California Equal Pay Act

Posted by Raoul Severo | Nov 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

For decades, people -- particularly women -- have continued to use their voices to fight for their place in the employment field. Unequal pay between men and women has been a pervasive issue that persists to this day. In fact, a recent survey showed that employees believed “pay gap” is the most important issue that women are facing in the workplace. 

Meanwhile, efforts to give equal pay are actually not as recent as people might think. California's Equal Pay Act, for instance, is one of the forefronts of initiatives to be aligned with the California miminum wage guidelines and to fight against wage discrimination. 

The act works to diminish many societal and employment issues, but the key purpose of it is to prohibit any employer from paying an employee less than what his/her other colleagues from the opposite sex earn, given that their tasks are similar or the same. However, this summarization does not really give justice to the significant contributions that the act offers. Hence, we have provided a list below of the fundamental changes and advocacies under the California Equal Pay Act:

  • Preventing comparisons between employees based solely on their gender or sexual orientation;
  • Employers will now have to come up with a better defense than “bona fide factor other than sex” when accused of discriminating employees from a specific gender group;
  • It is illegal to threaten or prohibit employees from inquiring about their colleague's wages;
  • Employers cannot punish, threaten, or prohibit workers who seek to enforce the law or file legal actions against employers who abuse/violate the law;
  • Extension of keeping work-related documents (i.e., pay slip) from two years to three years;
  • It is illegal for employers to refuse to release pay scale information when requested by a job seeker; and
  • Choose job applicants based solely on their gender when the work being applied for is not gender-specific.


Gender discrimination in the workplace comes in many forms; hence, it's highly recommended that you become aware of these possible scenarios so you can identify when the employer is violating California Equal Pay Act, and when he is not.

  • A young female office clerk is wondering how her male colleagues manage to live luxurious lives while she is struggling to pay rent. One day, she finally asks one of his male co-worker, who also happens to be her batchmate, how much he makes each payday. Their boss overhears their conversation and scolds the lady for asking such an inappropriate question. The employer also explains that knowing other co-workers' wages is a violation of their company policy.
  • A client hires a group of software engineers for a big company project. In the group, there is only one woman and the rest are all boys. The lady then shoulders all the heavy tasks of the project while the rest of the team refuses to take any load. After finishing the project, the lady then proposes that she should get a raise because she did most of the work. The client refuses, and instead, he pays the boys 50% more than what he paid to the woman. The client explains that he did so because “girls don't deserve to get paid more than boys”.

How to File an Equal Pay Act Violation Complaint

Before you proceed with the steps, you must first know that the statute of limitation is two years from the date of the violation. However, if the violation is willful (i.e., explicitly stating that the grounds for uneven pay is due to sexual differences), then the worker has three years to file. 

Now, you may proceed to the steps of filing an Equal Pay Act Violation Complaint:

  1. Bring an official complaint to the California Labor Commissioner, local court, or even California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, depending on the circumstances of your case.
  2. After that, the Califonia Labor Commissioner investigates the claim. If the office determines that a violation occurred, then an order will be sent requiring the company/employer to remedy the issue. If after that, the company/employer still refuses to comply, then the Labor Commissioner's Office will file a civil action against them.
  3. If the office determines that no violation occurred, the case may be dismissed.

Call Us For Help

If after doing all of the steps, your problem is still not resolved, do not worry. Our legal team of experienced and skilled lawyers will help you get the justice that you deserve. Now that the Equal Pay Act is stricter than before, it is generally easy to prove your case in court. Call us now so we can discuss your case with full confidentiality.

Send us a message! We'll get back to you ASAP

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