JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On July 1, a new law went into effect in Mississippi that aims on decreasing the wage cap between men and women. While the law intentions are focused on equality in the workplace, critics against the bill are saying it may bring about the opposite.
In April 2022, Mississippi became the last state without an equal pay law. The Mississippi Equal Pay for Equal Work Act allows for pay disparities that are based on anything but sex to exist.
The law says nothing about race, age, sexual orientation or disability. Critics of the law have argued it will do more harm than good.
“The state of Mississippi, the legislative session, passed a really bad equal law that expressely allows employers to discriminate and pay women less than man doing the same job based on several reasons. Specifically, some of those reason are because of her salary history,” said Cassandra Welchlin, executive director of Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable.
Requesting salary history has been a major point of criticism of this law. By requesting salary history, employers are more likely to disproportionately underpay women.
“And you may say, ‘Oh, I made $45,000.’ Well, the employer knows they can pay you more than $45,000. They can pay you probably $60,000, but because you said you only made $45,000, then what they’re gonna do is pay you just maybe a little bit more than that,” said Welchlin.
Welchlin, alongside the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, urged anyone that has experienced discrimination in the workplace to reach out to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 769-487-6910.