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Massachusetts passes landmark equal pay law

August 3, 2016

The governor of Massachusetts on Monday signed what is being called the most thorough equal pay law in the nation that will make it illegal for employers to inquire about salary history of job candidates. The new law is meant to discourage employers from low-balling female employees during salary negotiations when women may have been paid unequally in prior jobs, according to The Guardian. The law passed the state legislature unanimously and was signed by Republican Governor Charlie Baker on Monday.

“For too many generations women have done equally hard, equally skilled, and equally responsible work as men in the same workplace,” state Senator Pat Jehlen, one of the bill’s backers, said in a statement. “This is an important milestone on the journey toward equity for women and families all across this commonwealth.”

The law’s supporters cited research showing women in Massachusetts earn 82 cents on the dollar compared to their male peers. The law will take effect in July of 2018.

An 83-year-old former cafeteria worker from Everett, Mass., Dorothy Simonelli, attended the signing of the bill nearly 20 years after she and her coworkers sued their school after being denied a raise while the janitors earned a higher salary.

“There are no words,” Simonelli, told Masslive. “I just feel so wonderful. I’m so happy for my co-workers and all the ones that have passed on.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.