California has a strong history of protecting the rights of employees to be paid equally, regardless of their sex. Recently, the California Equal Pay Act has been strengthened even further and now provides protections based on gender, race and ethnicity.The California Equal Pay Act
Section 1197.5 of the California Labor Code states that an employer is not allowed to pay any employees at a rate paid to other employees of the opposite sex, another race or ethnicity, for substantially similar work. Whether the work is substantially similar depends on the skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.
The recent amendments to the CA Equal Pay Act prohibited a disparity in pay based on race or ethnicity. It also eliminated the requirement that comparative job be located at the same establishment. There are now also anti-retaliation protections that were not previously available.Can an Employer Ask How Much I’m Currently Paid During an Interview?
No. Labor Code Section 432.3 now prohibits an employer from asking for any information about a job applicant’s salary history including compensation or benefits. An employer also cannot rely on the salary history of an applicant as a factor to determine what to offer an employee.
It is important to note that an employer can ask an applicant about their salary expectations for the position. This is different than asking what an applicant has made in the past.Retaliation for Asking About Other Employees’ Wages
An employer now cannot prohibit employees from disclosing their own wages to other employees. They also cannot prevent employees from discussing the wages of others or inquiring about another employee’s wages.Are There Exceptions to the Requirements of Equal Pay?
There are reasons that an employer can pay different genders, ethnicities or races different wages. Those include seniority, merit, a system that measures production, and/or some bonda fide factor other than sex, race, or ethnicity.What Damages Can Be Recovered for Violation of the CA Equal Pay Act?
An employer who violates the Equal Pay Act is liable for the amount of unequal wages (the difference between your wages and the higher paid employee) as well as interest. There is also a liquidated damages provision that allows for recovery of an additional amount equal to the unequal wages. An employee can also recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit for bringing the case forward.What is the Statute of Limitations for an Equal Pay Act Claim?
An employee must bring a case within two years after the cause of action occurs unless the actions of the employer were willful. In that case the statute of limitations is three years.Get Help From a San Diego Equal Pay Lawyer
Failing to classify someone properly as an employee instead of an independent contractor is a violation of California Labor Law. Our office has recovered millions of dollars from companies in class actions and individual cases for employees who have been the victim of employers that attempt to skirt employment laws.
If you believe that your employer has incorrectly misclassified you as an independent contractor, call our office to set up a free consultation. We will run through all of the facts of your case and provide you with our opinion as to whether you have enough to take a case forward. All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, so there is no fee unless we win.
For more information or to speak to a lawyer, call us at (619) 377-4660.