Law mimics the EPA and takes effect on September 1, 2019
The Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act (CFEPA), passed on June 10, 2019, is Alabama’s first pay equity law. The Act is very similar to the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA); however, includes race along with sex as a protected classification. It does not define “employer” or contain a small employer exception.
The law prohibits employers from paying employee wages less than they pay employees of another race or sex “for equal work within the same establishment on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, education, experience, and responsibility, and performance under similar working conditions.” The law’s exceptions are the same as in the EPA and base wage differences can be made on: (1) a seniority system, (2) a merit system; (3) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; and (4) a differential based upon any factor other than race or sex.
CFEPA mandates that employers may not refuse to interview, hire, promote or employ any applicant or retaliate against any applicant for failing to provide a wage history.
CFEPA states that employers “shall adopt” the record keeping requirements set out in the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations at 29 CFR Part 516.
An employee has two years from the alleged act of discrimination to file a lawsuit and damages are limited to the illegal wage differential plus interest. The recovery of compensatory or punitive damages or attorney’s fees is not provided under the statute.