Sen. Eric Lesser Votes with Mass. Senate to Pass Pay Equity Bill

Sen. Eric P. Lesser voted Thursday to help secure passage of a Senate bill aimed at closing the wage gap between male and female workers in the Commonwealth. “For every dollar men earn in Massachusetts, women earn 82 cents for comparable work,” Sen. Lesser said. “Our economy can’t continue to grow unless women are treated fairly in the workplace and in their paychecks. I’m proud the Senate has passed this bill to help achieve this goal,” Sen. Lesser said.

The bill, S.2107, sponsored by Senator Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville) and Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), seeks to bridge the wage gap by ensuring equal pay for comparable work, establishing pay transparency and requiring fairness in hiring practices.

Last July Sen. Lesser signed a letter submitted to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development supporting an earlier version of the bill.

Included in the bill are provisions that prohibit employers from:

  • reducing the pay of any employee in order to achieve gender pay equity
  • banning workers from discussing or disclosing information about their own wages or coworkers’ wages
  • screening prospective employees based on previous wages or salary history as a condition of being interviewed, during an interview or otherwise being considered for an offer of employment
  • retaliating against employees who file a pay equity complaint, participate in an investigation or discuss wages with one or more coworkers

The bill also lengthens the time an employee has to bring a pay discrimination suit, from one to three years, and allows for the awarding of attorneys’ fees.

A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research projects that the gender wage gap in Massachusetts will not close on its own until 2058.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Press ReleaseEric Lesser