Pay Secrecy Is Illegal in California - Manneliasem
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Pay Secrecy Is Illegal in California

Did you know pay secrecy is illegal in California? Speaking about salaries has traditionally been taboo or a discouraging part of company culture. Most employers prefer employees avoid sharing information about how much they make in an attempt to save the company money.

In 2015, the California Equal Pay Act was passed to expand anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Like the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and California Labor Code, it safeguards employees and independent contractors from getting underpaid for the same role as their colleagues. Wage and hour attorneys would tell you it is illegal for an employer to:

  • Ask that you refrain from disclosing information about your wages as a term of your contractual agreement.
  • Ask that you sign a waiver that prohibits you from speaking about how much you make on the premises.
  • Formally reprimand or discriminate against workers who talk about their wages.

Employers could no longer retaliate against those who felt they had been doing something right. Pay secrecy policies furthered wage discrimination among different racial groups, genders, and other protected classes. 

California is among the few states that make pay secrecy illegal. However, it is still likely to happen in hostile workspaces. According to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), nearly half of workers in the U.S. must still abide by this rule – despite long-standing federal and state policies. And most companies are never held accountable because employees fear the legal repercussions.

Affected groups – predominately women and minorities – were at the highest disadvantage. According to BBC, they often face more challenges when it comes to fair pay—not being able to converse with others furthered this discrepancy. 

If the company you work for is still fostering this environment, it’s best to reach out to a labor attorney for employees. At Mann & Elias, we will provide the legal defense you need to protect your rights.

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