In the past, The Equal Pay Act protected employees from receiving less pay based solely on their gender. Historically men were argued to be the main providers for the family and this mentality put women’s pay significantly less than that of men. However, as of 2017, race and ethnicity were given protections under this act. If an employer is paying an employee or employees fewer wages based on their gender, race, or ethnicity, they are in violation of The Equal Pay Act. As an employee, it is important to seek advice from legal counsel if you believe your employer is in violation of this law. Contact JML Law today in San Francisco to speak with an Equal Pay attorney who can go over with you what legal rights you have to exercise.
What You Should Know About Equal Pay Act Violations
In addition to San Francisco’s own ordinances, employers must abide by the California Equal Pay Act. The California Equal Pay Act (E.P.A.) states “An employer shall not pay any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to 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 except where the employer demonstrates the wage differential is based upon one or more of the following factors:
- A seniority system.
- A merit system.
- A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
- A bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience.”
San Francisco also has its own local ordinances concerning equal pay. Two of these ordinances are:
- The San Francisco Equal Pay Ordinance: Encourages employers to identify pay discrimination by reviewing compensation by sex and race/ethnicity. Permits City to investigate suspected gender or racial wage discrimination.
- The San Francisco Parity in Pay Ordinance: Prevents employers from basing an employee’s pay on their previous salary, which perpetuates prior pay inequities or gender wage discrimination.
An employee is allowed to ask their employer about the wages of other employees but an employer is not legally obligated to answer. According to The Department of Industrial Relations employees can inquire about and discuss their wages with co-workers and retaliation from an employer for doing so is unlawful.
How To Proceed
An employer can be sued civilly for violating The Equal Pay Act within two years for any non-willful violation and within three years of any willful violation. A willful violation is a violation of intent, where the employer knowingly violated the act. A non-willful violation is due to the employer’s negligence, mistake, or a misunderstanding of legal requirements. If a settlement is reached in your favor, back-pay, court costs, and reinstatement of employment are a few of the remedies you could be owed as damages for the violation. Contact JML Law offices in San Francisco today to speak with an experienced and confidential Equal Pay Act violation attorney. You can call us at 415-692-3462 or visit our website at www.jmllaw.com to request a free case evaluation.
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