This post will explain the California gender discrimination law as it pertains to paid rest breaks and what employers must comply with. California is one of the strictest states when it comes to gender-based discrimination. This is because it is illegal to discriminate against any protected class, including gender. To ensure everyone is treated fairly, the state has enacted a comprehensive set of laws that govern how employers must treat their employees. One such law is the California Gender Discrimination Law, which requires employers to provide their employees with equal access to protections, such as paid rest breaks.
However, what exactly does this law mean and how does it affect employers? In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the California Gender Discrimination Law and explain how it affects employers. We’ll provide insight from an experienced employment lawyer who will outline the key aspects of this law and how it can impact employers who don’t comply. We’ll then conclude with some tips on how employers can ensure they are following the law. So join us as we take a closer look at the California Gender Discrimination Law and explore what it means for employers.
Gender Discrimination in California and across the Country: A Comparative Look at the Top Companies
Let’s look at some facts and figures. Across the country, women earn 79 cents for every dollar that men earn in comparable positions. And California is not that much better. Women earn 86 cents for every dollar that men earn in comparable positions. That’s terrible. But it gets far worse when you look at the higher-paid positions. Across the top twenty-five hundred companies in the nation, women occupy only 3% of the CEO positions.
While that number is expected to rise, it’s still not going to be anywhere close to fair anytime soon. When you look at termination statistics, women are 10 percent more likely to be fired than their male counterparts. And it’s even worse when you actually look at some of the more ambiguous stuff. Women are much less likely to be promoted than their male counterparts, and they’re punished far more severely than men for infractions or perceived infractions. All of this goes to show that gender discrimination is alive and well in California and across the country.
Fair Employment and Housing Act in California
Now let’s look at the law and some violations. California has had the Equal Pay Act on the books for decades. That law basically says that it is unlawful for an employer to pay women less than men for equal work. That’s all fine and dandy; the problem with that law is the way it was written. It was very easy for employers to escape liability by pretending like they didn’t make those decisions based on their gender. In 2015, California did a wonderful thing and added an amendment to it that altered a lot of that statutory language to allow women to prove their case. But that is still only a complement to the main anti-discrimination law in California.
That is the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Fair Employment and Housing Act can be found in Governmental Code Section 12940(a), which says: “It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to take an adverse employment action against an employee due to gender. What does that mean? That means employers are not allowed to fire employees because of their gender. Not allowed to demote them, refuse to promote them, refuse to hire them, punish them, harass them, and so on and so forth. Employers are not allowed to make employment decisions that are adverse to an employee’s interests because of gender. That’s it. Very simple! In Title VII, the federal law, the one that applies across the country, is substantially the same; however, there are caps on damages, and California’s are much more favorable. forum, so 99 times out of 100 in California, we would pursue a case under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Well, what do these cases really look like? What does gender discrimination look like? There are two general types: first of all, there’s disparate treatment, and then there’s disparate impact. Let’s talk about disparate treatment first. That is where an employer, a boss, or a supervisor has a bad motive against a particular employee. That manager makes a decision, such as to fire someone or refuse to hire them because the victim is female. Or is he male? If you want to look at the reverse scenario where a female supervisor decides to fire someone because of his gender, It works both ways (the more common violation, of course, is men treating women poorly).
Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact
So it’s about motives against a particular person. Disparate impact, on the other hand, is all about statistics. It’s about when a group of people at an employer are treated poorly or paid less because of their gender. So, for example, let’s say you work at a massive company, and they have a thousand people who have the exact same job title. Five hundred of them are women, and five hundred of them are men. When you look at it statistically, if men earn more money for the same position and equal work than women, then you’ve proven that on a statistical basis. It’s not based on motive.
So disparate treatment and disparate impact are two different types of cases. By far and away the most common one is disparate treatment, where a particular female calls an employment lawyer because she has been treated poorly, or a couple females call an employment lawyer because they have been treated poorly, fired, not paid properly, or whatever, because of bad motives. Now, although I’m not really talking about it, in California it is unlawful to harass somebody because of their gender. I made an entire video about sexual harassment. There’s also an entire video about hostile work environments. Harassment is discussed more in detail there. But I would be remiss not to mention that you cannot harass an employee due to gender either.
Economic Damages Caused by Discrimination
If you are the victim of gender discrimination, there are multiple financial remedies that are available to you if you hire an employment lawyer. First and foremost, lost wages We lawyers say “economic damages.” That’s the money that you were earning but aren’t earning anymore, or that you should have earned but never did.
Let me give you the following hypothetical: Let’s pretend that you were making $80,000 a year at your job, yet your male counterparts in the same position are earning $100,000 a year. Well, you are making $80, but you should have been making a hundred because that’s what the males were earning. Well, if you go and complain to your boss about the discrimination, or what you think is discrimination, and then they fire you, well, you’re not making anything now. Those are tangible economic losses that a jury and the judge can measure. Next up on our list is reinstatement. Often times, in gender discrimination cases, reinstatement is thrown around because a lot of women just want to go back to their jobs and they just want to be paid fairly for their jobs. But what’s more common in these cases are what we call emotional distress damages.
These are damages for the pain and suffering that somebody goes through as a result of being discriminated against due to their gender. The same is true in a race case or in an age case. These damages can often be the largest component of these gender discrimination cases. They’re not to be minimized, and they’re very real. A lot of people experience severe emotional distress in these California gender discrimination cases. Attorney fees: because California is the greatest state in the Union, if you prevail in your gender discrimination lawsuit, you can win attorney fees as well as your underlying damages. And they typically don’t go to the client; they typically go to the attorneys.
But the point is that they often force cases into early settlement discussions because the weight of attorney fees can be greater than the underlying case itself. Finally, punitive damages Everybody’s heard about punitive damages because the damages are meant to punish the defendant for such atrocious behavior and deter them from doing it again. Well, those are; everybody’s heard about them; they’re relatively rare. And they’re very difficult to win because you have to prove your case with malice, oppression, or fraud. None of which are easy to do. All told, these represent the remedies that somebody would get if they were successful in proving their gender discrimination case. I hope this video has been helpful. Take care