Equal Pay Violations
What Does The California Equal Pay Act Actually State?
The California Equal Pay Act originally only prohibited an employer from paying employees less than employees of the opposite sex for equal work. Over the last several years, the law has been amended and expanded, and it now prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees’ wage rates that are less than what it pays to other employees of the opposite sex, or of another race, or ethnicity for substantially similar work. If two employees are doing very similar work and have similar qualifications, you cannot pay them differently if they are of a different race, gender or ethnicity. They have to be paid the same. Otherwise, an Equal Pay Act violation claim occurs.
What do I have to prove to prevail on an Equal Pay Act claim?
An employee has to show they are being paid less than another employee of a different race or gender for substantially similar work to prevail in an Equal Pay Act claim. This refers to work that is similar in skill, effort, responsibility, experience, ability, education, training, and effort. It has to be done in similar working conditions, meaning similar physical surroundings, like temperatures, fumes, and hazards. The law is trying to trying to weed out those cases where the only difference in pay is due to the gender or race of the employees versus some other legitimate concern or characteristic.
How may an employer defeat the Equal Pay Act claim?
Under the current law, an employer can defeat an Equal Pay claim by proving that the difference in the wage is due to some real factor other than sex, race, or ethnicity. The employer has a rather steep burden on that and has to show that the factor is not even based or derived on race, gender, or ethnicity and it is consistent with a true business necessity. Some of these factors could include education, training, or experience. For example, a 20-year employee might be entitled to different wages than a two-year employee. And, someone with advanced degrees or training might get a higher wage than someone with less education and training.
What is a likely outcome if I am successful in my wage discrimination case?
Under the Equal Pay Act, an employee can recover the differences in the wages they were paid versus the employee of another race or gender. They can also recover interest on that amount and even a liquidated damage, which is double damages. So, if an employee was paid a ten thousand dollar a year difference, they can recover the ten thousand dollars, plus interest and possibly an additional ten thousand dollars as a penalty. If an employee takes a case like this to court and wins, they are also entitled to recover attorney’s fees and costs.
For more information on California Equal Pay Act, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 257-8999 today.
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