Post Content

sign office door

A new pay equity law is aimed at giving workers more protections, even in the prehire phase.

Massachusetts’ pay equity act was signed by Governor Charlie Baker earlier this month on August 1 after the legislation unanimously passed both the House and Senate.

Statute 2016, c. 177 An Act to Establish Pay Equity includes several components to strengthen fairness in hiring and compensation.  “Comparable work,” or jobs regardless of titles that require similar skills and responsibilities, requires equality in compensation. Noncompliant employers can have action taken against them to collect unpaid wages and damages. It takes effect July 1, 2018.

The Act is one of the strongest state laws in the nation aiming at equivalent pay for employees with comparable jobs, seniority, and workplace conditions.  It is also intended to prevent discrimination based on gender, stating: “No employer shall discriminate in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages, including benefits or other compensation, or pay any person a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to employees of a different gender for comparable work.”

The Act also:

  • Forbids employers asking a job candidate about their salary history before extending an offer of employment, including the compensation, to the applicant.
  • Prohibits employers from preventing workers disclosing or discussing salary information about their earnings or those of their colleagues
  • Bars employers from discharging or retaliating against employees for opposing any violations of the Act by the employer.

The Act provides a Private Right of Action: an employee may file in court on their own behalf or with an attorney’s assistance without having to file an initial charge of discrimination with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.  The statute of limitations is three years from the alleged violation.


For further legal information there is a section on hiring employees at the Massachusetts Law About… A-Z web page.


Image credit: Laura Pasquini / Flickr / CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Written By:

Tags: , ,

Recent Posts

New Law Gives Added Protections for Persons with Disabilities posted on Feb 20

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a new law on February 13, 2020 which gives more protections to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  Chapter 19 of the Acts of 2020 establishes a registry for caretakers in Massachusetts who have been found to have caused serious physical   …Continue Reading New Law Gives Added Protections for Persons with Disabilities

Real Estate Recording Fees to be Increased posted on Dec 10

Under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44B section 8,  real property conveyance documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds are subject to a Community Preservation Act surcharge.  This law was amended by chapter 41 sections 29 and 30 of the Acts of 2019.  Effective December 31,   …Continue Reading Real Estate Recording Fees to be Increased

Portraits in Massachusetts Law: Lucy Stone posted on Nov 13

Portraits in Massachusetts Law: Lucy Stone

Portraits in Massachusetts Law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates. These pages provide links to biographical information abut people who have been particularly important in legal history in Massachusetts, as our government took shape in the cauldron of the American Revolution and grew and changed throughout   …Continue Reading Portraits in Massachusetts Law: Lucy Stone