For a long time, it was unthinkable to ask a co-worker how much he was making, or to ask your boss to give you a raise because your co-worker was making more money. Indeed, raising the topic of pay in the workplace was viewed to be distasteful and off-limits. This has all changed in the past few years in California with the passage of a law known as the Fair Pay Act.

The Fair Pay Act amended existing labor laws in California to protect employees who want to discuss the wages of their co-workers. This has opened the door to the acceptance of such conversations.

The Fair Pay Act was passed because as of 2015, women in the workplace only made 80 cents for every dollar earned by male co-workers. In other words, there was a gender wage gap of 20%. The Fair Pay Act aims to fix this problem. It ensures that employees who perform “substantially similar work” receive the same pay. If there is a difference in pay, then it is up to your employer to explain why.

A key feature of the Fair Pay Act is that employers cannot discriminate against their employees for discussing, disclosing, or inquiring about their co-workers’ pay.

If you have been affected by gender pay discrimination, or have been retaliated against because you discussed, disclosed, or inquired about a co-workers’ pay, it is important to collect key documents (such as a job description and list of duties), and to consult with an experienced employment attorney.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is not legal advice. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal advice unless and until it is formally retained, and an attorney client contract is signed. Each case is unique. The laws may or may not apply to your particular situation. This should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have laws and regulations that differ substantially from one another. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal services, or practice law outside of the State of California. You should always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding any specific legal issue. If you have any questions about your rights, it is best to speak with an experienced employment attorney.