UPDATE: On July 31st, the House passed H.R. 1338 by a vote of 247-178 (Roll Call 556 ). Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), Ranking Member of the Education and Labor Committee, essentially single-handedly debated those in favor of this bill and he expressed many of our arguments in opposition to it. This bill's Senate counterpart (S. 766 ) has not yet made it through committee, but now that it has been passed by the House, it is expected to move after the August recess. Please contact your Senators' offices throughout the month of August and tell them why they should oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act!
July 30, 2008
"Comparable Worth" = Government Wage Control!
The House of Representatives is gearing up for a vote this week on a bill that would institute the longtime feminist dream of comparable worth. Decades ago, in order to address the so-called gender pay gap in America, the feminists invented the code words "comparable worth," "pay equity," and the elusive "glass ceiling." Contrary to feminist dogma, the gap is not created by a conspiracy of male chauvinists, but by the voluntary division of domestic labor. Clearly, a degree in education or women's studies simply doesn't earn the same pay as a degree in engineering or science, yet more women persist in choosing the former and more men the latter.
The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338), introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in the House and by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the Senate, would amend the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to allow for unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, even if a disparity in pay is determined to be unintentional. It would also require the Department of Labor to replace its successful approach to detecting pay discrimination with a failed methodology that was abandoned years ago because it had a 93 percent false positive rate.
H.R. 1338 would unjustly amend the Equal Pay Act in the following ways:
- Allows for unlimited compensatory and punitive damages to be granted, without proof of intent. Currently, an employer must be found to have intentionally engaged in discriminatory practices in order for the employee to receive monetary compensation. This provision is unacceptable and unnecessary, as damages are already available under Title VII for pay discrimination.
- Changes the "establishment" requirement. The EPA currently requires that employees whose pay is being compared must work in the same physical place of business. H.R. 1338 would amend the word "establishment" to mean workplaces in the same county or political district. It also invites the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to develop "rules or guidance" to define the term more broadly. This provision leaves the door open for the EEOC to compare a woman's job in a rural area to a man's job in an urban area with a much higher cost of living.
- Presumes wage discrimination. Other wage differentials such as nondiscriminatory factors, like market rates and prior salary history would be disregarded unless these non-sex-related factors can pass a "job relatedness" and a "business necessity" test which would be determined by a judge or jury. The American economy and labor market will be significantly harmed if judges and juries are mandated to decide how much a private business pays its individual workers.
- Replaces a successful pay discrimination-determining system with a proven failed system. This bill would replace the Interpretative Standards for Systemic Compensation Discrimination, which the Supreme Court endorsed back in 1986, with the Equal Opportunity Survey, which has a track record of wrongly classifying one-third of true discriminators as non-discriminators 93 percent of the time.
The proper role of government is to provide equal opportunity for all, not preferential treatment for any one particular group. Comparable worth is a warped social theory and all U.S. legislatures and courts that have considered it have rejected it for that very reason.
This vote could come as early as Thursday, July 31st, so call your Representatives and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 1338 today!
Tell your Representative to vote NO on the Paycheck Fairness Act!
Capitol Switchboard: (202)-224-3121