equal pay equal workLabor Code §1197.5. bars employers from paying employees less than other employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work regardless of their job titles or the location where they work.  Current law prohibits an employer from paying an employee less than employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work on jobs which require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions. This law prohibits an employer from paying its employees less than employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility. This new statute eliminates the restriction that a wage differential must be within the “same establishment” to be discriminatory. This law changes the burden of proof in qualifying for an exception. Once a pay differential in substantially similar jobs is shown, then the employer is required to affirmatively demonstrate that the wage differential is based upon one or more specified factors, including a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a bona fide factor other than gender. This law also requires the employer to demonstrate that each factor relied upon is applied reasonably, and that the one or more factors relied upon account for the entire differential. This law also restates existing rules prohibiting an employer from prohibiting an employee from disclosing the employee’s own wages, discussing the wages of others or inquiring about another employee’s wages. This law adds a new protection for an employee who aids or encourages any other employee to exercise his/her rights under the provisions of this law. Furthermore, a private right of action is created for employees discriminated or retaliated against for exercising their rights under this law with a one year statute of limitations. Senate Bill 358. Codified as Labor Code §1197.5. Effective date is January 1, 2016