Hare: Gender Pay Gap a National Disgrace
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, today voted for 2 bills to help ensure pay equity between men and women.
The Paycheck Fairness Act will strengthen the Equal Pay Act and close loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay. It gives women the same access to recover back pay and damages as victims of other types of pay discrimination. It also protects employees who discuss pay information from retaliation by their employers.
The Lilly Ledbetter Act is named for a woman who worked for nearly two decades at Goodyear. She sued the company when she learned that she was the lowest-paid supervisor at her plant, despite having more experience than several of her male counterparts. A jury found that her employer had unlawfully discriminated against her on the basis of sex. However, the Supreme Court said that Ledbetter had waited too long to sue for pay discrimination. This legislation would clarify that every paycheck from an earlier discriminatory pay decision constitutes a violation of the Civil Rights Act. As long as workers file their charges within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck, their charges would be considered timely.
"The election of Barack Obama was a watershed moment for our nation in its struggle against discrimination," Hare said. "Yet even as we elect our first black President, women still only make 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man for the same work. This is a national disgrace."
"The opposition to these bills by big business is laughable," Hare added. "If you don't practice pay discrimination, this will not affect you. If you deny women equal pay for equal work, you will face the consequences. That is as it should be."