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Massachusetts

Regulatory Strength: ‏‏ Strong‏
Effective as of June 1st, 2018

Protected groups:

  • Gender

Applicable to:

  • Private and public companies*
  • May cover state and local government employees*

HR practices:

  • Employer cannot retaliate against employees who:
    • File a complaint or testify regarding pay discrimination
    • Discuss salaries with coworkers
  • Employer cannot ask for salary history while hiring employees
  • Pay Analysis Groups are defined differently than the Federal “Similarly Situated” standard

Defenses/Rebuttals:

  • Law narrows the reasons employers can use to justify pay differences (e.g., education must be job-related)
  • Employee accepting a low wage is not an acceptable defense
  • Salary market surveys may be used to justify pay differences across different locations

Remedies:

  • Back pay:
    • Up to two (2) times the amount of back pay awarded
    • Up to three (3) years of back pay may be awarded
    • Safe harbor or affirmative defense may apply
  • Employer is liable for plaintiff attorney fees
  • Every paycheck may be considered a separate violation

State Specific:

  • Extensive guidance is provided by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

Please click HERE for access to MA Gen L ch 149 § 105A, Equal Pay Act.
*see law for specific inclusions/exclusions

Last revised 08/23/2019

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