Pay equity has been in the news lately regardless if it’s in the private business, non-profit or government sectors. Just recently, Nike was sued by two former female employees that they were discriminated against by Nike in pay, advancement and conditions of employment. Nike responded “we are committed to competitive pay and benefits for our employees. Nike opposes discrimination of any type and has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Pay equity has been an issue for years where women in many instances are paid less than their male counterparts. The most notable case was of Lilly Ledbetter. Ledbetter sued Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in 2007 that she was discriminated by her employer by not paying her the same as her male counterparts for performing the same job. The case was decided against her by the US Supreme Court on a technicality that her claim was untimely. In effect the statute of limitations had already run out. In 2009, Congress passed, and President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
What is critical is that we in Connecticut are reminded that effective January 1, 2019, Connecticut’s new Pay Equity Act becomes law. With this Act employers will be prohibited from inquiring or directing a third party (e.g. staffing agency) to inquire about an applicant’s compensation history, unless the applicant voluntarily discloses it. The bill does allow employers to seek information about the elements of a candidate’s current compensation structure, such as bonus and/or stock options – as long as the value of those elements are not included.
The overall concept behind the bill is to prevent further inequities in pay between men and women. The Hartford Courant reported that women earn approximately 83 cents for every dollar men earn.
How should Employers prepare?
Before this bill becomes law on January 1, 2019, ensure:
- That all managers and those conducting interviews are properly trained as to what can and cannot be asked during an interview
- Ensure staffing agencies and other outside recruiters (especially those from outside of Connecticut) are aware of the new requirements
- Ensure that no employment application, job board or other electronic Applicant Tracking System (ATS) inquires into an applicant’s compensation history