Proactive Pay Equity Studies Can Shield Mass. Employers

Law360, April 25, 2018

Recent updates to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) have resulted in some of the strongest pay equity laws in the US. In a new article published on, “Proactive Pay Equity Studies Can Shield Mass. Employers,” Managing Principal Jee-Yeon Lehmann, Vice Presidents Shannon N. Seitz and Catherine Alford, Senior Analyst Liz Neyens, and Analyst Charlotte Mann provide a brief summary of the updates to the law, and outline key considerations for employers in determining whether and how to conduct a proactive pay equity analysis.

Effective on July 1, 2018, MEPA only permits differences in pay for comparable work when they are based on six specific factors. However, MEPA also provides firms with a complete affirmative defense to legal claims – if the employer proactively conducts a good faith self-audit of pay practices and takes steps to remedy gender pay disparities. While employers will not be penalized for failing to conduct a proactive pay study, many employers may want to consider a review of their pay practices and compensation data. If faced with litigation related to pay equity, thorough economic and statistical analysis can play an important role in guiding appropriate pay equity analysis and remediation that can withstand the scrutiny of the court. 


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Lehmann J, Seitz S, Alford C