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California Fair Pay Act : Wage Discrimination And Broader Prohibition Of Gender Wage

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With the new year come new laws, as well as amendments to existing ones. In addition to the change in minimum wage, which increases to $10.00 per hour, here are some highlights from five new noteworthy California employment and labor laws taking effect January 1, 2016: 1. SB 358 & SB 501 -- The California Fair Pay Act: Wage Discrimination & Broader Prohibition of Gender Wage Differentials An amendment to California Labor Code § 1197.5 now adds the language "substantially similar work” to the prohibition against an employer from paying an employee at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex. SB 358 does not require such “substantially similar work” to be “in the same establishment” of the employer as previously required by Section 1197.5. Employer Required To Demonstrate Exemptions Section 1197.5 automatically exempted certain gender wage differentials related to payments based on a seniority system, a merit system, quantity or quality of production, or any bona fide factor other than sex. SB 358 amends Section 1197.5 to require that an employer must now affirmatively demonstrate these differentials, and further that each underlying factor relied upon is applied reasonably, together accounting for the entire wage differential. Anti-Retaliation Protections Introduced SB 358 added a provision to Section 1197.5 that prohibits an employer from discharging, discriminating or retaliating against an employee by reason of any action taken by the
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