Since 2015, pay gap disclosure has been front and center on the activist shareholder proposal landscape from an employment and workforce perspective. Following closely on the heels of tragic events of last summer and the significant advancement of the Black Lives Matter movement, activist shareholder groups have pivoted away from proposals requiring disclosures of pay gap statistics and are instead focused on other dimensions of internal diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”). These initiatives seek more broad-based disclosure of whether and how companies are managing gender and racial disparities in representation – including, for example, in the boardroom and at senior management levels within an organization. Combined with recent rule changes at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) with respect to required Human Capital Management disclosures, public companies should prepare for how they will respond to proposals seeking different and new disclosures regarding steps they are taking to expand and maintain diversity within their workforces.
The State of New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights (“DCR”) recently issued new Guidance on the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). The EPA, which took effect July 1, 2018, was already the most sweeping equal pay legislation in the nation by strengthening already existing equal pay protections found in the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). As Governor Murphy announced on March 2, 2020, the Guidance goes even further and “make[s] clear our intentions to eliminate discriminatory pay practices in the Garden State that have historically prevented women and other marginalized groups from earning their fair share.” READ MORE
There is a trend of regulations being put into place prohibiting prospective employers from asking questions about an applicant’s recent or current compensation. “What’s your salary?” has become a no-no in job interviews in several states (including Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Delaware and Oregon). New York City passed legislation in April 2017. California’s Governor just signed a new law making prior salaries a thing of the past. San Francisco has become the latest city to prohibit employers from asking job applicants to disclose their salary history effective July 1, 2018. READ MORE
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.