Mississippi’s “Equal Pay” Law is a Sham and a Devastating Set-Back for Women in the State, says NWLC

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Mississippi legislature passed legislation that will explicitly allow employers to justify paying a woman less than a man doing the same job for reasons that are known to perpetuate wage gaps, like relying on job applicants’ salary history and gaps in employment history. This bill would also force Mississippians who choose to use the state law to waive their stronger protections under the federal Equal Pay Act.  

The following is a statement by Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):

“Don’t be duped. Mississippi’s so-called “equal pay” law is an outrageous sham that represents a devastating set-back for women in the state—especially Black women—who are shortchanged thousands of dollars each year due to gender and racial wage gaps. Under the guise of equity, this law rubber stamps employers’ decisions to pay women less than men for equal work by explicitly allowing them to rely on applicants’ prior salary history to set pay. This will encourage pay disparities to continue to trail Mississippi women from job to job and undercut their ability to build economic security for their families. Sixteen states, and counting, have banned employers from using this discriminatory practice, but Mississippi is barreling in the opposite direction. Mississippi is the only state without an equal pay law—and this deceptive bill doesn’t change that reality. Mississippians deserve a true equal pay law that values their hard work and the economic prosperity of their families—and this bill completely misses the mark.”