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What will the New Year bring for the workplace?

December 31, 2016


What will the new year bring for the workplace?  Because of the new president and his supporters, more discriminatory and harassing behavior likely will appear in the workplace.  Therefore, both employees and employers should be more attentive.  If employees are experiencing discrimination or harassment, they should be watchful that their employers are taking prompt and appropriate steps to prevent any further such treatment.  Employers should take care to ensure they are aware of any discrimination and harassment occurring in their workplace and follow their written procedures to take the proper steps once they become aware of it.

Although 2016 was disappointing for many, it did bring some helpful clarifications for both employees and employers.

A few of those clarifications should result in further protection from wage discrimination:


  • An amendment to Labor Code section 1197.5 makes clear that "prior salary cannot, by itself, justify a wage differential under Section 1197.5 of the Labor Code."  The goal is to help employers and workers negotiate salaries based on "the requirements, expectations, and qualifications of the person and the job in question," rather than on an individual’s prior earnings, which may reflect "widespread, longstanding, gender-based wage disparities in the labor market."

  • Another amendment to Labor Code section 1197.5 added a prohibition of wage differentials due to race or ethnicity for substantially similar work.

These changes should provide more specificity and guidance on employer obligations as to employees' pay.


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