The California Equal Pay Act was enacted to protect the rights of employees whose employers engage in discriminatory practices based on gender. Since the act became law, it has been updated many times and strengthened along the way to help ensure pay equity. Its protections extend to cases based on sex, race and ethnicity.
In general, the California Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying any of its employees wage rates that are less than what it pays employees of the opposite sex, of another race, or of another ethnicity for substantially similar work.
Substantially similar work refers to work that is similar in “skill, effort, responsibility and performed under similar working conditions”.
- Skill is experience, education, ability and training required to do the job.
- Effort is the amount of physical or mental exertion to do the job
- Responsibility is the degree of accountability or duties required to do the job.
- Working conditions means the physical surroundings and any hazards that may be present.
If a person believes they are being discriminated against they can get help from an employment attorney.
The following are some examples of discrimination in the workplace:
- Being assigned more work without any worthwhile promotions or raises.
- Working more hours for the same amount of pay.
- Company trend of one gender being promoted more than the other.
- Being turned down for raises or promotions despite being more qualified than your coworkers.
An employment attorney in California can review their client’s options if they have been discriminated against. This type of behavior by an employer is illegal and an employee may be owed significant back pay and other compensation if their rights were violated under California law.