Nevada equal pay bill heard by Assembly committee

CARSON CITY — A measure to tighten Nevada’s employment discrimination law and provide more remedies to promote equal pay for equal work received no opposition Tuesday in a hearing before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Senate bill 167, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, implements the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, extends time for a worker to bring complaints for employment discrimination and prohibits retaliation against workers for discussing pay with coworkers.

“It’s very difficult for someone to know if they’re being discriminated against if they don’t have the freedom to talk to their colleagues about what they’re getting paid,” Roberson testified.

The 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Act states that the time limit to bring legal action for equal pay lawsuits resets with each paycheck issued that is affected by discriminatory action.

SB167 also allows back wages and benefits for up to three years if employment discrimination is found to have occurred.

A provision in the original bill that would have authorized fines of up to $10,000 against employers for willful violations was amended out.

SB167 was passed unanimously by the state Senate despite criticism from Democrats that it didn’t go far enough. Moments after the vote on the Senate floor, the state Democratic Party issued a statement calling it “weak and toothless.”

The Assembly Judiciary Committee took no action on the bill Tuesday.

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