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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kaohly Vang Her (DFL)

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Minnesota House passes Rep. Her’s Preventing Pay Discrimination Act

Thursday, March 25, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Preventing Pay Discrimination Act, authored by Rep. Kaohly Vang Her (DFL – St. Paul). The legislation prohibits employers from requesting a job applicant or prospective employee’s pay history.  

“Minnesota women, especially women of color, are still paid less than their male counterparts,” said Rep. Her. “The Preventing Pay Discrimination Act helps break the cycle of discrimination that too often follows women and people of color throughout their careers and exacerbates economic inequality. This legislation is a key step toward closing the wage gap and ensuring that all Minnesotans receive equal pay for equal work.” 

Women, especially women of color, are paid less than men with the same job, education, and experience. Therefore, employers who use pay history to evaluate job applicants and determine compensation for new hires are likely to perpetuate gender- and race-based discrimination. 

“Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, the date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Today, the Minnesota House is taking a step to prevent discrimination and close that gap,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Your past pay shouldn’t dictate your future pay.”  

This legislation prohibits employers, including labor unions and employment agencies, from asking job applicants or prospective employees to divulge their pay history. Halting this practice will help close the wage gap and prevent discrimination in the workforce. States that have implemented similar policies have seen an eight percent increase in pay for women and a 13 percent increase in pay for Black workers. 

“If you work for a living, you deserve the opportunity to earn wages that acknowledge the value of your work,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Today, House Democrats passed the Preventing Pay Discrimination Act to give workers more power when applying for a job they’ve worked hard to get. There needs to be accountability for employers that seek to arbitrarily limit workers’ wages.”

The bill doesn’t prevent workers from disclosing their past pay or discussing pay expectations with an employer.  

The bill next goes to the Minnesota Senate for consideration. Video of the floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.