San Diego Passes Equal Pay Law to Help Close Wage Gap

Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) October 2, 2017 – San Diego became the largest city in the country to implement a law requiring city consultants and contractors to pay all employees equally, regardless of gender or ethnicity. The City Council passed the ordinance on July 31 that aims to address the persistent wage disparity that disfavors women and people of color.

While federal and state laws require all employees to be paid equally, wage disparity persists, and equal pay laws are often difficult to enforce. The new law will help enforce equal wage and opportunity laws, including a living wage, prevailing wages, benefits, earned sick leave and a minimum wage, by placing stricter requirements on employers.

On average, white men working full-time in California earn an annual salary of $50,359, while women earn $42,486, according to Census Bureau data by the National Partnership for Women and Families. Additionally, black women earn 64 cents and Latina women make 44 cents for every $1 a white man makes.

The new law requires contractors to certify that they pay employees equally for the same or substantially similar work, and must provide their workers with a written policy that ensures equal pay. It would also require city officials to educate contractors about the policy, as well as state and federal laws requiring equal pay.

Those exempt from the new law are contractors with 12 or fewer full-time employees and with public works contracts under $500,000.

The ordinance will be enforced through complaints to the city. Should an employer be found to pay employees unequally for “substantially similar work,” they will have 30 days to correct any problems. Contractors working for the city who fail to fix the wage gap could have their contracts cancelled, terminated or suspended. The law applies to any contracts awarded, entered into, or extended beginning on January 1, 2018.

For those that believe they have experienced pay and wage discrimination in the workplace, call an experienced employment attorney at Strong Advocates to help determine what legal rights apply and obtain justice.