published on July 22, 2022 - 11:33 AM
Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.

A California Chamber of Commerce-identified “Job Killer” is still in play in Sacramento — and it’s leaving plaintiff’s attorneys salivating.

As seen in today’s print edition of The Business Journal, SB 1162 — proposed by Sen. Monique Limon (D-Goleta) — would authorize the publication of employer-reported pay data by sex, race, ethnicity and job category.

The state began reporting this data on employers with more 100 or more workers (without identifying them) in 2021 to comply with previous legislation. According to the CalChamber, at the time, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explicitly stated these reports are not useful for identifying pay disparities between two similarly situated workers.

SB 1162 seeks to publicize all of the data identifiable by individual companies “and add average wages for each job category by race and gender under the pretense that it would reveal gender and race-based pay disparities,” according to the CalChamber.

What this essentially does is open a smorgasbord of liability for employers that will encourage lawsuits and make hiring even more burdensome than it already is. It also subjects employers to a private right of action and penalties under the onerous Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

SB 1162 is more evidence that state government can and will use anything it can to demonize employers. The CalChamber is right to say this particular bill — which will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in a couple of weeks — “is a cynical and disingenuous manipulation of what the EEOC itself has acknowledged is not a reliable measure of pay disparities between similarly situated employees.”

Undoubtedly, these reports will be used to develop future legislation. SB 1162  goes further by proposing that employees publicly identify any labor contractors they contract with, with the express purpose of shaming employers for something that is not unlawful.

A similar 2017 bill, AB 1209, would have required the publication of data from employers on mean wage differentials between male and female employees. As noted by the CalChamber, in a Sacramento Business Journal article that year, a member of the plaintiff’s bar stated: “By posting this on the Secretary of State’s website, the government is basically giving us (plaintiff lawyers) the data we need to go in there and hammer companies.”

Gov. Brown vetoed that bill over justifiable concerns it “could be exploited to encourage more litigation than pay equity.”

Employers should mobilize to oppose SB 1162. For more information, visit the CalChamber here for a sample letter to send your representatives.

e-Newsletter Signup

Our Weekly Poll

Do you agree with a plan at Bullard High to restrict student access to their cell phones?
199 votes

Central Valley Biz Blogs

. . .