Public and private employers in Alabama will not be able to pay an employee a lower wage rate than an employee of another sex or race within the same establishment earns for jobs that require equal skill, effort, education, experience, and responsibility and are performed under similar working conditions. The new law (2019 Act 519, HB 225) takes effect Sept. 1, 2019.
Highlights of Equal Pay Law
Permitted wage differential. Employers can pay employees at different wage rates if based on:
- A seniority system
- A merit system
- Quantity or quality of production
- Any bona fide factor other than sex or race, such as education, training or experience.
Salary history ban. Employers can’t refuse to interview, hire, promote, employ or otherwise retaliate against applicants who don’t provide their wage histories.
Nonretaliation. Employers are prohibited from discharging or discriminating against employees who:
- Disclose their own wages
- Discuss the wages of other employees
- Inquire about another employee’s wages
- Aid or encourage other employees to exercise their equal pay rights
Records. Employers must maintain a record of employees’ wages and wage rates, job classifications, and other terms and conditions of employment for three years.
Other state action. Alabama became the 49th state to enact equal pay legislation — Mississippi is the only state left without legislation. Many states have recently strengthened their equal pay laws by banning employers from using salary histories in compensation decisions.
Penalties. An employer violating the law may be liable to the employee for the wage difference — with interest — caused by the violation.
- 2019 Act 519, HB 225 (Alabama Legislature)
Mercer Law & Policy Resources
- US: New York Expands Equal Pay Laws, Bans Salary History (July 17, 2019)
- US: Washington State Enacts Salary History Ban (May 24, 2019)
- US: Maine Employers Can’t Ask Job Seekers About Salary History (May 1, 2019)