The Paycheck Fairness Act, an amendment to the Equal Pay Act, is currently before the U.S. Senate after having passed the House in January. Introduced by our own Rosa DeLauro, this bill will make it more difficult for employers to justify pay disparities between men and women. A great explanation of this imp0rtant bill can be found at themiddleclass.org.
Previously, employers could defend otherwise indefensible pay disparities by asserting that the differences were attributable to “any factor other than sex.” This catch-all defense was overused by defense attorneys and judges. This law would narrow that defense, making employers show that the other “factor” was job related, bona fide and related to business necessity.
Women should encourage their Senators to vote for this legislation, since women still make far less than men in comparable positions.
Like the FLSA, employees victimized under this law can bring actions “collectively” or as quasi-class actions. This new law may bring a new day and a new power to underpaid working women in America.