Democrats Propose Pay Equity Measure In New Mexico

Democratic lawmakers are proposing legislation they say will expand protections against wage discrimination based on gender.

Rep. Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat, said Monday the proposal is modeled after a 2009 federal pay equity law.

The state legislation would allow New Mexicans to file lawsuits for wage discrimination in a state court rather than having to go to federal court.

The New Mexico Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on someone's gender, but Egolf said the proposed legislation will help ensure that women are paid the same wages as men for equal work.

Under the proposal, a worker bringing a wage discrimination claim could receive punitive damages as well as unpaid wages from the date of the violation to the time when the lawsuit was filed.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.