Massachusetts Gender Discrimination

Generally, the Equal Pay Act ensures that men and women are paid equally for similar work.  In Massachusetts, employers with six employees are covered by gender discrimination laws.   

The Act requires employers to pay men and women equally if they work in “substantially similar” jobs.  Employers should be aware, however, that this does not require employees of the opposite sex to work in “identical” positions.  Even if they jobs are not identical, the employer can be liable.  Employers should also know that job titles will not be decisive. 

So what does this mean?  Basically, if the jobs require substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility men and women must be paid equally. 

An employer or HR director should also be cognizant that there are several exceptions to this law, including:  Seniority, merit, and any factor other than sex.  As you can see, many of these exceptions are broad and far reaching.  However, an employer should be prepared to defend the legitimacy of these exceptions if challenged.