U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) released the following statement in support of fair pay for women in the workplace after voting against S. 3220, a bill that would have imposed job-killing regulations on businesses:
"As a father and husband of women in the workforce, I believe strongly in fair pay, and employers who discriminate against women should be prosecuted aggressively. The bill before the Senate today was flawed and overreaching. It's the right cause but the wrong bill. On the heels of last week's dismal jobs report, the last thing we should be doing is putting more job-killing burdens on small businesses and employers. Instead, we should be focused on creating jobs for women who, like all Americans, have been negatively affected by the employment crisis."
Today, the Senate voted on cloture on the motion to proceed to S.3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2012, which failed to advance. The bill is identical to the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2010 (S. 3772) which also failed to advance in the Senate. Senator Brown voted against both measures.
Senator Brown strongly supports, and would have voted for, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which passed in 2009, shortly before he arrived in the Senate, because it ensures that women who may have unknowingly suffered discrimination over a long period of time can still to take their case to court.
Senator Brown believes that employers who discriminate against women should be prosecuted aggressively under the existing Equal Pay Act & Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Broad opposition to the identical Paycheck Fairness Act that was voted down in 2010:
The Boston Globe: Editorial: "Most problematically, it would alter the burden on businesses, requiring them to prove that any difference in pay is the result of a business necessity, and to demonstrate why they didn't adopt a plaintiff's suggested "alternative remedy' that wouldn't result in a pay gap. The bill would create too strong a presumption in favor of discrimination over other, equally plausible explanations for disparities in salaries. In addition, the threat of much higher damage awards by juries might lead businesses to make quick settlements for frivolous claims." (November 17, 2010)
The Washington Post: Editorial: The Paycheck Fairness Act "potentially invites too much intrusion and interference with core business decisions" and "risks tilting the scales too far against employers and would remove, rather than restore, a sense of balance." (January 15, 2009)
National Association of Manufacturers: "By removing all limits to punitive and compensatory damage awards on claims made under the Equal Pay Act, S. 3772 would expose employers to increased threats of litigation -- even when unintentional pay disparities may have occurred. Its passage would likely prompt many employers to purchase additional legal liability insurance, increasing their costs and decreasing their ability to raise wages, increase benefits or hire new workers. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the bill would not lead to lower wages and fewer jobs." (Letter to Senators, November 15, 2010)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "For example, the bill would permit plaintiffs to challenge otherwise legitimate employer pay decisions by showing that some other employment practice might achieve the same business purpose without creating the disparity. Further, the employment decision in question must also be proven to be required by "business necessity.' These provisions would open up compensation and employment decisions to limitless review by courts and juries and would ultimately lead to an inefficient, cumbersome, and costly salary-setting process. In addition, the bill would modify existing rules concerning collective actions, making it easier for plaintiffs' attorneys to mount class action suits." (Letter to Senators, November 15, 2010)
The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2012:
Would greatly restrict the ability of employers to pay competitively based on a variety of factors including performance, hazardous work, and local market rates.
Subjects employers to unlimited compensatory and punitive damages even if the discrimination was found to be unintentional.
Burdens employers by mandating reporting of unprecedented detailed compensation information to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).