October 7, 2015
From Reuters Legal

by Robert Iafolla

California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed a measure to combat gender-based pay inequality into law on Tuesday that's expected to spark lawsuits against employers. The California Fair Pay Act, which requires equal pay for "substantially similar work," allows workers to sue employers for the differential between their wages and those paid to members of the opposite sex. It also prohibits retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries. Unlike most anti-discrimination statutes, California's new fair pay law shifts the burden from the worker to the employer to prove pay differentials for similar work are based on factors other than gender, said Dan Eaton, an employment lawyer and instructor at San Diego State University.

"The intent of the Legislature was to give this statute serious teeth," said Charles Thompson, vice chair of Polsinelli's West Coast labor and employment practice.

Nationally, women earn an average of 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The gap is slightly smaller in California, with women earning 84 cents to the dollar, according to the state's legislature.

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