t ask about an applicant’s pay history, unless it was voluntarily offered.

Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between people of different race, religion or sex.  
Idaho  Discriminatory Wage Rates Based on Sex

Idaho Code § 44-1701, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.  
Illinois  Equal Wage Act

820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 110/1, et. seq.

Equal Pay Act of 2003

820 Ill. Comp. Stat.

112/1, et. seq.

Wages of Women and Minors Act

820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 125/0.01, et. seq. Ill. Executive Order 2019-02

Executive Order No. 2018-1

Reaffirmation of commitment to gender pay equality  
Private companies with 6+ employees



Private companies with 4+ employees



Private companies with 4+ employees



Public employers

Public employers

 
Creates penalty for wage discrimination.


Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)


Provides cause of action to sue for damages.


Prohibits employing women and minors at an oppressive wage.


Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.

State offices can’t ask for salary history on employment applications, in interviews or in employment screenings. City of Chicago departments may not ask for applicants’ salary histories.  
Indiana  Minimum Wags: Rates; Discrimination

Ind. Code Ann. §22-2-2-4(d), et. seq.  
Private companies with 2+ employees  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages. 
Iowa  Compensation based on comparable worth

Iowa Code Ann. § 70A.18

Wage discrimination in employment

Iowa Code Ann. § 216.6A 
Private companies and Public employers  Policy of wage non-discrimination between the sexes.

Employers can’t pay lower wages to any employee who is employed within the same establishment for equal work because of age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability.

Provides cause of action to sue for damages.  
Kansas  Discrimination in payment of wages

Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-1205, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  EEmployers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides employer liability for damages. 
Kentucky  Wage Discrimination Because of Sex Ky. Rev. Stat. § 337.420, et. seq.

Ordinance No. 066, Series 2018  
Private companies with 2+ employees

Public employers  
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides employer liability for damages.

Louisville/Jefferson County Metro agencies are prohibited from asking about an applicant’s salary history.  
Louisiana  Louisiana Equal Pay for Women Act

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23:661, et. seq.

Employment discrimination law

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23:301, et. seq.  
Public employers  Prohibits wage discrimination based on sex in state employment.

Provides for employer liability for damages.

Louisiana has an anti-discrimination law that includes prohibition of wage discrimination based on sex.

New Orleans city agencies are prohibited from asking about an applicant’s salary history.  
Maine  Equal Pay

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 26 § 628

Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §4577  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages between sexes or employ a woman at pay rate less than what a man gets for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Employers can’t ask about a prospective employee’s pay history until after a job offer has been negotiated.  
Maryland  Equal Pay for Equal Work

Md. Labor and Employment Code Ann. § 3-301, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

They’re also prohibited from providing less favorable employment opportunities based on sex or gender identity.

Provides cause of action to sue for damages.  
Massachusetts  Equal Pay Act

Ann. Laws of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 105A  
Private companies and Public employers   Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.) Retaliation against an employee who files a complaint is illegal. It’s also illegal for an employer to prohibit employees from talking about their or their co-workers’ wages. Employers are prohibited from asking for an applicants’ salary history.

Provides for employer liability for damages.  
Michigan  Unfair Discrimination, Restraint of Trade and Trusts Law

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.556

Workforce Opportunity Wage Act

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 408.423  
Private companies and Public employers




Private companies with 2+ employees  
Any employer that discriminates in the payment of wages between similarly employed men and women can be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.

Employers are prohibited from asking for an applicants’ salary history.  
Minnesota  Equal Pay for Equal Work

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 181.66, et. seq.  
Private companies  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.  
Mississippi  None  None  None 
Missouri  Female Employees

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 290.410, et. seq.

Resolution 180519  
Private companies and Public employers

Public employers  
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.) Provides for employer liability for damages.

Kansas City offices can’t ask applicants for pay history until they have been hired.  
Montana  Equal pay for women for equivalent service

Mont. Code Ann. 39-3-104  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.) 
Nebraska  Sex Discrimination

Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 48-1221, et. seq.  
Private companies with 15+ employees

Public Employers 
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.) 
Nevada  Discrimination on basis of sex prohibited

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 608.017  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.) 
New Hampshire  Discrimination in the Workplace: Equal Pay

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 275:37  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers or potential employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides employer liability for damages.  
New Jersey  Discrimination in Wages

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 34:11-56.1, et. seq.

Executive Order 1, 2018 
Private companies and Public employers



Public employers  
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides cause of action to sue for damages.

New Jersey agencies and offices can’t ask applicants for salary history or investigate the previous salary of an applicant.  
New Mexico  Fair Pay for Women

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-23-1, et. seq.  
Private companies with 4+ employees  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides employer liability for damages.  
New York  Differential in rate of pay because of sex prohibited



N.Y. Labor Law §194, 198



Executive Order 161



Local Law 2017/067





Local Law No. P for 2016



Local Law No. 25 -2018



Local Law No. 10624-2018



 
Private companies









Public employers



Private companies





Private companies




Private companies


Private companies



 
Private employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions.)

