Sacramento, CA: On January 1, 2016, California’s Fair Pay Act, SB 358 (Jackson), will take effect. The bill will give more grounds for employees to challenge pay discrimination. In addition to addressing wage disparity, the bill is designed to prevent employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay.
According to the
Although there are existing state and federal laws that address pay inequality, those laws contain loopholes that make it easier for employers to prevent employee discussions of their pay. For example, one of the provisions in the existing California law regards wage differentials only when they occur at the same establishment, not within the same company. So a woman doing the same work as a man, for the same company but at a different office could still be paid less without breaking the law.
“Pay secrecy also contributes to the gender wage gap, because women cannot challenge wage discrimination that they do not know exists,” the bill states. “Although California law prohibits employers from banning wage disclosures and retaliating against employees for engaging in this activity, in practice many employees are unaware of these protections and others are afraid to exercise these rights due to potential retaliation.”
Revisions to the bill would mean employers would have to prove a wage differential is based not on gender but on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or another legal factor other than sex. Otherwise, if men and women do substantially similar work, they must be paid the same even if their job titles and employment locations are different. Furthermore, employers would be prohibited from retaliating or discrimination against any employee who attempts to protect her rights based on the bill, and would further be prohibited from preventing employees from discussing their wages or the wages of other employees.
Employers who are found to violate the law could face legal action. The new bill could see a rise in gender pay discrimination once it takes effect.
San Francisco, CA: Julieta Yang’s voice is only one in the wilderness that is the undocumented worker in California. But the single mother of three who hails from the Philippines is an example of the challenges and hurdles faced by the undocumented worker in the state of California.
Los Angeles, CA: A California Wage and Hour Employment class-action lawsuit reached an important milestone a week ago when a US District Court Judge gave a nod to a settlement worth $1.8 million. Up to 22,000 class members will share in about $1.2 million, with the remainder going to attorney’s fees.
Los Angeles, CA: A retired teacher has filed a $12 million lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District, alleging her employer did not provide her with a working environment that was free from harassment. Cathy Figel, an openly gay teacher, alleges in her lawsuit that she was subject to an unsafe work environment, including anti-gay language, vandalism and physical violence.
Los Angeles, CA: It’s déjà vu for Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers), following the filing of a California wage and hour class-action lawsuit alleging Farmers improperly classified commercial claims representatives as exempt from overtime pay, while often being made to work upwards of 50 to 60 hours per week or more without compensation.
Vallejo, CA: Concerns about animal welfare at a Six Flags park in California have reportedly resulted in a wrongful termination lawsuit against the theme park operator. Michael and Holley Muraco filed the California wrongful termination lawsuit because they say they were retaliated against for reporting Six Flags for poor animal care.
Los Angeles, CA: A "California ERISA lawsuit has been filed against Blue Shield of California Life and Health Insurance Co., alleging the insurer violated ERISA laws by wrongfully denying necessary medical treatment. The lawsuit joins other lawsuits filed against various insurers alleging they are wrongfully denying hepatitis patients vital treatment.
Los Angeles, CA: A California whistleblower who sued his former employer over unsafe working conditions and won a settlement has yet to see a dime after his former employer folded the company and reorganized operations under a different name, allegedly to avoid complying with the settlement. Undaunted, the US Department of Labor has launched a California OSHA labor lawsuit against the former employer of Herbert Alexander.
San Francisco, CA: When it comes to understanding employment rights, areas such as family leave can be complicated. That’s because family medical leave is covered federally by the Family and Medical Leave Act but is covered in California by the California Family Rights Act. Ultimately, though, it means eligible employees are able to take up to 12 weeks off, paid or unpaid, for certain reasons.
San Francisco, CA: A California harassment lawsuit has been filed against a janitorial contractor based in Gilroy over allegations of sexual harassment against a female employee by a supervisor. The lawsuit contends that M.A Jones Inc., which also does business as Cleaning Services, did nothing about the harassment allegations, then fired the plaintiff when she reported the behavior. Meanwhile, a separate harassment lawsuit ended in July with a multimillion-dollar verdict in favor of the plaintiff.