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Rhode Island Signed into Law New Protections Against Pay Discrimination

2021-07-19

New law includes a salary history ban and pay transparency and goes into effect January 1, 2023

The new law, signed by Governor Dan McKee and effective on January 1, 2023, makes it unlawful to pay an employee less than the employees of another race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin for comparable work. 

The law is consistent with other state pay equity trends and contains a ban on employer inquiries about or reliance on salary history.  It also includes pay transparency protections and employers may not require a candidate to disclose salary history or rely on salary history on a candidate to defend lower pay.  Employees may openly discuss pay without fear of reprisal. 

The good news for employers is that it provides a “safe harbor” by providing an affirmative defense to all liability if they can demonstrate that they have analyzed pay and worked to fix identified discrepancies.  This evaluation of pay practices must have been conducted within two years of the commencement of an action and the employer must be able to prove that the pay differences identified in the analysis have been eliminated.

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.