Sorry, ladies, but the Paycheck Fairness Act is no more. Senate Republicans filibustered the bill and Senate Democrats fell two votes short of the 60 needed to put it to an up-or-down vote.
Generally speaking, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed in the House of Representatives in 2009, would have made it easier to seek damages over pay discrimination based on gender. The Paycheck Fairness Act also would have ensured employees aren’t retaliated against for seeking out info about what their colleagues get in their paychecks and would have created a new grant program to strengthen negotiation skills in girls and women.
Alas, it was not meant to be.Critics of the Paycheck Fairness Act, like Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), had fretted it would “lead to excessive litigation on to the small-business community,” thus endangering jobs. Others said that the fact that the bill would have limited employers’ basis for paying different wages was problematic. And of course, there was the “trial lawyers will love this!” contingent.
You can read a criticism of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which ran on the web site of the conservative/anti-feminist group, the Independent Women’s Forum.
The bill’s supporters — like President Obama, who called it a “common sense law” — said the Paycheck Fairness Act was a necessary step after the Equal Pay Act of 1963. (Likewise, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act also legislates equal pay. In 2007, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 on “Ledbetter vs. Goodyear,” regarding an Alabama woman who sued her former employer, Goodyear tires, for paying her less than her male colleagues) by arguing Ledbetter had not filed her charge of discrimination in a timely manner. The House and Senate responded by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act soon after.) Feminist groups had said the bill was necessary to close the wage gap between working women and their male counterparts, which is currently 77 cents to the dollar.
You can read a supportive opinion of the Paycheck Fairness Act by Heather Boushey, senior economist for the Center For American Progress, on liberal-leaning website Slate.com.
What are your thoughts on the Paycheck Fairness Act and the overall subject of equal pay? Keep it civil, dearies.