Wage Gender Gaps and California Employers

From the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)

It is possible that soon California employers would be prohibited from asking job candidates for their salary history and would be required to disclose the pay scale for a position to candidates who request it, under a proposal making its way through the state legislature.

The pay scale requirement does not apply to public employers, but salary information for public employees already falls under the disclosure requirements of the California Public Records Act.

AB 168, introduced in January by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, passed the Assembly May 22 and currently sits in the state Senate.

The bill “is part of an effort in California to address historic and structural impediments to gender equity,” said Gina Roccanova, chair of law firm Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, based in Oakland. “That effort includes amendments to California’s Equal Pay Act that went into effect in January 2016, which made it more difficult for employers to defend against claims of unequal pay based on gender. In January of this year, a further change went into effect that prohibits employers from using pay history as the sole justification for disparities in pay.”

According to 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings for women working full time in California ($775) is 84.8 percent of the median earnings for men ($914), amounting to about a $7,000 gap for women annually. Barring employers from asking questions about salary history so that previous salary discrimination is not perpetuated is key to closing the state’s gender wage gap, Eggman said.”

The protocol for hiring in dental offices in California has always included asking for past employment salary history to ascertain whether the employee is being truthful about employment history.  This information was used to make an offer that was very little over or under what the employee was used to making having little to do with the applicant’s salary needs.


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