"Changing Currents in Employment Law" is the D.C. Bar's annual three-hour event featuring legal updates and practice tips from the area's top employment attorneys — all for CLE credit. TELG's Scott Oswald serves as faculty chair and will moderate the event on October 25, 2023. Here he previews the panel on legal developments regarding pay transparency in the workplace with panelist Colleen Coveney of Katz Banks Kumin LLP.
This article by
was published by The Employment Law Group, P.C. on June 27, 2023.
Changing Currents 2023 – Panel Preview: The Growing Push for Pay Transparency
» “Changing Currents in Employment Law” will take place on October 25, 2023. Click here for more details and registration options.
(Transcribed and edited lightly by The Employment Law Group)
R. Scott Oswald:Welcome to our preview of this year’s “Changing Currents in Employment Law,” the D.C. Bar’s three-hour fast-paced fall CLE covering cutting edge topics in employment law.
I’m Scott Oswald, faculty chair of “Changing Currents in Employment Law,” and I am joined right now by Colleen Coveney, who is a partner at the law firm of Katz Banks & Kumin.
Colleen, how are you?
Colleen Coveney: I’m doing well, thank you. How are you?
Oswald: I’m really well.
So, you’re speaking on a panel entitled “High Visibility: Early Lessons from the Growing Push for Pay Transparency.” We know that a growing number of states have passed this kind of legislation: California, New York state, Washington state. Tell us just a little bit about your panel and your co-panelists.
Coveney: Sure. The panel that we’ll be leading in October will be on pay transparency and the gender gap. Pay transparency laws are laws that have been enacted to make pay in the workplace more accessible for employees essentially, and these laws have been around for some time now. Although, the earlier iterations of these laws took the form of laws that enabled employees to talk about pay with their colleagues in the workplace without fear of discrimination or retaliation.
What we’re seeing in more recent years, starting in 2018, is the emergence of laws that place the onus on employers to affirmatively provide information to employees and applicants — and in some instances, even the state — about pay ranges and salary ranges for certain positions.
So, in the panel, my co-panelists and I will be briefly discussing the history of the laws and the purpose of them but really focusing on the emergence of these new laws: what they say, what challenges they may pose for employers, and what employees and plaintiff-side lawyers can expect in the future with respect to these laws.
Oswald: So, let’s say that I’m thinking about registering for this panel and I’m looking in particular at your panel. What might I expect in terms of maybe a surprise as you’ve dug more deeply into the topic.
Coveney: I think that these new pay transparency laws that we are seeing emerge today are really different and unique from laws that were implemented years back designed to address pay discrimination and the gender gap because they are placing the onus on employers to affirmatively provide information about salary ranges to employees and to applicants.
I think that this will likely pose challenges for employers in the future to stay on top of pay ranges and salary ranges, to annually do analyses of what they’re paying their employees and make sure it’s consistent across the board, and to be able to roll that information out in an efficient and accurate way.
From the employee’s perspective, I think it’s going to be a really helpful tool to be able to apply for a job and know at the outset what your colleagues at similar levels are making. That’s information that has not been previously readily available to employees, and I think it’s really important that employees have that information so that they can advocate for equal pay.
Oswald: Colleen, thank you.
We look forward to seeing you at this year’s “Changing Currents in Employment Law” on Wednesday, October 25th, either in person or virtually.