The Growing Wave of Pay Transparency Laws

Estate Administration Basics Seminar Presented by Attorneys of The Lynch Law Group

What Employers Should Know

The push for pay transparency is gaining momentum across the United States. These laws, which mandate employers to disclose salary-related information to existing and prospective employees, aim to address wage discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, and nationality.

The Rise of Pay Transparency Laws

The first pay transparency law sprang to life in Colorado in May 2019. Since then, a total of nine states along with several cities and counties have followed suit, with more currently contemplating the move. The nine states with pay transparency laws are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii (Effective January 1, 2024)
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • New York (Effective from September 17, 2023)
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

These states alone represent 26.6% of the U.S. labor force, according to a study from the National Women’s Law Center.

Understanding Pay Transparency Laws

Pay transparency laws essentially mandate the disclosure of compensation details for employees or applicants. However, the application and specifics of these laws can vary significantly from one state to another. For instance, in certain regions, these regulations are applicable only to employers who meet or exceed a specific employee count. Meanwhile, these laws typically necessitate the disclosure of a minimum-maximum range, rather than an exact compensation figure. The conditions prompting such disclosure also differ, with some states requiring it when a job is posted and others upon explicit request by the applicant. Various requirements exist for internal promotions or transfers as well.

Penalties for Violation

The penalties for violations also vary across states. While some states like Connecticut allow for compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and even punitive damages for a violation, most states impose fines ranging from $100 to $10,000 per violation. There are multiple factors that affect the amount of the fine such as:

  • The employer’s history of violations
  • The size of the business
  • The employer’s good faith
  • The severity of the violation
  • A failure to comply with record keeping

Push for a Federal Requirement

There’s also a move for a federal requirement on pay transparency. On March 14, 2023, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the Salary Transparency Act, which could impose fines and allow plaintiffs to recover statutory damages and attorney’s fees. The fine for the first violation starts at $5,000 and increases $1,000 for every additional violation, up to $10,000.

What Does the Future Hold?

While not every state has enacted pay transparency laws yet, we anticipate their growing popularity and adoption across the nation. For inquiries regarding pay transparency laws, please contact Frank C. Botta, Partner and Litigation Chair at The Lynch Law Group, at or call 724-776-8000.

Previous Contributions from Attorney Botta

Driving Settlement Negotiations: MCS 90 Endorsement

Cyber Securities Management: More than Firewalls

OSHA Creates Revised Handbook for Small Businesses

This entry was posted in Announcements, Labor and Employment, Litigation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.