Provides employer liability for damages.

State agencies and departments (except the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) can’t ask applicants for salary history until after a job offer is extended. If an applicant’s previous salary is already known, that information can’t be used to determine applicant’s salary, unless required by law or collective bargaining agreement.

Employers in New York City can’t ask applicants for salary history until after a job offer is extended. If an applicant’s previous salary is already known, that information can’t be used to determine applicant’s salary.

Employers in Albany County can’t ask applicants for salary history until after a job offer is extended.

Employers in Suffolk County can’t ask applicants for salary history or investigate the previous salary of an applicant.

Employers in Westchester County can’t ask applicants for salary history. They’re only allowed under certain circumstances to confirm prior pay and rely on that information in setting salaries. 
North Carolina  No equal pay law

Employment discrimination law


N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-422.1

Executive Order No. 93  
Private companies

Public Employers 
North Carolina has a general employment discrimination law.

State agencies can’t ask applicants for salary history. If an applicant’s previous salary is already known, that information can’t be used to determine applicant’s salary. 
North Dakota  Equal Pay for Men and Women

N.D. Century Code, 34-06.1-01, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides for cause of action to sue for damages. 
Ohio  Wage discrimination

Ohio Rev. Code § 4111.17  
Private companies and Public employers

Private companies with 15+ employees and Public employers  
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or ancestry for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides employer liability for damages.

Effective March 2020 (est.), employers located within the city of Cincinnati, excluding state and local governments (with the exception of the City of Cincinnati) are prohibited from asking for an applicants’ salary history and are required to supply pay scales upon an applicant’s request.  
Oklahoma  Discriminatory Wages

40 Okla. Stat. Ann. § 198.1, et. seq.  
Private companies  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions). 
Oregon  Discriminatory wage rates based on sex

Or. Rev. Stat. § 652.220, et. seq.

Or. Rev. Stat. § 652.220, et. seq  
Private companies and Public employers

Private companies and Public employers  
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides right of action to sue for damages.

Employers can’t ask applicants for salary history or use previous salary of an applicant to set pay.  
Pennsylvania  Equal Pay Law

Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 43 § 336.1, et. seq.

Executive Order: 2018-18-03

Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances, Title One: Administrative, Article XI: Personnel, Chapter 181: General Provisions, Section 181.13  
Private companies and Public employers


Public employers


Public employers







 
Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides cause of action to sue for damages.

State agencies can’t ask applicants for salary history. All job postings must clearly disclose pay scale.

Departments of the City of Pittsburgh can’t ask applicants for salary history. If an applicant’s previous salary is already known, that information can’t be used to determine applicant’s salary.  
Rhode Island  Wage Discrimination Based on Sex

R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. 1956, § 28-6-18, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides cause of action to sue for damages.  
South Carolina  No equal pay law

Employment discrimination law
S.C. Code § 1-13-30. 
  South Carolina has a general employment discrimination law that includes a prohibition of wage discrimination based on protected class status. 
South Dakota  Equal Pay for Equal Work

S.D. Codified Laws § 60-12-15, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides employer liability for damages.  
Tennessee  Sex Discrimination

Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-2-201, et. seq. 
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides employer liability for damages.  
Texas  Equal Work, Equal Pay

Tex. Lab. Code § 659.001, et. seq.

Employment discrimination law

Tex. Lab. Code § 21.001, et. seq.  
Public employers  Prohibits wage discrimination based on sex in public employment only.

Texas also has a general employment discrimination law prohibiting discrimination based on protected class status.  
Utah  No equal pay law

Employment discrimination law


Utah Code Ann. § 34a-5-101, et. seq.  
  Utah has a general employment discrimination law prohibiting wage discrimination based on race, color, sex, retaliation, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 
Vermont  Fair Employment Practices Act

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 § 495(a)(7), 495(b)

H. 294 
Private companies and Public employers

Private companies  
Vermont has a section within its general employment discrimination act that prohibits wage discrimination based on sex.

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.

Employers can’t ask applicants for salary history until after a job offer is extended  
Virginia  Equal pay irrespective of sex

Va. Code Ann. § 40.1-28.6  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.  
Washington  Wage discrimination due to sex

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 49.12.175  
Private companies and Public employers  Any employer that discriminates in the payment of wages between similarly employed men and women can be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.  
West Virginia  Equal Pay for Equal Work

W. Va. Code, § 21-5B-1, et. seq.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

W. Va. Code, § 21-5E-1, et. seq.
Private companies

Public employers  
Prohibits wage discrimination for private employers.

Provides a cause of action to sue for damages.

Prohibits wage discrimination for public employers.

