When it initially became law, the California Equal Pay Act was designed to protect the rights of employees whose employers engage in discriminatory wage practices based on gender. Since the Act became law, it has been updated several times, most notably in 2015 when the California Fair Pay Act further strengthened the law to help ensure pay equity.
With the additional amendments to the Equal Pay Act, its protections against discrimination extend to cases based on sex, race or ethnicity. In wage and hour law, the Equal Pay Act is extremely important and helps to ensure that you are paid what you are owed.
Protecting your rights under the Equal Pay Act
In general, claims under the Act must be filed within two years of the violation, except in cases involving willful violations. In such a case, an employee has up to three years to file a claim. If the Labor Commissioner’s Office determines that a violation occurred, the employee may receive compensation owed by the employer. The situation may go to court if the employer contests the decision or refuses to pay.
IMPORTANT: If you believe your rights under the Equal Pay Act have been violated, it is a good idea to talk to a California employment law attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can explain your options and guide you through the process of obtaining the compensation you need and deserve.
To learn more about these matters, please see our previous post: “Discriminatory wage practices in California: Understanding your options.”