Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Mythical ‘Pay Equity’ Crisis

Gerald  Skoning, a labor and employment lawyer in Chicago, writes at WSJ:
Democrats say we need another new federal statute to protect women because the existing panoply of federal and state laws prohibiting pay discrimination on the basis of gender are insufficient. Specifically, they have continued to press for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which according to its congressional sponsors would “provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.” In reality, this bill would expand litigation opportunities for class-action lawyers seeking millions of dollars from companies without ever having to prove that the companies intentionally discriminated against women.

The Paycheck Fairness Act instead is meant to address the fact that “on average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns,” as the Obama White House explains on its website. This is not a claim that any woman earns less than any man for the same work. Pay “disparities” between men and women generally reflect other factors such as interrupting a career to raise children, the types of jobs men and women on average choose, the type of education they have (sociology vs. engineering), etc.

Since 1963 it has been unlawful under the federal Equal Pay Act for an employer to pay a female employee less than a male employee for equal work. Sex discrimination in wages is also prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For employees of federal contractors and subcontractors, Executive Order 11,246 prohibits gender-based pay discrimination.

Finally, 46 states have antidiscrimination statutes mandating equal pay for equal work. While the enforcement schemes of these laws vary from state to state, the remedies those statutes provide are comparable to those available under federal laws.

Today, the Equal Pay Act and Title VII provide a woman who prevails on her wage discrimination claim a virtual smorgasbord of effective remedies. They include, but aren’t limited to, back pay, attorneys’ fees, injunctive relief, prejudgment interest, $300,000 in punitive and compensatory damages, an additional $10,000 in penalties, and a prison sentence of up to six months for an employer who willfully violates the law

1 comment:

  1. The more time goes on, the more full of sh*t the federal government becomes. As the empire dies....