Although women have made many strides in business in decades past, NBC News reports that in California, women on average make 89 cents for every dollar a man earns in the same job. This discrepancy is the lowest in the nation, but that does not make it fair to pay a woman less than a man for the same work. Fighting against the gender pay gap is no simple task, and discrimination can be hard to prove, so it is essential to know the rights afforded in the Golden State.
In 2016, California took several measures to make wage discrimination more difficult for employers. Since women are typically paid less than men, basing incoming salary on an employee’s previous salary could perpetuate a pay disparity throughout an entire career, stunting one’s earning potential. With this in mind, California followed Massachusetts and enacted a law that makes it illegal for an employer to ask for a potential hire’s salary history. The state also strengthened laws protecting employees who choose to disclose their earnings with colleagues.
In fact, the San Francisco Chronicle details that pay transparency has become a championed issue in the tech community. Not only are there websites that allow employees to disclose their pay anonymously, a Google employee began a spreadsheet in 2015 allowing coworkers to post their pay. While some companies have taken the lead and made wages public as a means of holding themselves accountable to fair pay amongst a diverse staff, many companies still find the practice taboo. Although many managers do not endorse this practice, in California it is illegal for any action to be taken against an employee who discusses his or her salary.