California Sen. Isadore Hall Wants State’s Equal Pay Law to Include Race, Ethnicity

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CALmatters
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A state senator is looking to expand a new California law, which calls for equal pay between genders, to also include race and ethnicity.

Democratic Sen. Isadore Hall has made a proposal that asks racial discrimination to be a factor in what California workers earn from the job.

According to the Associated Press, Hall’s proposal would add “race or ethnicity” to the existing law that requires employers to justify gaps in pay between men and women who do “substantially similar” work. The current law was passed last year. It allows employees to discuss their earnings in the open. Employees can challenge discrepancies between gender income as well.

“No one should be paid less than what they’re worth, and no one should be discriminated against because of the hue of their skin or their gender,” said Hall to the AP. “This is the most robust racial equality bill in the nation.”

To ensure the bill would be passed, racial discrimination was purposely left out of the law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it is unlawful for any employer to “discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation…because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

In January, after previously making a memorandum for federal contractors, President Barack Obama enacted executive action that requires companies with 100 or more employees to disclose the amount of income employees receive based on ethnicity, race and gender, according to The Atlantic. The EEOC said the data would enable them to identify gaps in pay. After these discrepancies were pointed out, the office could assist employees in promoting equal compensation.

EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang said in a press release that “collecting pay data is a significant step forward in addressing discriminatory pay practices. This information will assist employers in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of our federal anti-discrimination law.”

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