According to a report published in the Los Angeles Times, the gender wage gap in California has narrowed over the last several decades, but there’s still a long way to go to achieve equality. Census data reveals that women still make about 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Unfortunately, the gender wage gap widens even further when comparing women minorities to white men. Latina women earn only 43 cents per dollars, whereas African American women earn 63 cents for every dollar that a white man earns.
It’s important for women to understand that wage inequality is still a problem in today’s workplace. Fortunately, there are several laws that protect women’s rights to earn equal pay.
The Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a federal law that requires employers to provide equal pay to men and women who perform equal work within the company. “Equal work” does not necessarily mean the man and woman have to hold the same position within the company. Rather, it means that a man and woman who hold jobs that are equal in skill, effort, and responsibility and are performed under similar working conditions should be paid equally.
There are some exceptions to this law. Unequal pay is permitted when one employee is receiving more than the other due to his or her seniority, merit, or quality of work. For example, if a man has been at a company for 15 years, his employer can pay him more than a woman in a similar job who has only been employed for a few months. In this case, the decision to pay the man more is based on seniority, not gender.
California’s Fair Pay Act
Employees in California are also protected by the Fair Pay Act, which is a state law that is known as one of the broadest equal pay laws in the country. This law requires employers to provide equal pay to men and women who perform “substantially similar” work. The requirement that the employees who are being compared must work at the “same establishment” is not included in California’s Fair Pay Act. Therefore, this law lowers the standard that a victim needs to meet in order to prove wage inequality.
For example, let’s say a man and a woman both hold similar positions within the same company, but the man is in the New York office and the woman is in the California office. Under the Fair Pay Act, employers must provide equal pay to both these individuals even though they are in different locations.
This law also makes it easier for women to determine if they are victims of wage inequality. How? The Fair Pay Act makes it illegal for employers to prohibit their employees from discussing or inquiring about co-workers’ pay. This portion of the law promotes transparency in the workplace and ensures that women are given the right to investigate whether they are being paid equal wages.
Compensation For Victims of Wage Inequality
Employees who are victims of wage inequality may be able to recover the difference in wages in addition to interest. If the case ends up in court, victims may also be able to recover attorneys’ fees from their employer.
Seek the Justice You Deserve
If you believe you are a victim of wage inequality, you must fight back to defend your rights. Speak to a competent and experienced employment law attorney at Shegerian & Associates to seek justice against your employer.