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February 29, 2024 Employment Law

The State of Pay Transparency Laws in Virginia

Job postings typically provide a wealth of information about the available position, such as the duties involved, the experience needed, the team the employee will work with, and the expected working hours. One piece of information that is often conspicuously absent from job postings is arguably the most important — how much the job pays. While many employers have traditionally been cagey about revealing their pay practices, the nationwide movement for greater pay transparency could soon force their hands. Employers concerned about their obligations under current and future pay transparency laws should consider speaking to a Richmond executive employment lawyer

What Is Pay Transparency? 

Pay transparency generally refers to the obligation of an employer to disclose how much a job pays. However, degrees of transparency vary from state to state and employer to employer. For example, on the low end, a pay transparency law could merely prohibit employers from disciplining employees from discussing their salaries with each other. On the high end, it could require employers to disclose expected salary ranges in job postings. Advocates of pay transparency laws say that they help ensure that all employees are paid fairly. Opponents counter that it can create discomfort among employees, particularly at established companies.

Pay Transparency in Virginia

Virginia’s pay transparency law became effective in 2020. Under Section 40.1-28.7.9 of the Virginia Code, no employer may terminate an employee or otherwise take retaliatory action against an employee because the employee: 

  1. Inquired about, discussed with, or disclosed to another employee any information about either the employee’s own compensation or any other employee’s compensation
  2. Filed a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industry alleging a violation of this law 

The law does not apply to employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants and who disclose that information to others who do not have access to such information unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, or (c) consistent with a legal duty to furnish such information. 

What’s Next for Pay Transparency in Virginia? 

Virginia’s current pay transparency law is arguably on the less-transparent end of the pay transparency spectrum. In response, Senator Jennifer Boysko introduced SB 370, which would, among other things, require employers to disclose salary ranges in public job postings and prohibit them from inquiring about an applicant’s wage or salary history. While SB 370 has passed the Senate, Senator Boysko has introduced this legislation seven times before, indicating that its chances of becoming law are slim. 

Resolve Compensation Issues With Help From a Richmond Executive Employment Lawyer 

Wage, hour, and compensation laws are complex and present many pitfalls for employers who are not familiar with their legal obligations. However, employers can minimize their risk of running afoul of the law with the help of experienced counsel. For more information, please contact a Richmond executive employment lawyer at Pierce / Jewett by calling 804-502-2320 or using our online contact form.