2017 Regular Session
To: Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency; Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) Doty
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT NO EMPLOYER SHALL PAY AN EMPLOYEE A WAGE AT A RATE LESS THAN THE RATE AT WHICH AN EMPLOYEE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE SAME ESTABLISHMENT IS PAID FOR EQUAL WORK ON A JOB, THE PERFORMANCE OF WHICH REQUIRES EQUAL SKILL, EFFORT AND RESPONSIBILITY, AND WHICH IS PERFORMED UNDER SIMILAR WORKING CONDITIONS; TO PROVIDE THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAY FILE A PETITION IN THE PROPER CIRCUIT COURT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) No employer may pay an employee a wage at a rate less than the rate at which an employee of the opposite sex in the same establishment is paid for equal work on a job, the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which is performed under similar working conditions, except where payment is made pursuant to a differential based on:
(a) A seniority system;
(b) A merit system;
(c) A system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
(d) Any factor other than sex.
(2) Subsection (1) of this section creates an actionable right in Mississippi for any person who is an employee and who believes that such person's employer has violated the provisions of subsection (1) of this section. Any employee who is aggrieved under subsection (1) of this section may file a petition in the proper circuit court in Mississippi.
If an employer is found to have violated the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the employee shall be awarded reasonable remedies, which may include attorney's fees, prejudgment interest, back pay, liquidated damages and one hundred percent (100%) of the difference of unpaid wages. If the employer is found to have willfully violated the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the employee shall be awarded three hundred percent (300%) of reasonable remedies, which may include attorney's fees, prejudgment interest, back pay, liquidated damages and the difference of unpaid wages.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2017.