On July 24, 2008, the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor approved The Paycheck Fairness Act.
The Paycheck Fairness Act (HR 1338) was passed by a vote of 26-17. It will next be considered by the full U.S. House of Representatives, as early as this week.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and "close loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay" according to the Committee on Education and Labor's website.
Specifically, according to the Committee the legislation would do the following:
- Require that employers seeking to justify unequal pay bear the burden of proving that its actions are job-related and consistent with a business necessity.
- Prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers.
- Put gender-based discrimination sanctions on equal footing with other forms of wage discrimination such as race, disability or age by allowing women to sue for compensatory and punitive damages.
- Require the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to work with employers in order to eliminate pay disparities.
- Require the Department of Labor to continue to collect and disseminate wage information based on gender.
- Create a new grant program to help strengthen the negotiation skills of girls and women.