On October 6, 2015, perhaps in response to the outrage caused by the Sony hack that revealed egregious pay deficits between Hollywood's biggest and most accomplished actors and actresses, the governor of California signed the California Fair Pay Act into law.
Existing laws already required equal pay for equal work under equal conditions between genders, but this new law requires the state to investigate and prosecute allegations related to gender pay violations.
It also takes the existing law a few steps further:
- No "same establishment" limitation. There can't be wage differences in the same worksite, but pay may be adjusted at other locations based on cost of living.
- "Substantially similar" replaces an "equal" work standard. Employers are prohibited from paying works of the same gender differently for work that is substantially similar based on skill, effort and responsibility.
- Any difference in pay between workers who perform substantially similar work must be justified by a reasonable application of factors.
- Access to civil action. An employee who has been discharged, retaliated or discriminated against for exercising these right has the right to recover damages.
- Employee right to disclose, inquire, discuss and organize around wages. Companies can no longer prohibit employees from discussing wages and compensation
- Extended recordkeeping. Employers are required to keep records for three years.
These requirements are only effective in California starting in 2016. But all eyes will be watching to see which provisions are upheld, which ones are struck down, and how it affects both employers and employees.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.