Gender equality in the workplace has been a long and hard-fought struggle, and it’s not over yet. Recently, a pay equity bill passed in Washington state that will make it more clear what constitutes wage and gender discrimination, ultimately fortifying employee rights.
HB 1506 updates a 75-year-old wage law making it a misdemeanor to discriminate based on gender, according to a report from KING 5 News. This measure will not only make it illegal to discriminate based on gender, but levelthe playing field for all employees. This is achieved in two substantial ways.
First, the measure defines what it means for “similarly employed” workers to receive equal compensation. As our employment attorneys can explain, many companies skirt the issue of “equal pay for equal work” by giving employees different titles, even though the tasks and work load are similar. In the past, employers could argue that because the jobs technically weren’t the same, wage comparisons were not relevant. By moving the goalpost to include “similarly employed” workers as deserving equal pay, Washington has removed this loophole and made sure that those with similar responsibilities and skills remain on a level playing field. Continue reading