Gender Discrimination Lawyers Fighting for Equal Pay at Work

What is the Wage Gap?

Women in the U.S. who work full time, year-round, are typically paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. For the first quarter of 2020, women’s median weekly earnings were only 80.4% of men’s. Moreover, studies have shown that as many as 4 in 10 working women (40%) report experiencing some type of gender discrimination at work. Many women, regardless of education and work experience, still experience a significant wage gap for no reason other than their sex. Ms. Olivares has successfully represented women in entertainment, finance, and other business sectors to rectify discriminatory pay practices and has recovered millions of dollars on their behalf.

How are you protected?

On October 6, 2015, Governor Brown signed amendments to the California Fair Pay Act (SB 358), which prohibits an employer from paying any of its employees wage rates that are less than what it pays employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions. The amendments, which took effect on January 1, 2016, strengthened the existing Equal Pay Act in a number of ways, including by:

  • Requiring equal pay for employees who perform “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility (replacing a comparison of “equal” work with a comparison of “substantially similar” work);
  • Eliminating the requirement that the employees being compared work at the “same establishment”;
  • Making it more difficult for employers to satisfy the “bona fide factor other than sex” defense;
  • Ensuring that any legitimate factors relied upon by the employer are applied reasonably and account for the entire pay difference;
  • Explicitly stating that retaliation against employees who seek to enforce the law is illegal and making it illegal for employers to prohibit employees from discussing or inquiring about their co-workers’ wages; and
  • Extending the number of years that employers must maintain wage and other employment-related records from two years to three years.

Under the Fair Pay Act, equal pay for equal work is not the standard. Instead, employees alleging pay disparity must now only show “substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility.” This allows employees and the courts to compare wages of employees who perform similar work, even if the job title is different.

What remedies are available?

Pursuant to Labor Code section 1197.5 (h), an employee receiving less than the wage to which she is entitled under this section may recover in a civil action the balance of the wages, including interest thereon, and an equal amount as liquidated damages, together with the costs of the suit and reasonable attorney’s fees, notwithstanding any agreement to work for a lesser wage.

If you feel you have been a victim of wage discrimination or suffered any other discrimination in the workplace, contact Olivares Law, APC today for a free consultation. (310) 706-4061