MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - House lawmakers have passed a bill that would make it illegal to pay employees differently based sex and race.
Representatives voted 98-0 Wednesday for the bill, sponsored by Rep. Adline Clark, D-Mobile. The bill will now head to the Senate.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a matter of fairness,” Clarke said. “I believe that in most cases businesses are fair.”
The bill would prohibit businesses from paying workers less than employees of another race or gender without reasons to account for the difference. Those reasons could include seniority, a merit system or productivity measures, according to the Associated Press.
The bill also said employers that break the law would need to pay back employees, with interest, the wages they should have received.
Rep. Laura Hall, D-Madison, said equal pay makes sure employees can provide for their families.
“It is high time that we recognize that, and we make this a bill that everyone in this legislature should be supportive of,” Hall said.
Alabama and Mississippi are the only two states without pay equity laws.