Paycheck Fairness Act (2015)
The Feminist Majority SUPPORTS this Bill.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would help close the gender wage gap by enhancing the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Currently, women, on average, earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by a white male. Black women earn only 64 cents for every dollar and Latinas earn only 54 cents. The Paycheck Fairness Act would broaden remedies for pay discrimination on the basis of sex, strengthen enforcement measures, and prohibit retaliation against employees.
Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would:
- Allow plaintiffs to receive not only compensatory damages but also punitive damages if employers are found to have committed sex-based pay discrimination. Plaintiffs in wage discrimination cases based on race or ethnicity can already win punitive damages, but plaintiffs in sex-based wage discrimination cases cannot ask courts for punitive damages even when an employee demonstrates that an employer acted with malice or reckless indifference.
- Permit plaintiffs to file class action lawsuits in equal pay cases.
- Force employers to demonstrate that any pay difference is not based on sex or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation.
- End “pay secrecy” by prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who discuss wages. A 2014 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that about half of all workers (51 percent of women and 47 percent of men) are discouraged, prohibited, and/or punished for discussing their wage and salary information.
- Require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to collect compensation, and other employment-related, data by sex, race, and national origin of employees.
- Mandate training of EEOC employees and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs on issues involving wage discrimination.
- Create a grant program for girls and women to help provide training on negotiating skills.
- Direct the Secretary of Labor to conduct studies and provide information to employers, labor organizations, and the general publicon ways to eliminate pay discrimination.
Chief Sponsor: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) plus 14 original cosponsors
Chief Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) plus 184 original cosponsors