As much as people like to believe there is equality in the workplace, equal pay for equal work is still much more an ideal than reality. While the gender gap is smaller than it once was, the fact is many women make less than male employees who would be in the same exact position. Even though this is illegal and in violation of California labor laws, some of the existing laws do not have strong enough penalties or enforcement mechanisms in place to end gender-based wage discrimination once and for all.
However, according to a recent news article from ABC, California Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign a new bill that will expand the already existing fair pay legislation that is on the books. The package of new laws includes additional protection for women from retaliation if they inquire about how much other employees are earning. This was often treated as almost a taboo practice where you do not ask what others are earning in the company because this could lead to anger among the workforce. However, the reality of the situation was that by not asking about how much other employees are making, the employer is getting away with paying a woman less money for doing the same job as a man.
As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, the gender-based wage gap is prevalent in nearly all industries. This is not merely a problem for jobs that require physical work and heavy lifting, but also in the professional setting. There is no justification for gender-based wage discrimination in any industry, and if you believe you are being subject to such discrimination, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced attorney who regularly represents people in your situation.
While this law is certainly a step in the right direction, it will not end all gender-based pay discrimination. There are variety of reasons for this. As Brown said, this new law will not automatically put all women’s salaries on par with men’s salaries, nor will it require employers to freely disclose what all employees are making. This is major sticking point with women’s rights advocates, because, if an employer was forced to disclose every salary, it would make it very easy to see if there was gender-based wage discrimination, and it would be very easy to file an employment discrimination lawsuit.
One of the things the new law will do is allow workers to sue if they are paid less than another employee who does substantially similar work yet has a different job title, and the burden is on the employer to show the male employee is being paid more than the female employee for reasons other than gender. In other words, if an employer pays a male employee more than a female employee and gives the male employee a different job title, even though he is doing the same work as the female employee, she will still be able sue, and the employer can’t shield liability based upon the fact they have different job titles.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
California Gov. Brown to Sign Expanded Fair Pay Legislation, September 20, 2015, ABC News, by Janie Har
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