A new law in California aims to give the strongest gender-equal-pay protection in the nation, but one woman thinks it will benefit trial lawyers the most.

The law takes effect January 1, 2016, and allows female employees to allege pay discrimination based on wages their employer pays to male employees with similar jobs. Meanwhile, employers will have to prove a man's higher pay is based on factors other than gender, and workers will have protection from discrimination and retaliation should they ask questions about how much other people earn.

While Governor Jerry Brown (D-California) and other supporters of the law are celebrating, Charlotte Hays, director of cultural programs at the Independent Women's Forum, thinks this is "a terrible law."

"It's going to cost jobs and it's going to lead to lots and lots of litigation,” she says. “It's not a good law – unless you happen to be a trial lawyer, and then it's terrific. Most of the discrepancy, when there is a discrepancy between what men and women are paid, has nothing to do with gender discrimination. It might be any sort of thing. Different people are paid differently."

Hays adds that employers in California will now be risking litigation by hiring a woman.

"It makes it harder to hire women, makes it more expensive to hire people period,” she points out. “It's just a disaster. Someone in the Wall Street Journal wrote: 'When it comes to economically foolish laws, California is second to none.' And of course a good example she cites is this very law."