Not only should workers in California expect equal pay for equal work, but there are laws in place to protect the rights of employees who are being discriminated against wage-wise. While there is widespread knowledge that women typically do not earn as much as their white male counterparts, there is also a big wage gap for those of a different race. 

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are numerous federal laws that are meant to protect against compensation discrimination. It states that job titles do not determine equal pay; rather, it is job content that establishes it. Factors involved in determining equal jobs include:

  • Skills and education required
  • Degree of responsibility
  • Mental or physical effort required
  • Working conditions such as hazards and physical surroundings 

These laws prohibit wage discrimination based on gender, color, race, religion, age or disability. However, when there is a lack of reporting offenses and enforcing the laws, it can be seen that wage gaps still exist.

NPR reports that even when they have the same experience and education as their white counterparts, black employees earn around 26% less. While the wage gap between whites and blacks has fluctuated up and down over the years, studies show that it is the biggest when the economy is weak because there are more employees to choose from and more of them are ok with a lower paying job than none at all. 

One recommended proposal to decrease wage discrimination for blacks and other minorities is to require employers to report wages according to gender, ethnicity and race.