Equal pay has become a hot topic for all lawmakers across the USA. Now, it is Oregon with HB 2500 equal pay legislation that ensures that every person gets equal pay for equal work. One of the rules they have put in place is that employers cannot check previous salary or ask about it during the interview. This is meant to prevent employers from paying new workers less than what they would normally pay just because that same worker was previously underpaid in the last job.
These are the people that often get low pay without legal protection:
- People of color (black, Hispanic, mixed race, Asian, and others)
- Lesbian, bisexual, gay, transsexual, and queer people, or the LGBT community
- People who have some form of disability
- Any other person that is given special protection by federal and state laws
Why Discrimination Still Happens
There are still many cases of people being discriminated against in the workplace. That is one of the reasons for passing the new rules and technical assistance for employers. For example, research has shown that women still only make 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. It even gets worse if you are an African-American woman. You get only 63 cents for every dollar that a straight white man gets.
Latino women only get 54 cents. If you have a disability, then you earn on average 64 cents for every dollar that an able-bodied person earns. This continues despite the fact that you are doing a similar or equal job to the other people that earn much more than you.
New Protections for Workers
The rules in HB 2005 want to change the workplace in Oregon and have banned salary history inquiries. These are some of the important highlights that you should be aware of as a worker or employer:
There are classes of people that are now referred to as being “protected.” That means that employers must pay special attention when interviewing or giving them jobs so that they do not break the rules. They include all the people that have been listed above who have suffered discrimination at work over many years.
Discrimination is not just about not paying women well. It also includes people who fall into many categories of discrimination. For example, you could be a Hispanic lesbian with a hearing impairment. That means that the House Bill 2005 considers all the various aspects of potential discrimination you could face because of who you are.
You cannot check salary history in order to screen out candidates who are paid higher than you want to pay or to include those that were paid below what you want to pay. This is an important step. It will allow people to progress from a low wage to a higher one by simply changing jobs. The employer can no longer push you out just because you had a higher paying job or even deliberately put you in so that they can exploit you with low wages.
What Should You do When You are Discriminated Against at Work?
Make sure that you get a good, qualified lawyer first. For advice about your legal matter, contact HKM Employment Attorneys at 503-389-1130.