Provides employer liability for damages.  
Wisconsin  No equal pay law

Employment discrimination law


Wis. Stat. Ann. §111.31, et. seq.  
  Wisconsin has a general employment discrimination law prohibiting wage discrimination based on sex.  
Wyoming  Equal Pay

Wyo. Stat.1977 § 27-4-301, et. seq.  
Private companies and Public employers  Employers can’t discriminate in the payment of wages based on sex or gender identity for substantially similar work (skills, effort, responsibility, and similar working conditions).

Provides employer liability for damages.  

Pay discrimination based on gender has been prohibited by federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), and under many state laws for decades. However, 42 states have now expanded on the federal Equal Pay Act to include legislation specific to safeguarding women (in addition to other protected classes [gender, race, etc.]) from wage discrimination. But, of course, not all states’ pay parity laws are created equal. That would be too easy. California, New York and Massachusetts have some of the most stringent equal pay laws in the country, but states such as Alabama, North Carolina and Florida have either no or very limited laws on the books. Basically, in each state that has a law governing the gender pay gap, equal pay for equal work is the general rule.

state pay equity laws

We read Payscale’s recent report, “The State of the Gender Pay Gap 2019” and here are our top four takeaways.

  1. While pay disparities between the sexes are on the decline, there’s still an opportunity to close the gender wage gap.
  2. The uncontrolled wage gap over time (median earnings of all women to all men) has shrunk by 5 cents since 2015. But, in 2019, a woman still only earns 79 cents for each dollar a man earns.
  3. The controlled gender pay gap (same title, experience, industry and location with the single difference being sex) has only decreased by a paltry .008 cents since 2015.
  4. In the controlled gender pay gap, women earn 98 cents for every dollar a man makes. Much better, of course, but still not equal.

When discussing the wage gap, it’s important to also take into consideration that, in the uncontrolled wage gap model, women of color are paid even less than white women: According to the U.S. Census Bureau:
  • Asian women are paid 94.6 cents to the dollar compared to the dollar paid to men.
  • Black women are paid only 70.6 cents to the dollar.
  • Hispanic women are paid 60.7 cents to the dollar.
  • Overall, Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Hawaii and Alaska Native women take home 26% less than white men.
  • The uncontrolled pay gap between white women and white men is 80 cents on the dollar.
The controlled pay gap is somewhat more equal but is also different when compared by race.
  • Black women make 97 cents for every dollar a white man with the same qualifications makes.
  • The gap for Hispanic and white women is about the same, with both groups earning around 98 cents for every dollar a white man with the same credentials earns.

The Opportunity Gap

So, why is the uncontrolled wage gap so big? Mostly because women are less likely to hold high-level, high-paying jobs when compared to their male counterparts. Women also tend to climb the career ladder at a slower rate than men do.

Men and women almost equally enter the workforce as individual contributors and not as people managers. At the beginning of their careers (20-29), 74% of men and 75% of women work as individual contributors. But a much smaller number of women hit manager level or higher by the middle of their careers.

By the middle of their careers (30-44), 47% of men are working as managers (or even higher in the food chain), and only 40% of women are at the same level. 57% of men who are deep into their careers (age 45+), work as managers or higher, while only 41% of women do.

And forget the C-suite; few women make it that far. By late career, 8% of men hold a C-suite position versus just 3% of women.

The Sticky Salary History Question

You might be scratching your head wondering what in the heck salary history has to do with pay equity. The answer is: Quite a bit, actually. Several states and municipalities have already enacted laws prohibiting recruiters and hiring managers from asking the question. And it’s now reached the point that Congress is considering a nationwide ban on employers asking applicants for previous salaries. So, what’s the big deal about a job application requiring an applicant how much they’ve made at their former jobs? It’s not just an uncomfortable question and answer during an interview; it’s gender bias.

States that have enacted laws prohibiting the question are operating under the belief that a job’s pay should be based on the job’s value to the company and not the wages that a job candidate will accept based on their last salary. Again, you’re probably scratching your head. A new hire’s salary based on their previous salary history can limit career growth and perpetuates the pay gap between women and men.

Case in Point:

A woman and a man are competing for the same job. They held identical previous jobs, have the same information on their résumés, and bring equal education and experience to the table. In her past job, the woman had an annual salary of $35,000 and the man’s annual salary was $50,000 for the exact same work. The salary range the company is offering for the job is $44-52,000.

In this situation, the man would most probably have better negotiating leverage and would likely get an offer at the higher end of the salary range. Based on her previous salary, it’s highly probable that the woman’s offer would be at the bottom of the range. But if hiring managers had no idea of previous salaries and based negotiations solely on skills and experience, the woman would have a much better shot at landing a significantly higher salary.

Pay equity legislation is changing nearly every week, and states and municipalities are hustling to respond. So are folks in HR. If you have any questions about compliance with laws, ask us. Better yet, let our payroll and compliance experts handle everything for you. We’ll take care of the details so you can focus on your business and get your time back.

The information provided in our chart is for educational purposes only; it is not legal advice. Always check regulations to help ensure compliance.


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