What California state law specifically governs equal pay and compensation claims?

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Question:

Is equal pay on the basis of age enforced by law in California for employment?

 

Answer:

The California Equal Pay Law, Labor Code section 1197.5, prohibits EEOC discrimination against employees on the basis of sex in the payment of wages.  Therefore, male and female employees in the same classification who perform substantially the same quantity and quality of work are entitled to equal pay, unless pay differentials are based on bona fide factors other than sex, such as seniority or merit.  An employer who denies a person the equal pay guaranteed by this law is liable to the affected employee for any difference in wages due the employee, plus interest.  The employer is also liable for damages in an amount equal to the total amount of lost wages.  The California Department of Industrial Relations handles equal pay law complaints.

However, if you believe your rights under California’s equal pay law have been violated, you should consult an plaintiff’s employment attorney before you complain to any government agencies.  You could be advised to make claims not only before the DIR, but also with the U.S. Department of Labor and/or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and/or a civil court.  Your litigation strategy should be consistent throughout the forums.   

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