There used to be a time when employees only discussed and compared wages with each other in hushed tones and away from their bosses. That’s no longer the case. Employers can’t prohibit employees from discussing their hourly wages or salary.
This overall move toward pay transparency has brought about new laws throughout the country (and as of the start of this year, California) that require employers to provide more information about pay in a number of scenarios.
What does the law require of employers?
California’s new law requires any organization with at least 15 employees to list the pay range for any job opening it lists. That includes internal job postings as well as external ones (such as job search sites and publications). They also have to provide current employees with this information about their own job if they request it.
The purpose of this and similar laws is to minimize the likelihood that an employer will offer someone less than the minimum amount in the salary range for a job if they think they’ll accept it. It should also make it less likely that they’ll pay someone they particularly want to hire more than that range to get them to accept the job.
The law also has some provisions requiring employers who have a significant number of workers recruited through agencies or working as independent contractors to report the pay of these employees by race, ethnicity and gender to a state agency. This is an effort to reduce pay inequities that most often affect women, people of color and women of color in particular.
The new law can help more applicants and employees determine whether they’re being paid a fair wage and give them needed evidence for taking the matter up with their employer or reporting a business or other organization that’s not complying with this and other laws. If you believe you have a case, it’s a good idea to seek legal guidance.