California Sen. Pat Bates (R- Laguna-Nigel) stands by her no vote on the Gender Pay Gap Transparency Act bill that recently passed an appropriations committee.  

“State and federal law already prohibits gender-based wage discrimination,” she told the Northern California Record. “I did not support AB 1209 because it could create a false impression of wage discrimination where none exists.”

Nonetheless, the amended bill, requiring employers with more than 500 employees to submit pay gap statistics to the secretary of state and them on a website, passed the committee by a 5-2 vote, with Bates and Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) casting the only no votes.

The bill has been recommended to the state senate for passage after the General Assembly previously passed the bill for companies with at least 250 employees. The senate version of AB 1209 would also eliminate the mandate that employers publish the information on their own websites.

Bates and Nielsen aren’t alone in their sharp criticisms of the bill. The California Chamber of Commerce and the nonpartisan grassroots watchdog group California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse have openly come out in opposition.

“The bill would subject businesses to unjustified public criticism and meritless lawsuits, which will increase costs for employers and consumers alike,” Bates said. “That is why I agree with the chamber of commerce that AB 1209 is a job killer.”

Set to take effect July 1, 2020, the measure would also require covered employers to make public on an annual basis the difference between the mean salary and median salary of male-exempt employees and female-exempt employees, including male board members and female board members.

Critics note the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already mandates that private employers of at least 100 staffers provide such statistical information through the submission of what’s known as an EEO-1 report.

The bill is sponsored by California legislators Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Jimmy Gomez (D-Riverside), Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) and Shirley Weber (D-San Diego).

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