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AB 168: Is California Moving Toward Completely ‘Blind’ Hiring?

AB 168, introduced in January by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would prohibit California employers, including public sector employers, from requesting information about a job applicant’s salary history or benefits. The bill also would require private sector employers to provide salary information about the job to candidates upon request. Although this requirement does not apply to public employers, salary information for public employees falls under the disclosure requirements of the California Public Records Act.

AB 168 is part of an effort in California to address historic and structural impediments to gender equity. That effort includes amendments to California’s Equal Pay Act that went into effect in January 2016, which made it more difficult for employers to defend against claims of unequal pay based on gender. That legislation narrowed the category of “bona fide factors” that an employer can use to justify differences in pay for substantially similar work. In January of this year, a further change went into effect that prohibits employers from using pay history as the sole justification for disparities in pay.

Gina Roccanova, Chair of Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, authored an article in the Daily Journal which reviews AB 168 and recent amendments to California’s Equal Pay Act. Gina also explains how cases being brought under the federal Equal Pay Act appear to be moving in the opposite direction from California legislation, specifically focusing on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ April 27 decision in Rizo v. Yovino. Please click here to read Gina’s article.