(A) No employer, including the state and political subdivisions thereof, shall discriminate in the payment of wages on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or ancestry by paying wages to any employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to another employee for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar conditions.
(B) Nothing in this section prohibits an employer from paying wages to one employee at a rate different from that at which the employer pays another employee for the performance of equal work under similar conditions on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility, when the payment is made pursuant to any of the following:
(1) A seniority system;
(2) A merit system;
(3) A system which measures earnings by the quantity or quality of production;
(4) A wage rate differential determined by any factor other than race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or ancestry.
(C) No employer shall reduce the wage rate of any employee in order to comply with this section.
(D) The director of commerce shall carry out, administer, and enforce this section. Any employee discriminated against in violation of this section may sue in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover two times the amount of the difference between the wages actually received and the wages received by a person performing equal work for the employer, from the date of the commencement of the violation, and for costs, including attorney fees. The director may take an assignment of any such wage claim in trust for such employee and sue in the employee's behalf. In any civil action under this section, two or more employees of the same employer may join as co-plaintiffs in one action. The director may sue in one action for claims assigned to the director by two or more employees of the same employer. No agreement to work for a discriminatory wage constitutes a defense for any civil or criminal action to enforce this section. No employer shall discriminate against any employee because such employee makes a complaint or institutes, or testifies in, any proceeding under this section.
(E) Any action arising under this section shall be initiated within one year after the date of violation.
Effective Date: 07-01-2000 .