Apologizing for America, Administration Touts Paycheck Fairness Act

The State Department last week submitted a report to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the first time the United States has provided such a self-accounting under the U.N.’s Universal Periodic Review. The basic message is that the United States is deeply flawed, injustice abounds, but the Obama Administration is bringing us into a new age of enlightenment and justice.

This document gives a partial snapshot of the current human rights situation in the United States, including some of the areas where problems persist in our society. In addressing those areas, we use this report to explore opportunities to make further progress and also to share some of our recent progress. For us, the primary value of this report is not as a diagnosis, but rather as a roadmap for our ongoing work within our democratic system to achieve lasting change.

The Administration believes that roadmap directs us to the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would further inject the federal government into every hiring and pay decision in the private sector while opening employers to a new wave of pay discrimination lawsuits.

37. As one of President Obama’s first official acts, he signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which helps women who face wage discrimination recover their lost wages. Shortly thereafter, the President created the White House Council on Women and Girls to seek to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly and equally in all matters of public policy. Thus, for instance, the Administration supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.

The one thing the bill would help ensure is litigation. It allows unlimited punitive and compensatory damages in cases of suspected discrimination, while changing class-action suits from a system of “opt-in” to “opt-out,” giving trial lawyers additional leverage to pressure companies into huge settlements. (The National Association of Manufacturers has prepared a ManuFACTS sheet that details the legislation’s many anti-employer provisions.)

When each new employee is a potential lawsuit, why would a company hire anyone?

Senate Majority Reid filed cloture on the latest version of the bill, S. 3722, making its consideration possible in next week’s lame-duck session of Congress. The original Senate bill, S. 182, was introduced by Sen. Hillary Clinton in January 2009 before she became Secretary of State, a position from which she now promotes the same bad idea.

If jobs and the economy are truly a priority for the President and his Administration, he will ask Sen. Reid to make certain the Paycheck Fairness Act is removed from the Senate’s schedule and relegated to the vault of bad legislation.

And drop the appeals to the United Nations. Employers in the United States have enough problems without having their own government imply they fall short when it comes to human rights. With this report, Administration sends a message, “We really don’t think very highly of business.”

(Hat tip: Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, writing at National Review Online’s The Corner, a post, “The U.S. as U.N. Punching Bag.“)

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    You wrote all that “noise” when the reality is that the bill should keep employers “honest” enough to do the right thing by simply not putting themselves in a situation to be litigated against. If they hired all people the same, there would not be a reason for anyone, male or female, to file lawsuits.

    P.S. Why would they offer men a lower starting rate if the rates were standard across the board? By you stating that comment justifies that the women are offered lower starting salaries. YOU MADE THE POINT AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT!!!

  • […] State Department has issued a report to the United Nations all but apologizing for America’s racist, bigoted discrimination in compensation practices. To fix this, the Obama […]

  • […] policy disagreements. To even suggest that the United States falls short in the area of human rights because it has not enacted the Paycheck Fairness Act is an insult to those who believe that employers, not the federal government (or trial lawyers), […]

  • Please check out this new policy paper on the Paycheck Fairness Act by the Independent Women’s Forum: Position Paper No. 33: The Unintended Consequences of the Paycheck Fairness Act. [http://www.iwf.org/publications/show/23866.html]

    Thank You!

  • RaeUPCC says:

    There is nothing ‘fair’ about this proposed bill. It was created to close the so called salary gap. Well, I have been in the payroll industry for over 25 years and I can tell you that differences in people pay have nothing to do with their sex.

    Paycheck Fairness Act (S 3772) would protect employees who share salary information with co-workers and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not gender-based. Employers beware! This bill will create more reasons for employees to file frivolous lawsuits. The only people that will benefit from this bill are the lawyers that take on the discrimination lawsuits.

    It will do NOTHING to increase women’s salary. This bill would not discriminate. The end result will be MEN will be offered lower starting rates for fear of upsetting the women work force.

    Just as each individual has different fingerprints, each person is wired differently. How can you measure and prove someone’s negotiating skills? How do you measure and prove a person’s drive, determination, perseverance, and other qualities that put them ahead of the competition? Everyone knows that managers with different levels of responsibility and experience are paid differently. How can you even compare apples with apples? You can’t. That makes this bill unfair.

    The Paycheck Fairness Act requires the government to collect MORE data from employers on the sex, race, and national origin of employees, adding to the red tape, paperwork, and hiring costs. It would only allow employers to defend differences in pay between men and women on the grounds of education, training, and experience if these factors are justified on the grounds of “business necessity”. Meaning that male managers with college degrees couldn’t be paid more than females clerks with college degrees if the employer can’t prove that the manager position wasn’t consistent with ‘business necessity’. In addition, the penalty would include back pay.

    Even if you are not an employer, this bill affects you. Workers will automatically be included in the class action suit unless they opt out.

    In a nutshell, it does not simply ensure “paycheck fairness” between men and women. It would make it much more difficult for employers to defend against wage discrimination claims, allow for unlimited damages, and make class action status far easier to obtain. Stay tuned as the debate continues and the Senate moves closer to consideration.

    Funny how the name of the bill always sounds good but when you dig deeper, it’s a nightmare.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Manufacturers Assoc., Manufacturers Assoc.. Manufacturers Assoc. said: In State Dept report to UN on human rights, Administration touts its support for Paycheck Fairness Act. http://shopfloor.org/?p=15951 (cw) […]

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