Know Your Rights
What does it mean to be paid fairly under California’s Fair Pay Act?
Suppose you’ve been at a job for a while and you suspect that you are getting paid less than men at our company, agency, or organization for doing similar work – but you don’t know for sure. You’d like to do some research, but where do you start? Below are pay gap calculators you might find useful to help estimate if there is a gender pay gap where you work.
Am I Protected From Discrimination?
Yes. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) applies to public and private employers, labor organizations and employment agencies. Go to Employment | CRD (ca.gov) for further information.
If I Am Not Getting Equal Pay, What Can I Do?
If you believe you are not receiving “equal pay,” you may consider:
- Talking to your boss (and bring a co-worker with you as a witness, to support you and establish that you’re engaging in protected, concerted activity). Please see section on Retaliation.
- Talking to your coworkers
- Talking to your Union rep
- Consulting with an attorney
- Filing a claim in court
- Filing a claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office
- Contacting your local Labor Commissioner’s Office Division of Labor Standards Enforcement – District offices (ca.gov)
How Do I File A Claim For Equal Pay?
If you are an employee who has experiences an equal pay violation (you’ve been paid less than a co-worker of a different sex, race, or ethnicity for doing substantially similar work), you can file a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s office or file an action in court against your employers to seek the difference in pay. In order to succeed on such a claim, you will need to show that your employer paid you less than it paid another employee of the opposite sex [or different race or ethnicity] for performing substantially similar work sometime in the past two years. You may be able to go back three years if you can show your employer’s violation of the law was “willful” (done with knowledge). Your employer will then have the chance to show that there is a legitimate reason for the pay difference that has nothing to do with sex.
Go to California Equal Pay Act for more information about filing a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Remember that you may, but do not have to, file an administrative claim before filing an action court.
If you have experienced wage theft, you can file an online claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Go to Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) (ca.gov) to learn more about filing a wage theft claim.
Am I Protected From Retaliation?
Yes. Employees and applicants for employment in California have the right to exercise their labor rights without retaliation or discrimination. Go to Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit (RCI) (ca.gov) for further information.
DISCLAIMER: The materials provided on this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain legal advice about any particular issue or problem. The materials do not represent the opinions or conclusions of individual members of the Task Force. The posting of these materials does not create requirements or mandates.