Gary McLaughlin Writes Article for Daily Journal on California’s Expanded Fair Pay Act

Daily Journal has published the article “SB 358: Expands wage equality protection,” written by Gary McLaughlin, a partner in the labor and employment practice at Akin Gump. The article, which appears in Daily Journal’s New Laws supplement, summarizes a 2015 California law that amends the state’s Fair Pay Act to “significantly expand protections against gender inequality in wages.”

McLaughlin writes that under the new law, which took effect January 1,“an employer may not pay employees less than what it pays employees of the opposite sex for “substantially similar” work, unless the employer can affirmatively demonstrate that the difference is based on one of several factors.” Those include a seniority system, a merit system, earnings that are measured by quantity or quality of production, and a legitimate factor other than sex, such as education, training or experience. The new law also adds anti-retaliation protections for employees.

Other aspects of the law, according to McLaughlin, include the following points:

  • it requires equal pay for “substantially similar work;”
  • it does not limit wage comparisons to a single establishment, allowing employees to compare their wages to those of employees at other locations in the state; and
  • it places the burden of proof on the employer “to demonstrate that any wage differential is not gender-based.”

McLaughlin concludes by noting that employers throughout California “should be diligent in reviewing wage rates for similar positions across all their locations in the state, and address any potential wage disparities that could be associated with gender.” He adds that this might also mean implementing more uniform wages regardless of location, and reducing local managers’ discretion in making compensation decisions that could later be questioned.

To read the full article, please click here.