California Wage Gap Disclosure Bill Vetoed by Governor Brown

October 20, 2017

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill that would have required large employers to report the wage gap between men and women for every job category and for board members because it "could be exploited to encourage more litigation than pay equity."  The surprise veto of AB-1209, which also would have required the wage information for each employer to be posted on the California Secretary of State's website, came just before the governor's deadline to sign or veto bills this year.  Gov. Brown also noted in his veto statement that the forthcoming guidance and recommendations from the state's Pay Equity Task Force will help companies in California assess their current wage practices.  However, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D), who sponsored the legislation, said "we are far from done," and plans to reintroduce the legislation next year.  Separately, Gov. Brown, who has one more year of his term, signed into law a state-wide ban (AB-168) on employer inquiries into an individual's salary history that will take effect on January 1, 2018, and a ban-the-box bill (AB-1008) that bars employers from asking about a job applicant's criminal conviction history before offering a job.  Laws banning salary history inquiries have also been enacted in Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, Puerto Rico, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.  The Association's State and Local Committee recently held a conference call on the state actions, during which participants heard on-the-ground perspectives from Bruce Sarchet, a shareholder with Littler Mendelson in Sacramento and the California liaison for Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute, and Kate Bell, a lobbyist at Capitol Advocacy, also in Sacramento.  If you or your team would like to join the committee in order to participate in future calls, contact HR Policy's E.R. Anderson at eranderson@hrpolicy.org.