Washington Equal Pay/Comparable Worth laws & HR compliance analysis

Washington Equal Pay/Comparable Worth: What you need to know

Gender-based discrimination. The Washington Equal Pay Act prohibits all employers from paying female employees a lower wage than it pays to similarly employed males (WA Code Sec. 49.12.175). Discrimination in any way in the payment of wages on the basis of sex is also prohibited. The Act covers all employers in the state that have both male and female employees. An individual alleging a violation of the Act may bring a civil action in state court. Violations of the Equal Pay Act also constitute criminal misdemeanors.
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Exception. Pay differences that are based on a good-faith factor other than sex do not violate the Equal Pay Act.
The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits employers from compensation discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin (including ancestry), age (40 years or older), sex (including pregnancy), marital status, sexual orientation (including gender identity), military status, actual or perceived human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis C infection, disability, or the use of a trained guide dog or service animal by a person with a disability (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.44.090,Sec. 49.60.180 et seq.). The WLAD covers public employers and private employers with eight or more employees, including employment agencies and labor unions.
Under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the federal fair employment laws were amended so that each paycheck affected by an employer's prior discriminatory practice or decision constitutes an unlawful discriminatory act that triggers a new deadline for filing a pay discrimination claim. An employee alleging discrimination must be able to show that the paycheck ...

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