Under the Alaska Human Rights Law, employers may not discriminate between the sexes in the payment of wages, or employ a female in an occupation at a salary or wage rate less than that paid to a male employee for work of comparable character or work in the same operation, business, or type of work in the same locality (AK Stat. Sec. 18.80.220).
The Alaska Supreme Court has interpreted the law as prohibiting intentional discrimination in the payment of wages (Alaska State Comm'n for Human Rights v. Department of Admin., 796 P.2d 458 (Alaska 1990)). The Court also ruled that, as used in the statute, "comparable character" means equal pay for substantially equal work.
Alaska's courts have held that pay differences between men and women that are based on certain non-gender-related factors, such as seniority systems, merit pay, and commission systems, are permissible as long as they are fairly and evenly applied to all employees and are not a mere subterfuge to hide discrimination (Brown v. Wood, 575 P.2d 760 (Alaska 1978)).
In addition to the specific prohibition of pay discrimination between the sexes for comparable work, the state Human Rights Law also prohibits employers from discriminating in compensation and other terms and conditions of employment on the basis of a person's race, religion, color, or national origin, or because of the person's age, physical or mental disability, sex, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood (AK Stat. Sec. 18.80.220).