California enacted one of the most comprehensive fair pay act in the country, which seeks to remedy the wage gap between male and female employees.

California law already requires employers to pay men and women working in the same location equal pay for the same job.  The California Fair Pay Act eliminates the same location requirement, and states that men and women who are engaged in “substantially similar” work must receive equal pay, regardless of the work location.

The California Fair Pay Act does permit employers to pay individuals working in the same job at different pay rates, so long as the factors behind the pay discrepancies are legitimate, non-sex related factors (for example, education, training, merit, and production).  SB 358 preserves these factors, but places a greater burden on the employer to (1) document the specific factors that go into establishing compensation and (2) showing that those factors are equally regardless of gender.  If all the women in a certain job are making less than all the men in that same job, you are going to run into issues, likely a discrimination lawsuit.

SB 358 also restated and emphasized that employees in California cannot be prevented from discussing their compensation.  This has always been the law, but SB 358 reinforces this mandate.