Could the salary history be … history?
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Closing the gap
According to Bezouska, salary histories can be used by an employer to set initial wages for new employees. As a result, gaps can develop upon commencement of employment among different employees performing similar job functions, based on the employees’ salary histories. These gaps can remain even as an employee progresses through his or her career.
Bezouska’s colleague Scott Paler, an attorney with the Litigation Practice Group and the Labor and Employment Practice Group chair for DeWitt Ross & Stevens, says the bill’s authors believe that this new legislation will help to avoid perpetuating wage gaps between white men and other segments of the population.
“However, lawmakers around the country had similar lofty aspirations regarding ‘ban the box’ laws — laws precluding employers from inquiring about criminal history information early in the hiring process,” Paler explains. “So far, early studies have suggested the ‘ban the box’ laws have not yielded the desired effect.”
Good for employees, good for business?
Paler acknowledges the business lobby will likely be concerned about the possibility that companies will face ever more risk on the litigation front if Norton’s bill becomes law. “It’s just one more type of regulation to contend with,” Paler explains. “In addition, they may believe that the new laws are unnecessary in light of existing ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ laws and discrimination laws.”
However, Paler notes there could also be positive side effects for businesses.
“It could [actually] help businesses comply with ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ laws. If it works as intended, it could also help boost morale among workers who would otherwise be underpaid.”
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