50 State Equal Pay Reference Guide - 2023 Q1 Edition

Jurisdiction Equal Pay Law Protected Class(es) Type of Work Compared Permissible Factors for Pay Differential Salary History Inquiries Permitted? RI Rhode Island Sex, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin. A “comparable work” standard will apply. Comparable work means work that requires substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions. Determining whether jobs are comparable will require an analysis of the jobs as a whole. Minor differences in skill, effort, or responsibility will not prevent two (2) jobs from being considered comparable. A wage differential is permitted when the employer demonstrates: (1) the systems are fair and are not being used as a pretext for an unlawful wage differential; (2) the differential is based upon one or more of the following factors: (i) a seniority system (but pregnancy-related disability or parental, family, and medical leave shall not reduce seniority); (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; (iv) geographic location when the locations correspond with different costs of living; (v) reasonable shift differential; (vi) education, training, or experience, if job-related and consistent with a business necessity; (vii) work-related travel, if regular and a business necessity; or (viii) a bona fide factor other than status within a protected class that is not based upon or derived from a differential in compensation based on protected class that is jobrelated with respect to the position in question; and that is consistent with business necessity. This factor shall not apply if the employee demonstrates that an alternative business practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing the wage differential and that the employer has refused to adopt such alternative practice. (3) The factor(s) relied upon must reasonably explain the differential; or (4) Each factor is relied upon reasonably. An individual’s wage history cannot, by itself, justify an otherwise unlawful wage differential. The new law also provides a “safe harbor” if the employer has done a selfevaluation of its pay practices within previous two years and eliminated any identified. Employers must not: (1) rely on the wage history of an applicant when deciding whether to consider the applicant for employment; (2) require that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; (3) rely on the wage history of an applicant to determine wages to be paid upon hire; or (4) seek the wage history of an applicant. However, after an employer makes an initial offer of employment with compensation, an employer may: (1) rely on wage history to support a wage higher than the wage offered by the employer, if wage history is voluntarily provided by the applicant for employment, without prompting from the employer; (2) seek to confirm the wage history of the applicant for employment to support a wage higher than the wage offered by the employer; and (3) rely on wage history in these circumstances to the extent that the higher wage does not create an unlawful pay differential based on a protected characteristic. Employers will not be penalized for having knowledge of employee’s wage history for employees currently working for the employer. Employers may also verify information voluntarily provided by a job applicant regarding unvested equity or deferred compensation that would be forfeited or canceled due to the applicant’s resignation from their current employer or any voluntary disclosure of non-wage related information. SC South Carolina No state Equal Pay law; pay discrimination prohibited under nondiscrimination statute N/A N/A No state law 31 | 50 STATE EQUAL PAY REFERENCE GUIDE AS OF MARCH 2023