3 Things To Know About The Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act

Pay and overtime issues May 7th, 2024
equal pay and anti retaliation act man seated at desk being pointed to equal pay and anti retaliation act man seated at desk being pointed to

Has your employer retaliated against you for doing something you are legally allowed to do? You should know about California’s new Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act.

California law allows workers to engage in certain conduct and even protects their rights to engage in this conduct without fear of retaliation from their employers. While most employers do not retaliate against workers unfairly or illegally, some do – and the legal system used to make it hard for employees to prove their claims of retaliation.

Fortunately, a new law now makes it easier for California workers to initiate retaliation claims against their employers. Signed into law in October of 2023, Senate Bill (SB) 497 amends previous labor codes and took effect in January 2024 as the Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act.

Top 3 Things You Need to Know about California’s Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act (SB 497)

  • Employers cannot retaliate against workers for engaging in protected activities.

A protected activity is one that you, as a worker, have the legal right to engage in.

Examples of protected activities include:

  • Threatening to file or filing a complaint or claim with the Labor Commissioner
  • Reporting safety code violations
  • Taking time off from work to appear as a witness in court or serve on a jury
  • Telling people how much money you earn or talking about your wages
  • Trying to use or using sick leave to take care of your sick child or the child of your domestic partner, or an ill parent, spouse, or domestic partner
  • Engaging in the political activity of your choice
  • For complaining about safety or health conditions or practices in your workplace

      2. If the adverse action occurred within 90 days of the protected action, it could be a strong evidence of retaliation.

According to previous codes, a worker had to present evidence of their employer’s illegal retaliation before a judge would allow the case to move forward. The employer would then have a chance to state whatever legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for taking action against the worker, and the employee would then have a chance to respond.

The new law allows the courts to assume that the employer retaliated against an employee if that worker faced discipline or was fired within 90 days of engaging in a protected activity and shift the burden to the employer to prove otherwise. In legal terms, this is known as “rebuttable presumption of retaliation.” It makes it easier for workers to move forward with their potential case.

      3. The employer may have to pay money as a civil penalty.

Employers may have to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 per employee, per violation. The employee or employees who were retaliated against receive this money. When assessing this penalty, the Labor Commissioner weighs the seriousness of the retaliation by reviewing the evidence.

Do You Have Questions About Your Rights On The Job In California? Contact Your Employment Attorneys At D.Law!

California workers have the right to engage in specific protected activities without fear of retaliation. If your employer has retaliated against you, contact or call D.Law. Our employment lawyer represents workers just like you who have been the victim of retaliation from an employer in the Bay Area, San Diego, Fresno, Los Angeles, and other California cities.

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