Following unanimous passage by the California State Senate (38-0), the California Fair Pay Act—considered to be the toughest equal pay law in the country—will be voted on shortly by the California State Assembly. If passed and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the law would strengthen existing gender pay equity protections for workers and impose stiffer penalties for gender-based wage discrimination.

Among other things, the law would: (i) prohibit employers from paying different wage rates for “substantially similar work” (rather than identical job positions in the same establishment) except where the employer can demonstrate the difference is based on seniority, merit or work quantity or quality, (ii) prohibit retaliation against employees from discussing their wages or exercising their rights under the law; and (iii) impose a liquidated damages penalty in an amount equal to the damages suffered by an aggrieved employee.

The proposed law, which has support from state Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce, is directed at closing the pay differential between male and female employees (in California, a woman working full-time earns an average of 84 cents to every dollar that a man earns).​​​​​​​​