Pay Transparency is hotter than ever.  And equal pay laws are changing fast. 17 states now ban salary history to go along with 19 more local (cities, counties, etc.) bans, according to the great resource HR Dive (see Salary history bans).

Some of the new state laws have an impact on your job descriptions/job postings.

Not only is the spirit of these new laws right, but adhering to them also helps keep you out of class action lawsuits.

Here’s what I know so far on pay transparency laws and their impact specifically on job descriptions:

There are 4 state laws here in the U.S. that I want to highlight. I’ll add more as new laws/insights come up.

Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

  • Effective Date: January 1, 2021
  • Some attornies call this the strictest of Equal Pay laws in the U.S.

Impact on Job Descriptions

This upcoming Colorado Equal Pay law includes 2 new rules to do with job postings, as pointed out by the Boulder Area Human Resources Association:

  1. Employers must make reasonable efforts to announce, post, or make known all opportunities for promotion to all current employees on the same calendar day.
  2. Employers must disclose in each posting for each job opening the hourly or salary compensation, or a range of the hourly or salary compensation, and a general description of all benefits and other compensation offered.

source: Colorado’s New “Equal Pay For Equal Work Act” Creates Significant New Obligations For Employers

Attorneys I’ve seen mentioned in articles about the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act law include:

Oregon’s Equal Pay Act

  • Effective Date: January 1, 2019.
  • This Oregon pay equity law expands the current gender-based pay law to include 10 classes of people (age, color, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status)

Impact on Job Descriptions

Kelsey Basten of GovDocs points out:

The law explicitly prohibits paying these classes less than others for “work of comparable character”, defined as work that requires “substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions in the performance of work, regardless of job description or title.

source: Oregon’s Equal Pay Act to Take Effect Jan. 1, 2019 (Kelsey Basten)

Kelsey adds that there are exceptions for different compensation levels. You (the employer) can pay a different amount based on these “job-related factors”:

  • Seniority or merit
  • Work location
  • Education
  • Training
  • Experience
  • A combination of these factors

The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce recommends this advice for job descriptions:

Having up-to-date job descriptions helps on so many fronts. Ensure that they clearly
reflect what the employee is doing and include a section in the description which clearly
defines the knowledge, skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions required to
perform the job.

Source: Guide to Oregon’s Equal Pay Act (Linda Moholt, Chair, Oregon State Chamber of Commerce)

The attorneys I’ve seen mentioned in articles about the Oregon Equal Pay Act include Christine Thelen and William E. Weiner of Lane Powell.

California Equal Pay/Fair Pay Act

The California pay equity law is a combination of the Equal Pay Act of 1949 and the more recent extension to it (the Fair Pay Act of 2015).

Impact on Job Descriptions

The main impact on job descriptions is that an employee filing a claim against you can use is a job description for proof of pay inequality. If, for example, the work described in their job description is “substantially similar” to the work described in the JD of another employee of different sex, race or ethnicity.

Here’s a key excerpt from the State of California Department of Industrial Relations’s explanation of the California Equal Pay Act:

“…an employee must prove that he or she is being paid less than an employee or employees of the opposite sex, of another race, or of another ethnicity who is performing substantially similar work.”

The attorneys I’ve seen mentioned in articles about the California Fair Pay Act include Mike Delikat, Erin Connell, Gary Siniscalco and Jessica R. L. James of Orrick.

New York City Salary Law 

  • Passed Date: January 15, 2022
  • Effective Date: May 15, 2022

Impact on Job Descriptions

The main impact on job descriptions is that the law requires employers with 4+ employees to list:

“a “good faith” minimum and maximum salary range on for all advertised NYC job, promotion and transfer opportunities.”

source: National Law Review

If companies fail to include a salary range, it will be considered an unlawful discriminatory practice under the City’s Human Rights Law.

For more tips on writing job descriptions, check out How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.

Why I wrote this?

We here at Ongig are on a mission to transform your job descriptions. As part of that, our software aims to analyze every word and phrase to help you attract top talent and stay out of trouble. For example, our Text Analyzer software can help you include a pay range for job postings by state or city so that you’re in compliance with pay transparency law (in CA, NY, CO, and others). We can do the same with EEO, Diversity, About Us, Requirements, etc. and control this by region, department, or other filters. Kindly click the demo request button on this page.

by in Job Descriptions