California Law Closes Gender Pay Gap, but Woes Remain

A new state law will help California women fight unfair pay practices, but other challenges remain.

A new state law will help California women fight the gender pay gap.

The law affords workers additional assurance of equal wages and protection from unequal wages.

On Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act, as it’s formally known, after the state Senate advanced the legislation to his desk via a unanimous final vote.

Brown says in a statement:

“Many women still earn less money than men doing the same or similar work. This bill is another step toward closing the persistent wage gap between men and women.”

The new law requires equal pay for employees who perform “substantially similar work,” regardless of their gender. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who invoke the law and protects employees who discuss wages, among other protections.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports, the federal government has started investigating allegations of another form of employment-related gender discrimination in Hollywood.

The newspaper reports that in a letter sent by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to female directors last week, the EEOC requested to schedule interviews with the women “so that we may learn more about the gender-related issues which you are facing in both the film and television industries.”

The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit various types of discrimination against job applicants and employees, including gender-based discrimination. It also has the authority to investigate claims of such discrimination.

The EEOC’s letter to female directors follows a request that the American Civil Liberties Union made in May, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Director of commercials and music videos Lori Precious, who received one of those letters, tells the newspaper:

“We were all hoping it would go this far. I’m so tired of hearing, ‘There aren’t qualified women.’ There are qualified women to do every directing job in Hollywood.”

What’s your take on the latest news about gender discrimination? Share your thoughts with us below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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