2020 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A; Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency
By: Senator(s) Doty, Boyd, Jordan, Horhn, McLendon
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 brings a claim under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a separate action may not be maintained under this section. If an employee brings a claim under this section, then subsequently initiates a claim under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the action brought under this section shall be dismissed with prejudice. An employee who seeks relief under this section must first waive any right to relief under the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
(e) A civil action brought under paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) may be commenced no later than two (2) years after the act of discrimination giving rise to a cause of action.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2020, and shall stand repealed on June 30, 2020.