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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Texas Lawmaker Introduces Pay Equity Bill to Close Wage Gap

By Dan Atkerson on March 29, 2017

Can this new bill close the Texas wage gap?A Texas lawmaker introduced a bill that would amend the Labor Code and prohibit employers from obtaining the salary histories of applicants. According to proponents of the pay equity bill, it would help address the wage gap in Texas. If passed, House Bill 290 would do the following:

  • Make it against the law to ask for wage history information on an employment application
  • Make it illegal to inquire about an applicant’s pay history information
  • Prevent employers from obtaining an applicant’s pay information
Jobseekers could provide authorization to employers to confirm wage history information after receiving an offer of employment.

Several other states and cities have passed or are considering passing similar laws. Proponents of the legislation say the bill is necessary to prevent women and minorities from receiving lower pay than men. They argue the bill could break the perpetual cycle of low pay faced by these groups.

What Does This Pay Equity Bill Hope to Accomplish?

Employers use the past wages of jobseekers to determine what they will be paid. However, women and other minority groups typically receive less pay. Due to starting at lower pay, it is difficult to break the cycle as they move on to new jobs. They receive offers from new employers based on the low wages they received at previous jobs. HB 290 and other similar laws across the country seek to break this cycle.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics claims women make 79 cents for every dollar made by men. Minority women make even less. Texas and other states are experimenting with legislation that may change these circumstances for women and minority workers.

Dallas employment law attorney Dan A. Atkerson has dedicated his practice to defending Texans from workplace discrimination.

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