Cloture Not Invoked
June 5, 2012(Key vote)
Title: Paycheck Fairness Act
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to invoke cloture on a bill that establishes additional penalties for violations of equal pay requirements in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Prohibits employers from paying a wage rate to employees of one sex that is lower than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility unless any of the following apply (Sec. 3):
The employer uses a seniority system to determine pay;
The employer uses a merit system to determine pay;
The employer uses a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality to determine pay; or
The employer bases pay on a “bona fide factor” other than sex, whereas existing law specified a “differential” other than sex.
Defines “bona fide factor” as follows (Sec. 3):
A factor that is not based upon or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation;
A factor that is job-related with respect to the position in question; and
A factor that is consistent with “business necessity.”
Specifies that the “bona fide factor” defense does not apply if the employee can demonstrate that there is an alternative employment practice that serves the same business purpose but does not produce a differential in compensation, and that the employer has refused to adopt such an alternative practice (Sec. 3).
Establishes the following penalties for violations of this bill (Sec. 3):
Compensatory damages; and
Punitive damages, if the employee can demonstrate that the employer acted with “malice” or “reckless indifference” and the employer is not the United States government.
Prohibits employers from firing an employee who has inquired about, discussed, or disclosed the wages of any other employee, whereas existing law did not prohibit employers from taking such action (Sec. 3).
Exempts employees who have access to salary information as part of their job duties and who disclose salary information to employees who do not have such access from the protections established by this bill (Sec. 3).
Exempts a business that is not engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, and whose annual gross volume of sales is less than $500,000, from the provisions of this bill (Sec. 11).
Establishes a grant program to provide funding for negotiation skills training programs for girls and women (Sec. 5).
Appropriates $15 million to the Department of Labor to carry out the provisions of this bill (Sec. 10).
NOTE: INVOKING CLOTURE REQUIRES A 3/5 MAJORITY OF THE SENATE. IT IS NOT A VOTE ON THE PASSAGE OF THE PIECE OF LEGISLATION, BUT LIMITS FURTHER DEBATE TO 30 HOURS. CLOTURE IS TYPICALLY USED TO END A FILIBUSTER. A FAILED CLOTURE VOTE OFTEN PREVENTS THE LEGISLATION FROM EVER COMING TO A VOTE.