WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) joined Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and more than 180 Members of Congress on Wednesdday in reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation which would help close the wage gap between women and men working the same jobs.
“I’m a proud father to five daughters and grandfather to five granddaughters. I want them to inherit a country where everyone is treated equally under the law and in the workplace,” Garamendi said. “The Paycheck Fairness Act is important for women in America, but it’s also important for their families. In many households, women are the primary breadwinner, and their children deserve to be supported by paychecks that reflect the work ethic of their parents, not the bigotry of their parents’ employer.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act builds upon the landmark Equal Pay Act signed into law in 1963 by closing loopholes that have kept it from achieving its goal of equal pay.
The bill would require employers to show pay disparity is truly related to job performance, not gender.
The bill also prohibits employer retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers. Under current law, employers can sue and punish employees for sharing such information.
In addition, it strengthens remedies in pay discrimination cases by increasing the compensation women can seek, allowing them to seek both back pay and punitive damages for pay discrimination.
The bill empowers women in the workplace through a grant program to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills, and requires the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to eliminate pay disparities.
Garamendi added, “In the great experiment that is America, equal treatment has long been a dream our foremothers and forefathers have aspired to, although we’ve often fallen short. This is about justice, fairness, and opportunity. Equal pay for equal work is an American value, and the time is long overdue to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
There have been extensive studies demonstrating that discrimination is pervasive; women are paid less than men for the same exact work. This is according to analysis from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bloomberg News, the National Women’s Law Center, and other groups. Watch this video clip starting at the 14 minute 40 second mark to learn more: http://nbcnews.to/HvmSCg .
President Obama’s first bill, signed into law on January 29, 2009, was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the 180-day statute of limitations for women to contest pay discrimination.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close the loopholes that allow pay discrimination to continue in the first place and, with Ledbetter, provide employees the rights they need to challenge and eliminate pay discrimination in the workplace.
The bill has been endorsed by President Obama, Lilly Ledbetter and a coalition of more than 300 advocacy groups.