California’s Fair Pay Act

In October 2015, California’s Governor Brown signed into law equal pay protections for California employees.  The legislation authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to strengthen the older California Equal Pay Act and to rectify gender wage inequality.  The Fair Pay Act protects employees who discuss their pay or seek to enforce their rights from discrimination or retaliation by employers.  Employees now have a more relaxed standard for claiming—in court or before the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement—that they are not paid the same rate for substantially similar work due to gender. Once the employee makes his or her showing, the burden is on the employer to prove that any pay difference is due to some legitimate factor, such as seniority, merit, or production metrics.  In short, the burden rests with the employer to prove some business necessity for any difference in wages. 
The bill unanimously passed the California Senate and soared through the Assembly with a 66-2 vote.  The text of the law, legislative analyses, and the bill’s history can be found here(link is external)