Introduction to the basics of the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act

The new Massachusetts Equal Pay Act prohibits wage discrimination based on gender.

Your employer can't pay you less than they pay an employee of a different gender who does comparable work.

Understand the law

"Comparable work" is work that requires similar skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.

Differences in pay are only allowed under certain conditions:

  • A seniority system
  • The geographic location of the jobs
  • Production, sales, or revenue-based systems of pay
  • Job-related differences in education, training, or experience
  • A merit system
  • Differences in travel required by the jobs

Your rights under the new equal pay law

  • If you are applying for a new job, the employer can't ask you how much you have been paid in the past until after making you a job offer that includes compensation
  • Employers can't refuse to consider you for a job based on how much you earned in your last job
  • Employers generally can't prohibit you from talking about either your own wages or your coworkers' wages
  • You can't be retaliated against for exercising your rights under the law

Have your rights been violated?

If you think your rights have been violated, you can contact the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General's Office, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, or you can hire a private attorney.

You can contact the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office by calling us at (617) 963-2917 or by filing a complaint online.

You can also file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination by calling (617) 994-6000 or by visiting the Commission online.

You also have the right to file a complaint in court. For help finding an attorney, contact the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service by calling the service at (866) 627-7577 or by visiting the service online.

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