Paycheck Fairness Act on House Floor Today (It’s a Bad Bill)

The House Majority Leader’s floor schedule for the day includes H.R. 1338, the Paycheck Fairness Act. (For previous Shopfloor posts, go here.)

The Statement of Administration Policy, which promises a veto, hits upon a recurring theme from opponents, that the legislation really just makes more money for lawyers suing businesses.

The bill’s provision for unlimited compensatory and punitive damages without even a showing of intent is especially troubling. Other employment statutes, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, provide for limited compensatory and punitive
damages of up to $300,000 (but unlimited backpay). These statutes only provide for such
damages after a showing that the discrimination was intentional and, for punitive damages, that
the employer “engaged in a discriminatory practice or discriminatory practices with malice or
with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual.” To
permit punitive damages in the absence of intent or reckless indifference would be wrong.
Moreover, there is no need to add punitive damages to the EPA, since such damages are already
available under Title VII for pay discrimination. 

Another problem: The bill does not allow a company to account for geographical pay disparities. If you have an office in Beulah, Boston or Biloxi employees doing similar work must all be paid the same.
The NAM’s Key Vote letter in opposition is here.

Carrie Lukas, Independent Women’s Forum, “Feminists Meddle with the Market“: “[A] bill that is the equivalent of throwing sand into the wheels of our economic machine.

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