US Senate Blocks Paycheck Fairness Act

The US Senate blocked proposed legislation for equal pay in the workplace on June 5, according to Fox News. The legislation was proposed by Democrats in the Senate and voted down largely by the Senate Republicans in a 52-47 vote. The bill required 60 votes to pass.

“It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families,” President Barack Obama said in a released statement.

It is hard to say if the Senators were opposed to the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” or if this is just politics as usual in a crucial election year. According to the Census Bureau, women made only $.77 on the male dollar in 2008. The bill was drafted in the House of Representatives in 2009, but failed to move forward. The bill was reintroduced to Congress in April of 2011. The bill would allow employees to disclose salary information to compare what males and females make in the same job, making it easier to target those who practice wage discrimination.

Critics of the bill cited a study disclosed to the US Department of Labor, saying that the census information was misrepresented and the gap in wages was not due to systematic discrimination.

“Although additional research in this area is clearly needed, this study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action,” the study read. “Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female coworkers.”

Because of the Equal Pay Act, it is illegal to pay men more than women for “substantially equal work,” but it is not always easy to prove gender discrimination. If you believe you have be unjustly discriminated against at work, contact an attorney immediately.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment law attorneys