As noted last year in a prior post, California law requires employers to pay the same wage to employees performing substantially similar work whenever they possess relevant EEO distinctions such as sex, gender, and race. Employers should expect the law to cause a new wave of employment litigation over the coming years, requiring careful justification of differences with legitimate factors, such as tenure.
A recent SuperLawyers.com article (quoting firm attorney, Richard Rybicki) highlights this emerging trend and the state's new requirements that (1) employers with 15 or more employees disclose pay scale information on all job postings, and (2) employers with 100 or more employees report race, ethnicity, and gender information along with mean and medium pay rates in ten different job categories. Pay data reporting procedure can be reviewed on the California Civil Rights Department website.
The wage posting requirement, part of California's Equal Pay Act, will apply to many more small and medium-sized employers. And unlike large-employer annual reporting, posting requirements are enforced by the ever-aggressive California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement ("Labor Commissioner"). Guidance on posting requirements and other important parts of the law can be viewed on the Labor Commissioner's website.
Employers should continue to monitor wage differences between employees performing substantially similar work, both at hire and as part of regular compliance audits. This is yet another area where an ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure!