When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, proponents foresaw a future where men and women working in the same jobs would be paid the same wages. At the time, statistics showed that women earned about 59 cents to the dollar for the same work that a man did. It’s a half a century later and have we reached the point where there’s no discrimination in pay between men and women? In a word—no.
Research conducted over the last year indicates that the average working woman in America earns about 78 cents for every dollar a man earns doing the same work. That amounts to a little over $10,000 every year of the average wage-earning woman. The consequences? Women are more likely to work two jobs than men, and more than twice as many single mothers live in poverty than single fathers (29% vs. 13%).
In an attempt to address what are perceived to be loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced in the Senate in both 2009 and 2011, and was reintroduced in 2013. The proposed bill mandates that the Department of Labor implement a number of specific measures, including:
The law would allow workers to share pay information, and protect them from any retaliatory action if they so share wage information. The bill would also allow a woman to seek punitive damages in a lawsuit for violation of the Equal Pay Act.
Thus far, the bill has yet to make it to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has been the victim of workplace discrimination. Call us at 516-873-9550 or 212-661-4370 (toll-free at 1-800-585-4658) or send us an e-mail to schedule a meeting.