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Maryland House passes bill strengthening Equal Pay Act

On April 9, 2016, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill that enhanced protections for workers across the State. By a 100-36 margin, the House passed a bill that would bar employers from paying employees less on the basis of an employee's sex. In addition, this bill also bars unequal pay on the basis of gender identity. If this bill becomes law, Maryland would be one of the few states to bar unequal pay on the basis of gender identity.

The bill also barred employers from providing less favorable job opportunities on the basis of sex or gender identity. It also bars employer retaliation against employees for discussing salary and benefits with each other.

What implications will this bill have for Maryland's workforce?

Maryland's equal pay act would still allow employers to pay different salaries based on seniority, merit increases and an employee's different abilities, among other factors. This is similar to other equal pay laws across the nation. However, if an employer does have a pay disparity, it must show that the disparity "is not based on or derived from a gender-based differential in compensation" and "is job-related with respect to the position and consistent with a business necessity." These differences must account for all of the pay disparity.

Consequently, going forward it may be simpler for employees to show that they are receiving unequal pay on the basis of sex or gender identity. Presently, Marylanders are waiting to see whether Governor Hogan will approve or veto the bill.

If you have reason to believe that you rights to equal pay have been violated, it is critical to discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney. For years, the attorneys of Thatcher Law Firm have provided effective, dynamic representation to employees and employers across Maryland.

Source: House Bill 1003, Maryland House of Delegates

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