Both federal and California law make wage discrimination illegal. Employees who find that they are not being paid the same as their colleagues for similar work could file a lawsuit. Employees must be paid the same regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity.
The Equal Pay Act prohibits unequal pay based on gender. As long as the jobs are “substantially equal,” the pay must be the same. In the usual discrimination case, the victim must first go to the EEOC. For pay discrimination, the victim can go straight to court with a lawsuit. In addition, the following federal laws would also prohibit pay discrimination based on race, age, or ethnicity:
If you believe you are being compensated unfairly, you should speak with San Francisco equal pay lawyers immediately.
As is usually the case, California law goes even further than federal law, and it gives workers more protections. California’s Equal Pay Act puts the burden on employers to justify paying a woman less than a man for “substantially similar” work. The employer would need to show that the different pay is justified by a seniority or merit system. Different pay could also be justified in a performance-based system where employees earn a share of their production. In California, once you can prove that different pay exists, the employer will need to prove that it is for some reason other than gender.
You are allowed to ask about pay differentials without any fear of retaliation. If you have inquired from your employer and see that there are pay gaps, or your employer has taken some action against you after asking, you should contact an attorney immediately to learn your legal rights. The law imposes time limits, so you must act quickly. You have the ability to file your claim either with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, or ultimately in court. The laws are written to give employees flexibility and make it as easy as possible for them to take action.
When you file a lawsuit under the California Equal Pay Act, you could recover the following if your lawsuit is successful:
California has amended this law multiple times. Your attorney is aware of the latest changes to the statute and will know whether you have a potential cause of action. If you think that something looks wrong, there is little downside to have an attorney investigate. You may end up with the pay that you always deserved but were illegally denied.
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