New Laws Expand California’s Equal Pay Act to Include Race and Limit Use of Prior Salary
New Laws Expand California’s Equal Pay Act to Include Race and Limit Use of Prior Salary

The Wage Equality Act of 2016 (Senate Bill 1063) expands California’s Equal Pay Act to target race and ethnicity-related wage differentials. This bill picks up where last year’s Equal Pay Act (which bolstered prohibitions on gender-based pay differentials) left off by adding a new Labor Code provision precluding wage differentials based on race or ethnicity.  Under the Wage Equality Act, employers will be required to demonstrate that a reasonably-applied factor accounts for any pay differential between employees of different races or ethnicities for doing substantially similar work as employees of another race or ethnicity and that the factor is: (1) not derived from a race or ethnicity-based differential in compensation; (2) job-related to the position at issue; and (3) consistent with a business necessity.  In addition, pay differences can be based on merit, seniority or quantity or quality of production systems.

The Wage Equality Act is connected with Assembly Bill 1676 as both bills had to be passed to become effective.  As originally drafted, AB 1676 would have prohibited hiring-related inquiries about salary history and required private employers to provide an applicant with the pay scale for a position upon request.  Since Governor Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, AB 1676 was revised and, as signed by the Governor, simply provides that prior salary cannot by itself justify a disparity in compensation.

The Wage Equality Act of 2016 and AB 1676 become effective on January 1, 2017.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked.  So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again.  This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing.  No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits).  But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you.  And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry).  Big news: Copyright 2016.  All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

If you have any questions about this article, contact the writer directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it.  If you have any questions regarding this blog or your life in general, contact Kelly O. Scott, Esq., commander in chief of this blog and Head Honcho (official legal title) of ECJ’s Employment Law Department.


Recent Posts




Jump to PageX

ECJ uses cookies to enhance your experience on our website, to better understand how our website is used and to help provide security. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies. For more information see our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.