California’s state legislature passed a new law on August 30, 2022 that would significantly advance the fight for pay equity. Under the law, which must be signed or vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom by September 30, California employers would be required to post salary ranges for job postings. Further, employers with over 100 employees in the state would be required to submit a pay data report to California’s Civil Rights Department disclosing pay by race, ethnicity, and gender in specified job categories.
This new bill, which would affect the pay practices of some of the largest employers in the country, was largely passed in an effort to combat the pay inequity that persists among women and people of color. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that women still earn only 83 cents for every dollar a man does, and the pay gap widens when factoring in other protected categories like race and ethnicity.
Pay transparency is growing in popularity as a proven mechanism to close the pay gap. In the federal government, for example, where job postings have included pay ranges for years, women earn 93 cents for every dollar a man earns- much better than the national average, but still a long way to go. Therefore, California and other states have passed similar laws that prohibit employers from preventing employees discussing their pay.
Currently, Colorado is the only state in the country with a law in effect requiring salary transparency in job postings. Various other states like Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Washington require employers to provide this information “upon request.” Certain localities have also passed pay transparency laws, such as New York City, requiring employers to begin listing salary ranges on November 1.
California continues to be one of the most progressive states in the nation in terms of its efforts to closing the wage gap. The California Equal Pay Act, for example, provides much broader protection than the federal Equal Pay Act, prohibiting unequal pay on the basis of all protected categories like race, national origin, ethnicity, and age- not just gender. It also does not simply require equal pay for equal work, but also for substantially similar work. Finally, it eliminated the requirement that an individual enforcing the law must compare her pay to peers within their “same establishment.” California has demonstrated significant commitment to address equal pay, and hopefully many more states will soon follow in its footsteps.
Outten & Golden has been at the forefront of the fight for equal pay, representing a broad range of class and individual clients from restaurant workers to high level executives. Feel free to contact Outten & Golden LLP’s Equal Pay Practice Group or our California Partners, Jennifer S. Schwartz and Menaka N. Fernando if you believe you may have be discriminated against with regard to pay or want to know more about your rights.