Washington State House Democrats


LEGISLATIVE NEWS: House Passes Bill Closing the Wage Gap for All Protected Classes in WA

OLYMPIA – Despite existing law, significant wage gaps continue to exist for women, women of intersectional identities, and individuals of various protected classes. These disparities are not only unfair, but they also have serious economic consequences for people, families, and communities.

Workplace discrimination creates instability, hinders progress, and perpetuates cycles of inequality. Furthermore, the fear of retaliation often silences those experiencing pay deficits or wage theft, preventing them from advocating for themselves and upholding their fundamental right to equal protection under the law.

The fight for true pay equity in Washington took a meaningful step forward today with the House of Representatives voting out House Bill 1905. Introduced by Rep. Sharlett Mena (D-Tacoma), this proposed legislation builds on the Equal Pay Opportunity Act by including protections for all protected classes, not just gender.

House Bill 1905 expands the Equal Pay Opportunity Act to encompass all protected classes and empowers workers to hold employers accountable for discriminatory practices. The impact of closing the wage gap extends far beyond individual justice. It is demonstrably good for business, boosting overall prosperity by unlocking the full potential of our diverse workforce.

“By ensuring fair pay for all, we create a more stable and equitable society where everyone has the chance to thrive, regardless of their background,” said Rep. Mena. “Failing to act now perpetuates the discriminatory cycles faced by generations past and present, denying individuals and communities their fair share of economic opportunity.”

House Bill 1905 advances to the Senate for further consideration. To learn more, click here.