California has always prohibited employers from paying employees less than other employees of the opposite sex for equal work. This applies to employers of any size, compared to some laws that apply only after a company has reached a certain number of employees.
On January 1st, the California Fair Pay Act became effective. The Act shifts the burden of proof more to an employer for proving it didn't discriminate. There are essentially less defenses for the employer should an action be taken against it.
More documentation about pay decisions appears prudent from what I'm reading and hearing in seminars. I'm paying close attention to this development, given our firm's advisement role in compensation decisions for our clients.
For me, many practical questions are raised with the Act. What about smaller employers who may not have many people in the same role? Does the role need to be exactly the same? Would market compensation be a factor? Stay tuned for our upcoming detailed blog on this topic. We'll provide more commentary and check in with a labor attorney as well.
One clear change is that you can't prohibit your employees from talking about pay. Take a look at your policies on this one.
For now, you can learn more here at the California Department of Industrial Relations website.