In California, labor laws protect women from workplace harassment or discrimination by employers on the basis of pregnancy. Pregnancy discrimination occurs when a pregnant employee or job applicant receives less favorable treatment because they are pregnant or may someday become pregnant. Retaliation laws are in place to protect anyone who reports or opposes any pregnancy-related discriminatory workplace practices, even if they are not a direct victim of the unlawful conduct.
In our first article, we discussed the steps California has taken to ensure equal pay for equal work and what managers and executives need to do to stay compliant with these laws in California. However, in the entertainment industry as well as other venues (even sometimes law firms), equal work can be difficult to define or prove, as highly skilled and creative individuals carve out specialized roles within the industry.
For years we have fought for gender equality on all levels of employment. From equal pay to equal opportunity in hiring, there are many fronts on which we seek gender equality. However, one experience is unlikely to be available to all genders, at least in this lifetime: pregnancy.
The gender wage gap is real. In short, women earn less than men for doing the same work. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gender wage gap in California has ranged between 10% and 17% over the last 20 years.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a slate of pro-employee legislation into law in the past month, including critical freelancer/independent contractor and family leave laws. In addition, businesses with more than 100 employees are now required to report data on salary by gender and race to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, providing more transparency into the wage gap.