Originally published October 29 2015
California now meddling with employee pay, accelerating mass exodus of employers out of the state
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The ruling Democrats in the deep blue state of California seem forever intent on "out-liberaling" themselves, always failing to understand the very real consequences they create for state residents when they govern by ideology instead of pragmatism.
Recently, it was the state's authoritarian move to ban parental choice and order all school-aged children to be vaccinated. Now, we have the state's new "equal-pay" law, which Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed recently. Billing it as the "nation's toughest" law of its kind, Brown's signing drew raucous applause from the usual suspects — but also from the vast flock of sheep comprising the majority of the California electorate who have no idea what is coming next.
As reported by the Washington Times, the California Fair Pay Act supposedly strengthens the existing equal-pay law by banning employers from paying any employee less than what their opposite sex counterparts are earning for "substantially similar work," not simply "equal work" — a definition that is far more subjective and, thus, more susceptible to interpretation and litigation. In addition, the law prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who might seek to raise his or her pay under its provisions.
"Sixty-six years after passage of the California Equal Pay Act, many women still earn less money than men doing the same or similar work," Brown said. "This bill is another step toward closing the persistent wage gap between men and women."
New law an invitation to litigationHowever, critics say the new law will be just another reason for businesses to relocate outside of a state they say is already too heavily regulated with foolhardy laws and rules that address "problems" that simply do not exist. They say the new law has major implications for Hollywood as well, since that liberal bastion has previously been outed as being notorious for paying female actors less than their male counterparts.
But it doesn't matter. Progressive Kool-Aid drinkers are already parroting their support. Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, an activist group, praised the new law; the conservative California Political Review's Stephen Frank, however, was less than enthused.
What's worse is that the law is based on flawed research — a study that liberal progressives want to be right so they have just accepted it as gospel truth. The Times reported:
"The National Partnership for Women & Families reported last year that California women make 84 cents for every dollar earned by men, but free market advocates have disputed the wage gap, arguing that it all but disappears when factoring in career choice, years worked, part-time versus full-time hours and other measures."
In other words, any wage gap is the fault of women themselves because of their life and career decisions.
More businesses might say goodbye to the Golden StateRichard Epstein, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, said the new law is "crazy," adding that it would only worsen California's economic woes via the creation of an "administrative quagmire" that ultimately will lead companies to either move out of state or dramatically reduce their presence.
"The asymmetrical outcomes are likely to distort labor markets further, and to give firms a strong incentive to expand their businesses elsewhere and even to transfer existing work out of the state," Epstein, a New York University Law School professor, said in an October 1 post on his Hoover blog, as cited by the Times.
And there is this: Since the law's underpinnings are the result of a skewed study that is being misinterpreted to "confirm" preconceived beliefs, it may actually create an environment where businesses become more reluctant to even hire women.
The California Chamber of Commerce initially opposed the legislation, but changed its view after negotiating with state Democrats. Nevertheless, Epstein says the measure will "absolutely" further chill the California economic and business climate.
"The business guys are playing rope-a-dope," he told the Times. "They think they can withstand this, they've got enough in there so that every case can be contested, but there's not enough in there so that any case can be cleanly won. Absolutely, it's a disaster."
The real winners in all of this are lawyers. Oh, and Texas, where most California businesses leaving the state tend to wind up.
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