Bet Tzedek is strongly supporting two important pieces of legislation:
California Fair Pay Act, SB 358 (Jackson) which would strengthen the state’s existing equal pay law by eliminating loopholes that prevent effective enforcement and empowering employees to discuss pay without fear of retaliation,
Enforcement of Employee Claims, AB 970 (Nazarian) which will substantially strengthen the Labor Commissioner’s ability to cite unscrupulous employers engaged in wage theft.
Clients of our Employment Rights Project know the need for this legislation all too well. Our advocates see on a daily basis how the pay disparity affects women’s everyday lives. Over 66 percent of our clients are low-income women, often women of color and single women living with children. The ERP team regularly represents women who are not only paid below the minimum wage, but even within that setting are paid far less than their underpaid male counterparts. In this context, any disparity in pay can be the difference in whether or not they can make rent or buy groceries.
Here in Los Angeles, the wage theft capital of the nation, employers illegally deduct from workers’ wages for tools and equipment necessary to their employment even though this practice is a clear violation of state law. Yet, the state Labor Commissioner currently lacks the authority to cite employers for this routine practice. AB 970 would correct that — and it would grant the Labor Commissioner the ability to issue citations for employers’ failure to meet local minimum wage requirements.
These two important pieces of legislation will make a difference in the lives of many of our clients. Join us in supporting them — and these bills.