A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO ENACT THE EQUAL PAY ACT TO ENSURE THAT EMPLOYEES IN THIS STATE ARE PAID THE SAME WAGES IN THE SAME ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE SAME QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF THE SAME CLASSIFICATION OF WORK.
Adds new Article 2B, Equal Pay Act, to GS Chapter 95. Defines the following terms as they apply in this Article: (1) employee--every woman or man receiving or entitled to receive compensation for labor performed for another; (2) employer--includes (i) this state, (ii) any local political subdivision of the state, and (iii) every person with direction or control of any woman or man employed at any laboror responsible directly or indirectly for the wages of another and who employees more than five employees; (3) person--as defined by GS 95-25.2(11); and (4) wage or wages--any compensation for labor measured by time, piece, or otherwise.
Prohibits any employer from paying any employee at a wage rate that is less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite gender employed in the same establishment for the same quantity and quality of the same classification of work. Makes an employerwho violates this section liable to the affected employeefor the amount of wages not paid to the employee in violation of this section.
Specifies that this section does not prohibit variations in pay for male and female employees performing the same classification of work providing that the variations are based upon factors other than gender such as seniority, a difference in ability, skill or duties and services performed, restrictions or prohibitions on lifting or moving objects in excess of specified weight, or other reasonable differentiation, when exercised in good faith.
Prohibits an employer in violation of this section from curing the violation by reducing the pay of any employee in order to bring the employer into compliance with this Article. Also prohibits an employer from retaliating against any employee who seeks a remedy under this Article or participates in the investigation of a complaint under this Article.
Provides that an affected employee may file a complaint with the Department of Labor (Department)alleging that the wages paid to the employee are less than the wages to which the employee is entitled under this Article. Requires the Department to investigate the complaint and notify the employer and the employee of the results of the investigation.
Permits an employee who is receiving less than the wage to which the employee is entitled under this section to recover the balance of the wages owedand the costs and attorneys' fees in a civil action regardless of any agreement to work for a lesser wage. Does not require the employee to exhaust administrative remedies before filing the civil action.
Requiresthat a civil action under this section must be instituted within two years after the date that the alleged violation is discovered by the affected employee.
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