Gov. Martinez Signs Fair Pay For Women Act Into Law
Governor Susanna Martinez signed the Fair Pay for Women Act into law yesterday. The legislation is similar to the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was designed to make it easier for women in New Mexico to file and win wage discrimination lawsuits.
Unlike civil rights laws, the Fair Pay for Women Act does not require proof of intent to
discriminate. A woman only has to show that an employer paid her less than a man in the same
Supporters of the bill say wage discrimination is a serious problem for women here, and that by enacting this as a state law, it brings the opportunity for justice closer to home. Representative Brian Egolf sponsored the bill.
"The big problem is that to get relief you have to file a federal lawsuit, which is a huge thing to do for many many women living in New Mexico’s small rural communities."
The Bill went unopposed in the house, and passed 31 to 2 in the senate. Senator Sue Wilson Beffort cast one of the two dissenting votes. The Republican from Sandia Park says legislation like this is no longer necessary, and that pay should be based on performance.
"What employers want is workers that have a good work ethic. Just like men there are some women that don’t have a good work ethic. There are some men that don’t have a good work ethic. Employers need to have the right to be able to pay for performance and accelerate people that are performing at a high level and growing the companies."
Exceptions to the fair pay act include things like merit systems, seniority, and jobs that measure compensation by quantity or quality of production.