Proposed CA Wage Law Is a Shame

California Employment Law Letter

Elizabeth J. Boca, an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s San Francisco office, authored an article in California Employment Law Letter, titled “Proposed CA Wage Law Is a Shame.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

Assembly Bill (AB) 1209, currently on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, proposes the addition of Section 2810.6 to the Labor Code to require large employers to gather information related to gender differentials in certain employees’ wages. If the governor signs the bill, Section 2810.6 will require employers with more than 500 employees in California to submit specific wage information to the secretary of state, who will then make it publicly available on the Internet.

Although the bill provides that a gender wage differential does not, in and of itself, constitute a violation of the law, it’s likely that publication of the required information will create the impression of unequal pay in certain circumstances and therefore subject employers to meritless litigation and unwarranted negative publicity, or what some commentators have referred to as “wage shaming.” Governor Brown has until October 15 to sign or veto the bill.

He has not, as of press time, stated his position on AB 1209. Business organizations, including the California Chamber of Commerce, have strongly opposed the measure.

AB 1209 is rife with ambiguities that will cause employers compliance problems. Moreover, employers that attempt to comply with the law will likely interpret its requirements differently, resulting in unreliable and inconsistent data, which would be difficult to use to reduce the gender pay gap.