Equal Pay Act and Fair Pay Act Attorneys in Pasadena
With the passing of the Fair Pay Act in 2016, California now has some of the most strict equal pay laws in the country. Essentially, the Fair Pay Act amends Section 1197.5 of the California Labor Code by increasing requirements for wage equality and inhibiting subjective pay disparity. The law introduces the “substantially similar work” standard. Within this new standard, the law prohibits employers from paying one gender lower wages for “substantially similar work” and bases this on a combination of the employee’s skills, effort, responsibility, while performing under similar working conditions. In addition, this law expands the scope of protection by allowing an employee to file an unequal pay act claim stemming from employee wage rates in any of the employer’s locations and in other job categories so long as the work is substantially similar.
At its heart, the new law aims to ensure just compensation for women in the workplace. For years, women were paid lower wages based on their gender even when they performed substantially the same work. Then, when the women would bring up that fact, they would be discriminated, harassed or retaliated against. Accordingly, the new Fair Pay Act is similar to other anti-discrimination laws in that it includes anti-retaliation protection for employees who request that their compensation is compared to their fellow employees’ salaries. An added provision that empowers employees places the burden on the employers to prove that their pay rate disparity is based on factors other than gender.
Our attorneys have seen a number of cases filed this year that utilize these new fair pay act laws. For example, we see many cases where females were earning lower wages and were not given the opportunity to make influential decision-making even though they were partners at the firm. Moreover, the lawsuits often claimed that the companies had biased subjectivity factors when deciding how much to pay. This led to many of these cases including the added gender and sex discrimination allegations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Another common feature of these cases was when female partners had a demonstrated record of outperforming the male partners those performance metrics were undervalued and treated pursuant to an arbitrarily different scale. Finally, another common characteristic of these cases includes the lack of transparency and objectivity in the compensation process.
The advantage that the Fair Pay Act gives California’s employees is that the plaintiff only has to show that two individuals of different genders worked in similar (though not identical) jobs and earned different wages. At that point, the employer must prove that the different wage amounts were based on a legitimate and legal reason without taking into consideration illegal and unlawful factors such as gender. Companies will also have to provide expert testimony to show that they used legitimate objective factors often at a great expense. The Plaintiff is also entitled to provide an expert to combat the companies’ experts which will often result in the trial. This removal of requiring the employee to provide by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the employer committed a violation is not required in Fair Pay Act cases.
California’s Fair Pay Act is drafted to expand on existing Federal and California State laws prohibiting gender-based pay discrimination. These laws go beyond the sex/gender discrimination laws that have been the cornerstone of employment discrimination lawsuits. Now, comparisons do not need to be limited to the same region or location. Instead, pay comparison can be made even if the employees do not work in the same facility. Therefore, employee wages in Pasadena can be compared to an employee’s wage in other cities throughout California. Also, the new law bases its comparison on the actual work, skill, effort, level of responsibility, while performed within similar working conditions (or substantially similar work).
With the lower standards, it becomes easier for employees to seek the protection of California’s Fair Pay Act. Employees are allowed to compare their wages to other employees in another gender who work in any facility for the same company and within any position without the need for it to be the same job title or unique function. These new changes will help in bringing more fairness to the workplace. Most importantly, the California Fair Pay Act places the legal burden on the employer to prove that pay differences are based solely upon lawful “factors” such as a merit-based system, seniority, measured quantity or quality of production, or a “bona fide” factor other than gender, including education, experience or training.
Note that California’s Fair Pay Act permits successful plaintiffs to collect attorney’s fees and costs. In addition, most employment law cases in our office are handled on a contingency-fee basis. Please note that the laws follow a strict two-year statute of limitation after you received the last payment from your employer. Therefore, to avoid being barred from filing a claim, please make sure to notify our office as soon as possible.
In addition, if you have been adversely affected by other employment-related violations such as employment discrimination, harassment or retaliation, contact Pasadena area employment lawyers who focus on the representation of executives and employees. To discuss your case and explain what we can do for you, speak to our Pasadena based employment discrimination attorneys today for a free consultation at 877-789-9707.
91101, 91182, 91199
“Mr. Danz and Ms. Porter,
Thank you very much for your legal assistance a few weeks back. The problems I was encountering at work were having an extremely adverse effect on every aspect of my daily life. Relationships with my fiance, friends, and family were growing increasingly tense, and my overall daily outlook was grim as a consequence of not being able to see any viable options to remedy the situation. Your willingness to write, speak over the phone, and meet with me was extremely generous. Furthermore, the way in which you treated my family and I was overwhelming. In a calm, compassionate, and sincere fashion, you were able to explain to us very clearly several meaningful options in which to resolve the conflict I had with my employer. On the drive home from meeting with both of you, I felt for the first time in a long time, a sense of relief and renewed the ability to enjoy the moment.
Your confidence and professionalism in all of my interactions with you allowed me to trust you completely when advice was offered. I wrote a forceful letter to my employer that was as closely in line with the advice you gave I as could create. On the same day that I emailed said letter, I received a reply from my employer that demonstrated very clearly that I had his attention. Immediately after, I received verbal and written reassurances that the matter was being dealt with promptly. Within three weeks I was in the shop, and two weeks after that I my application for the opening at a closer location was accepted. Every part of what I was asking for was granted, and then some.
I would love to fly you both to Hawaii for an all expense paid vacation, but my wife would kill me as we are still in the “postponed” phase of our honeymoon due to lack of funds. At the moment, I give you my most sincere appreciation. I understand that you are both business persons, and had the issue gone to trial or arbitration, much money could have been made. At no time though, did I sense that your motivation was driven by a desire to win money. You both seemed genuinely driven by a desire to help someone who did not readily see how to help himself. That to me is the definition of love and compassion. Thank you for treating my wife, daughter, and I with such love and compassion.
I apologize for it taking so long to get the above thanks to you. My tardiness is in no way an indication that I take this issue lightly. My tardiness IS the result of wanting to dedicate adequate time to compose a thank you that reflects the sincerity and magnitude of my gratitude.
One last thing. Mr. Danz, do you remember mentioning that I was hired as a form of advertisement for the company? You said it would be a way for them to show potential new-hires that one of the top Universal Technical Institute students works for us. Turns out you were dead on. I was asked two weeks ago if I was okay with being interviewed for an upcoming story regarding the company, and that I was one of two people in the entire company chosen. I thought you might get a kick out of that.
Thank you very much.
– Brendan C.”
Stephen Danz & Associates-Pasadena