July 1, 2020

Fair Employment Practices Bill

Rhode Island passed a bill that intends to help bolster the state’s anti-wage discrimination laws. It decrees that employers may not “pay any of its employees at a wage rate less than the rate paid to employees of another race, color, or gender for equal work.”

It also says employers may not:

  • Require applicants to divulge their salary history.
  • Rely on a candidate’s wage history to determine compensation (unless that information is volunteered and then used as the basis to increase an initial offer).
  • Contact an applicant’s former employer to ask about their salary.

There are exceptions. Employers may adjust compensation based on:

  • A seniority system.
  • A merit system.
  • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
  • An individual's level of experience, education or training.
  • Geographical location (to adjust for the cost of living).
  • Other business-related factors.

Employers may be fined up to $100 per violation. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2020.

Ban The Box

Rhode Island created a document for Labor and Labor Relations. Chapter 28 included a Fair Employment Practices section that decreed employers may not:

  • Place questions about arrests or convictions on job applications.
  • Ask about convictions or run criminal background checks until after they have conducted an interview or extended a conditional job offer.
  • Refuse to hire an applicant due to their race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin.
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