ABA Calls on Senate to Pass Equal Pay Legislation
Legal Tools for Equal Pay for Equal Work Assertion Still Needed
The American Bar Association today called on the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so that “women will finally have the legal tools to effectively assert their right to receive equal pay for equal work.”
During its 2010 Midyear Meeting in February, the association adopted policy in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. In its letter to Sen. Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the ABA commended him for holding today’s hearing on the legislation, saying “we hope that the hearing will provide the necessary impetus for long-stalled Senate action” on the bill.
The letter, signed by Director of the ABA Governmental Affairs Office Thomas M. Susman, specifically mentions three key areas in which the Paycheck Fairness Act updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963: It clarifies the standards for wage comparisons and specifies that employers who claim that pay discrepancies are for “factor(s) other than sex” must demonstrate that the factors are bona fide, job-related and consistent with business necessity; it adds a new provision to prohibit employer retaliation for sharing information about wages; and It expands remedies available to claimants and updates procedures for class action suits.
Susman encouraged the Senate to act on the bill so we as a nation can eliminate gender-based wage discrimination, “which remains a present-day, widespread and pernicious problem in the workplace.”
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.