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Rothman, Democratic Congress Vote to End Pay Discrimination

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Rothman, Democratic Congress Vote To End Pay Discrimination

Today, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) voted in favor of a pair of bills that will equip working women with a greater ability to challenge gender-bias in compensation. H.R. 11, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and H.R. 12, the Paycheck Fairness Act, both passed the U.S. House of Representatives early this afternoon by votes of 247 to 171, and 256 to 163 respectively.

"From the general store to General Motors, women are still earning an average of only 78 cents on the dollar compared with their male co-workers," said Rothman. "These bills will give women who face injustice the tools they need to fight back in court, and ensure their arguments are given full attention by our legal system."

The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—named for a woman who sued her employer upon learning she earned significantly less than her male counterparts—overturns a Supreme Court decision that allows employers to cheat their employees out of fair pay, as long as their deceit is not discovered within six months. The bill restores the law to its original intent: Each and every time an employer issues a paycheck for an amount determined solely by gender, that paycheck can be used against them in court.

The Paycheck Fairness Act provides further layers of protection for women facing wage discrimination. The bill broadens the types of damages that women can seek in court, while updating the standards that their employers must meet when attempting to justify lower wages for female employees.

Congressman Rothman has long been a champion of labor protections and pay equity for women. During the previous Congress, he co-sponsored and voted in favor of both the Lily Ledbetter and Paycheck Fairness acts, which passed the House but stalled in the U.S. Senate. Now, with expanded democratic majorities in the House and Senate and the strong support of the incoming President, he expects that these protections for working women will be finally be signed into law. "All through last year's presidential elections, we were inspired by President-Elect Obama's call for change we can believe in," said Rothman. "For the Democratic Congress to strike a real blow for women's rights immediately out of the gate is a true example of that change, and a very encouraging sign of things to come."

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