SB 497 Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act, effective January 1, 2024, reinforces existing laws that prohibit employers from discriminating or taking adverse actions against employees engaged in protected conduct. This includes activities such as filing complaints, participating in investigations, or exercising their rights under various labor laws. The Act increases penalties for employers found guilty of retaliation for disclosing information to government agencies or testifying in investigations. Employers may now face liabilities of up to $10,000 per employee for each violation.
Beyond retaliation protections, the law strengthens the principle of equal pay for substantially similar work, regardless of gender or race/ethnicity. It also protects employees from retaliation for disclosing their wages, discussing wages with colleagues, or inquiring about another employee’s wages.