The latest labor and employment bill to die in committee: Senate Bill 419, an equal pay bill sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Wexton.
The bill would have amended existing state law to prohibit the unequal provision of benefits and privileges based on sex, to ban employers from punishing employees who share salary information with coworkers, and to allow employees to recover their legal costs if they prove they didn’t receive equal pay because of gender.
Although the Senate Finance Committee initially approved the bill with an 11-5 vote (after unanimous passage from the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee), lawmakers reconsidered and defeated the bill.
The Roanoke Times reported NFIB/VA State Director Nicole Riley’s comments against the bill: “We believe there are adequate protections that already exist at the federal administrative levels. We do believe that by mandating the awards of attorney’s fees, we are concerned that this would open up exposure to small business owners with lawsuits. Many small business owners do not have HR departments and in-house legal counsel to deal with these types of complaints. So we do feel that it could be costly for them.”
Another equal pay bill, House Bill 1089, was also killed in subcommittee in January.