Women who work in California now have the strongest equal pay protection in the nation, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed new legislation into law in Richmond on Tuesday.
It comes amid rising concern about a wage gap — a recent study by civil rights group National Partnership found that women in the state who worked full time made a median 84 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2013.
Now, women workers will be allowed to sue under pay discrimination laws if they can prove a man at the same job in the same business establishment makes more for no discernible reason.
The new law eliminates a “same establishment” requirement for workplaces, which didn’t necessarily allow women to compare their salaries to that of men working at the same business.
It also outlaws retaliation for inquiring about other employees’ wages, and prohibits retaliating against employees who disclose or discuss their own wages.
The new standard now makes it harder for businesses to put measurement criteria in place based on “irrelevant” factors other than gender.
“The inequities that have plagued our state … are slowly being resolved with this kind of bill,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Brown as saying at the signing ceremony at Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park in Richmond.
The bill was sponsored by Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).