California Legislature Expands Protections Under The Fair Pay Act

Effective January 1, 2016, California’s Fair Pay Act (Labor Code §1197.5) was expanded to require equal pay for substantially similar work (no longer “equal” work). The law was intended to “eliminate the gender wage gap in California.” The new language makes it much easier for an employee to prove unequal pay.

More recently, Governor Brown signed laws extending the Fair Pay rules to race and ethnicity, and providing that prior salary cannot, by itself, justify a disparity in compensation because of the wage gap that likely infects such prior salaries. These new rules further extending the protections of California’s Fair Pay Act go into effect on January 1, 2017.

If an employee has reason to believe he or she is receiving less pay than similarly situated coworkers for doing substantially similar work, the employee should contact employment law counsel immediately to ensure his or her rights are fully protected.


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