California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill, Tuesday, that intends to end the pay gap between Californian men and women. Those who were largely in favor of the bill promoted it as the strongest bill of its kind in the nation.
The LA Times reports that the idea was produced by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, after a civil rights group presented a study that found that California women, in full time jobs, made an average of 84 cents for every dollar made by men, in 2013.
During a signing ceremony for the bill, Governor Brown described the measure as “a very important milestone” and that it would help bring a greater level of equality to the state.
The law, known as The California Fair Pay Act, is an addition to existing laws, which prevent employers from paying any employee’s wages less than the wages of workers of the opposite sex, for similar work, rather than equal work, or identical job title.
The new addition will allow employees to file formal complaints against work sites, even if it is not the exact work site they are employed at. This allows employees to contest wages that are lower than that at another store, owned by the same company.
The provisions also allow for employees to ask about and discuss wages of coworkers, and clarifies language in regards to discrimination, without fear of retaliation. A clause was added, giving cause of legal action, in cases of retaliation.
In the event of legal action, an employer being sued by an employee would have to prove that a difference in wages is due to a job-related reason, such as merit or tenure, rather than gender. The bill is thought by many as a way to level the playing field, in regards to gender pay gaps.