Discrimination between employees on the basis of sex; payment of wages. (SB221)

Introduced By

Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond) with support from 19 copatrons, whose average partisan position is:

Those copatrons are Del. Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), Del. Betsy Carr (D-Richmond), Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth), Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond), Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston), Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke), Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church), Sen. John Bell (D-Chantilly), Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Herndon), Sen. Roz Dance (D-Petersburg), Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston), Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield), Sen. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Equal pay irrespective of sex. Amends existing law requiring equal pay for equal work irrespective of sex to (i) increase the penalty for a violation from double unpaid wages to triple unpaid wages plus reasonable attorney fees; (ii) prohibit employers from punishing employees for sharing salary information with their coworkers; and (iii) prohibit unequal provision of benefits and privileges. The measure also deletes the exemption for employers covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act from the Commonwealth's prohibition on discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/05/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16101957D
01/05/2016Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
01/12/2016Impact statement from DPB (SB221)
02/01/2016Failed to report (defeated) in Commerce and Labor (4-Y 11-N) (see vote tally)


ACLU-VA Women's Rights and Reproductive Freedom, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports this bill, which would strengthen current laws against wage discrimination by protecting employees who voluntarily share pay information with colleagues from retaliation, better compensate victims of sex-based pay discrimination, and empower women and girls by strengthening their negotiation skills. A culture of transparency allows female workers to learn what their male counterparts earn, which would in turn allow them to call out unfair wage disparities. Without wage secrecy to hide behind, the new rule creates incentives for employers to proactively identify, investigate, and remedy policies that lead to discriminatory pay discrepancies. Moreover, this bill is not only good for women workers, it's good for Virginia businesses. Studies have shown that when employees can openly talk about what they earn and believe they are being fairly compensated, their job satisfaction, morale, and productivity improve.