MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2020 Regular Session

To: Judiciary, Division A; Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency

By: Senator(s) Doty, Boyd

Senate Bill 2522

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, EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE 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, education, experience 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)  (a)  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.

          (b)  An employee who files a claim against his or her employer for a violation of subsection (1) of this section must plead with particularity in demonstrating the following:

              (i)  The employee was paid less than another employee of the opposite sex for equal work despite possessing equal skill, effort, education, experience and responsibility;

              (ii)  The applicable wages at issue are not permissible rates under subsection (1) of this section.

          (c)  If an employer is found to have violated the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the employee shall be awarded reasonable remedies as provided by federal law for violations of Title VII or Title IX.

          (d)  If an employee recovers an amount under paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) and also files a complaint or brings an action pursuant to federal law which results in an additional recovery under federal law for the same violation, the employee shall return to the employer the amount recovered under paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) or the amount recovered under federal law, whichever is less.

          (e)  A civil action brought under paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) may be commenced no later than two (2) years from the day the employee knew or should have known the person's employer was in violation of this chapter.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2020.