Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a measure into law that supporters say expands protections against wage discrimination based on gender.
The measure approved by the Legislature will allow New Mexicans to file lawsuits for wage discrimination in a state court rather than having to go to federal court under terms of a federal pay equity law.
A worker bringing a wage discrimination claim could receive punitive damages as well as unpaid wages.
New Mexico's Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on someone's gender, but supporters say the new state law helps ensure that women are paid the same wages as men for equal work.
The governor signed the measure on Thursday and the new law will take effect in June.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.