Don't Let Salary History Hold You Back
California law prohibits employers from asking applicants about their prior salary. Employers also cannot use an applicant's salary history to determine whether to offer them a job or how much to pay them.
Employers may ask how much you'd "like" to make. Ask for what you actually want, and no less than any other new hires with the same position and qualifications.
An End to Salary Secrecy
The Equal Pay Act gives you the right to ask your co-workers about their wages without being retaliated against. Policies that prohibit employees from discussing wages are illegal and subject to penalties. Nonetheless, many employers continue to expressly prohibit or strongly discourage employees from discussing their wages.
Why would employers discourage employees from discussing wages? While these prohibitions don't always mean your employer is hiding a wage gap, transparency is shown to help significantly in increasing wage equity at companies.
What to Do If You Think Your Employer is Hiding a Wage Gap
If you believe your company may be concealing a wage gap, do your best to informally gather information, with the knowledge that retaliation against you is illegal. Document any retaliation as it happens.
Prepare a list of employees with similar jobs to yours, whether or not they have the same title. List their names, responsibilities, title, and gender, race, ethnicity, or other protected status, along with their salaries (if known). You will want this information to talk to your employer or to make a legal claim later on if necessary.
Some employers will fix unequal wages when confronted with information about their pay practices. Unfortunately, many employers refuse admit any wrongdoing or inequalities and may even retaliate against you for challenging the status quo.
You have rights. Our experienced equal pay attorneys can help you claim damages in court or arbitration. These cases are important in promoting pay equality and economic justice in California's workplaces.