Gary McLaughlin Quoted by SHRM on California’s Fair Pay Act

Akin Gump labor and employment partner Gary McLaughlin was quoted by the Society for Human Resource Management for its article “New Calif. Fair Pay Law Is Toughest in Nation” on California Senate Bill 358, signed into law yesterday, which, according to SHRM, requires comparable pay between men and women for substantially similar work. Employers now shoulder the burden of explaining how pay differences between men and women are due to what the article refers to as “acceptable factors.”

McLaughlin called it the toughest fair pay act in the country, noting that requirement of employers to justify pay differences “really flips the burden.” He said that employers’ HR teams should analyze pay data and, if that analysis uncovers gender-based differences, the HR professionals should research further to compare wages across offices, positions and worker experience levels.

He added that HR professionals need to have hiring managers carefully document criteria involved in setting wages for workers so that the company can later explain the factors employed in arriving at a salary: “You might pay a new employee more because of prior experience. You make a selective assessment and decide to pay more, but then you might in retrospect have to justify why that experience was worth $10,000 a year and not $5,000.”