California continues to pace the nation in terms of equal pay protections, most recently through Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of Assembly Bill 168 on October 12, 2017. Effective January 1, 2018, California’s new law prohibits employers from asking job candidates about their prior salary, although it allows employers to consider prior salary information if a job candidate voluntarily discloses it. California’s law further contains an unprecedented provision that requires employers to disclose to job candidates the “pay scale” for the position at issue if the job candidate requests it. Governor Brown also signed Assembly Bill 46, which clarifies that the state’s equal pay laws apply to both private and public employers. READ MORE
Lauri Damrell, a partner in the Sacramento office, is a member of the Employment Law Group and focuses her practice on employment litigation and counseling.
Lauri has extensive experience in complex litigation and counseling involving wage-and-hour laws, independent contractors, exempt/non-exempt classifications, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and other employment regulations. She has also represented several clients before the EEOC, OFCCP, U.S. Dept. of Labor, IRS, California Dept. of Fair Employment & Housing, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and the Employment Development Department. Her clients have included Fortune 500 companies such as CVS, Microsoft, Oracle, Health Net, Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, US Bank, J.C. Penney, and Sears, as well as major retailers such as Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Levi Strauss & Co., Luxottica, Sears, Ace Hardware, Hallmark, and Vitamix.
Lauri is a thought leader on diversity in the workforce. California Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed her to serve as a Commissioner for the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. In connection with her work on the Commission, she has partnered with the California Labor Commissioner to establish the California Pay Equity Task Force, which aims to engage diverse interests and find common ground in determining how to implement California’s new equal pay law and close the gender pay gap. Lauri has published articles on diversity in the National Law Journal, the American Bar Association Journal on Labor and Employment Law, Corporate Counsel, Law360, Bloomberg BNA, American Lawyer and others. She also presents frequently on these issues and was recently invited to speak at the U.S. Capitol regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Posts by: Lauri Damrell
The California legislature is poised to continue its trailblazing streak of equal pay legislation with a new pay gap reporting bill. If approved and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, AB 1209 would add Section 2810.7 to the California Labor Code and require certain large employers to report pay gap statistics on an annual basis beginning in 2019. READ MORE
Just less than a year ago, California adopted the Fair Pay Act (“FPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2016 and created some of the strongest equal pay protections in the nation. On September 30, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills that expand the law even further.
Orrick partner Lauri Damrell collaborated with California Labor Commissioner Julie Su on a recent Op Ed column for the San Jose Mercury News outlining their joint efforts in California to address the gender pay gap. Damrell and Su are both members of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and their column discussed their recent launch of the California Pay Equity Task Force to encourage more collaboration between employers and employees in finding solutions to the high-profile issue.
As we noted in a previous post, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016 (“Equal Pay Act”) into law on May 19, 2016 (effective on October 1, 2016). With the passage of this new law, Maryland joins New York and California in the category of states with some of the country’s most expansive equal pay protections. Included below are our updated maps of states with equal pay protections and of states with equal pay protections and states with pending equal pay legislation.
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of “Equal Pay Day,” which the National Committee on Pay Equity launched as a public awareness event in 1996 to symbolize how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. In more than 50 years since enactment of the federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), women have made significant progress in the workplace and now make up roughly half of the American workforce. However, women working full time still earn, on average, 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, and this number has barely moved in over a decade. That said, it is still not clear that employer bias is to blame for the gap that remains. Indeed, the pay gap measures only the difference in average earnings between all men and all women; it is not a proxy for pay bias—i.e., the failure to pay women equal pay for equal work. Eliminating pay bias is important, but focusing heavily on perceived employer bias obscures a much more complex web of factors contributing to the problem of pay differences between men and women.
Three months after the California Fair Pay Act took effect on January 1, 2016, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) has issued answers to FAQs about the new law, which by all counts is the most employee-friendly equal pay law in the nation. But for California employers who anxiously have been awaiting official guidance on the Act’s many new terms and standards, the FAQs provide little satisfaction. Rather, they focus more on informing employees on how to bring a claim. Nor has the DLSE otherwise spoken publicly about how it plans to enforce the new law; instead, the agency appears to be taking its time and exercising caution as it potentially sets the stage for the rest of the nation.