Federal and state laws prohibit California pay discrimination, which is a workplace disparity in pay based on an employee’s gender, race, color, religion, age, disability, and national origin. Plaintiffs in California pay discrimination lawsuits do not need to prove there was discriminatory intent. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the employer didn’t mean to be discriminatory; the impact is what matters.
Pay discrimination claims in California are primarily based on one of a few laws:
- The California Equal Pay Act, Labor Code section 1197.5. This state law has been in place for decades, and aims to ensure equal pay regardless of race or gender. In 2016, lawmakers expanded these protections to workers who do “substantially similar work.” It also eliminated the requirement that comparative workers be operating in the same establishment. The law also explicitly states retaliation against employees who seek enforcement of the law is illegal, as is punishing workers for discussing or asking about co-workers’ wages.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963. This federal statute requires employers to compensate men and women equally for doing the same work at the same workplace.
- The California Fair Employment and Housing Act. FEHA prohibits discrimination of applicants and employees of companies with 5 or more employees. Pay discrepancies based on gender in violation of FEHA.
As our Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain, these statutes cover all forms of pay, including salary, overtime, bonuses, vacation/sick leave, insurance, and other benefits.
California Equal Pay Lawsuits Underscore Persistent Problems
The fight for equal pay isn’t a new one, but companies continue to violate the law. The tech industry has become quite notorious for persistent equal pay problems. In a survey conducted by Bloomberg last year, male employees received higher pay than 59 percent of women for the same work. The average disparity in pay was about 3 percent. That can amount to thousands of dollars per year for every employee. Continue Reading ›