Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Paycheck Fairness Act Dies Again in the Senate

   Equal pay
The Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 797, H.R. 1519, and S. 3220, a bill to amend the Equal Pay Act (that's Pres. Kennedy signing the EPA to the left) succumbed once again to a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Not surprising, but still disappointing to those of us who think the EPA and Title VII can't get at the causes of the gender wage gap. See here, here, and here for stories.

MM

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2012/06/paycheck-fairness-act-dies-again-in-the-senate.html

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Comments

Has anyone checked to make sure that Paul's head hasn't exploded? ;-)

Posted by: James Young | Jun 6, 2012 9:44:42 AM

I am OK, James. Thanks for checking. Not sure if you are referring here to the filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act or the Wisconsin Recall. If the latter, see my blog posting above this one.

Posted by: Paul M. Secunda | Jun 6, 2012 3:13:25 PM

Wisconsin, Paul. Actually, I was expecting it more of a few MSDNC hosts!

Posted by: James Young | Jun 6, 2012 8:27:56 PM

You forgot to mention that the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act is a poorly written piece of legislation, and it was blocked for real policy reasons.

I don't want my coworkers having access to my salary info, who can then post it on the internet and there is nothing my employer can do about it.

This legislation and its authors also boldly and un-apologetically tip the scales of justice so far toward plaintiffs. Nothing in here addresses actual gender pay gaps, and the EPA continues to provide a route to justice for those working women who are maliciously discriminated against.

The PFA makes it easier for anyone to sue an employer over any minute reason. Plain and simple.

Quit defending poor policy, just because the title makes you feel good about yourself.

Posted by: Adam S. | Jun 8, 2012 5:37:05 AM

Adam S., I'm not sure why you think that my analysis stopped at the title. I think that the provisions of these bills were promising: the pay equity studies, and the changes to the Equal Pay Act that require salary differences on the basis of sex to be bona fide reasons other than sex and based on factors that are job related and consistent with a business necessity would be real advantages to promotion of gender pay equity. Additionally, I'm in favor of allowing access to salary information. It's already available for public employees, and it doesn't seem to have injured them terribly.

Even better would be some kind of project to rationalize wages across industries to account for gender segregation in the work force and try to assess based on training, expertise, effort, etc. what particular jobs are really worth without regard to who in the main fills them. That's pollyanish, though.

Posted by: Marcia | Jun 10, 2012 8:09:24 AM

It also sounds a lot like "comparable worth" all over again, Marcia. Of course, to paraphrase Stalin, what really counts there is who's doin' the comparin'.

Posted by: James Young | Jun 10, 2012 11:57:44 AM

James, you are right that my pie-in-the sky version does sound like comparable worth, but the act didn't go quite that far. It didn't replace the language in the Equal Pay act tying pay to equal work rather than work of comparable value.

And in my reexamination just now, Adam S., the bill did provide that there would be no cause of action that would limit the ability of an employer to penalize a person with regular access to salary information as part of their job who revealed pay information that was not their own to a third party. That goes some way to your concern.

Posted by: Marcia | Jun 11, 2012 1:58:29 AM

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