New York State Pay Equity Law Applies to Other Legally Protected Categories (Not Just Gender)

Effective October 8, 2019, all employers in New York State must pay members of “legally protected classes” the same those not in a legally protected class for equal or “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.”

Significantly, this amendment to New York’s Labor Law expands existing New York State gender pay equity protections to legally protected categories other than gender.  The term “protected class” includes, but is not limited to, age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, or domestic violence victim status.  Previously, the law prohibited employers from paying employees less than employees of the opposite sex for “equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.”

Notably, the law may apply even to out-of-state businesses employing workers in New York.  The impact of this law is that employers will now need to carefully scrutinize compensation of all workers performing work within New York State and determine whether the pay is the same for “substantially similar work being done.”

Employers in New York State would be well-advised to self-audit their pay practices at the direction and in consultation with their legal counsel to preserve an attorney-client or attorney work product privilege. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Brauner, Esq., Head of Perlman & Perlman LLP’s Employment Law Practice, lisa@nullperlmanandperlman.com, 212-889-0575.

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