Paycheck Fairness, Fair Only to Litigating Lawyers

Hans Bader at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Open Market blog comments on H.R. 1338 and also  points us to an effective, tough editorial in today’s Examiner taking down the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act. That’s the bill the House passed on your basic partyline vote right before the August recess, an effort to allow lawyers to sue somebody’s way to “gender equity” in the workforce.

From “Paycheck fairness — or plaintiff’s payoff?”

The bill pretends to promote “gender equity.” Fat chance. Two laws, the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, already prohibit workplace discrimination against women and do so quite comprehensively.

But in the name of “equal pay for equal work,” the PFA would promote equal pay for grossly unequal experience. For instance, it would put the burden of proof on a business to show that it was impossible to pay equal wages to its male and female workers. Without such proof, as James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation points out, a newly hired woman could sue for the same wages as a man with 10 years of experience. She would need only claim that the employer should “provide her with intensive training to make up for the experience gap, and then pay her identical wages.”

Worse, the bill would for the first time make employers liable not just for intentional discriminatory pay practices, but for unintentional violations, too. It also would make it vastly easier to file “class action” lawsuits.

And the legislation would remove the Equal Pay Act’s limits compensatory and punitive damages available through litigation. Good incentive for somebody.


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