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Equal Pay Change on the Way

It's a new day -- one where all of us are equal and supported, not just the rich and connected that Republicans have favored for the last eight years...

The House has passed legislation to assure that employers live up to their four-decade-old legal promise to provide equal pay for equal work.

Democrats led lawmakers in approving a bill making clear that women who are victims of gender-based discrimination can sue for compensatory and punitive damage.

The chamber was also voting on a bill in response to a Supreme Court decision that workers must file a discrimination claim within 180 days of a pay violation. Supporters of changing the law said many workers don't find out about wage disparities for years.

The two bills, coming in the first week of the new Congress, attest to the worker rights agenda of the Democratic-led Congress and the incoming Democratic president, Barack Obama.

It's the first week of the new Congress, and change is underway.

The Democratic-led House took up two wage discrimination bills Friday, moving quickly to affirm its worker rights credentials as labor ally Barack Obama prepares to move into the White House.

Both bills, aimed at assuring that women's rights to equal pay are adhered to, passed the House in the last session of Congress but couldn't clear the Senate and veto threats from the White House. Now, with Democrats enjoying larger majorities in both chambers and a Democrat becoming president, the bills' prospects are brighter.

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Comments (8)


Wonder how long til men have a 50-50 shot at getting custody of kids, or, that they have a say in murdering, or keeping a baby if a couple conceive a child, or, maybe even if they have a say in not paying child support if a she wants to keep baby, and he doesnt.

Equal rights sound great to me.


Unfortunately this bill could greatly reduce the ability of employers to negotiate salaries with their employees.

I think most of us would agree that everyone doing the same kind of work should be offered the same base pay. That is especially true for hourly employees. But beyond that, negotiations play a large role in determining the pay level of salaried employees.

If this bill results in enough lawsuits, employers may be forced to offer everyone an equal, "average" salary rather than negotiate or give employees raises based on merit or positive work evaluations.

The end result is lower wages for everyone.

Equal, yes, but progress?

Lee Ward:

And of course, for some employers at least, they are more inclined to allow men higher salaries then women. Using "he's a better negotiator" as a reason is not a good reason, is it?

Equal pay for equal work does not preclude pay for performance. But it does level the playing field, and it might indeed eliminate those instances where an employer gives a man a higher salary than a woman simply because, in the view of the employer, the man is a better 'negotiator.'

Under the equity provisions that I imagine are included in these laws the employer would now be compelled to show why the man's pay should be higher than the woman's.

"He's a better negotiator than she is" will likely fail a legal test - as it should in my view.


i'm always suspicious when the government wants to start telling companies how much they should pay their employees.

do you have links to the bills by chance, lee?

the one about changing the amount of time you have to file a EEOC complaint may be reasonable depending on what they want to extend it out to. I would agree that 120 days is too short. does the bill do anything else, tho?

as far as the equal pay for equal work? isn't that already the law? otherwise there wouldn't be be the question of how long you have to file suit. what exactly are they adding? given the democrats tendancies to expand government power and influence, i would look at it with a jaundiced eye until i knew the specifics.

i have a somewhat off topic question for you, lee. when you talk about equality are you talking about equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?


I wonder if the Messiah-Elect will start paying his female staffers equal pay, the way John McCain has.

Using "he's a better negotiator" as a reason is not a good reason, is it?
But that's only a problem if it's a man vs. a woman? If some other guy gets paid more than I do because he's a better negotiator, I am just SOL because I am also a guy?

Among the other numerous problems already mentioned, is that problem of who decides what is "equal work". I am sure our federal government, which has recently demonstrated its incomparable abilities to manage economic affairs, will do a wonderful, objective job on that.


I can't resist commenting: GianiD, oh precious one, when a man has unprotected sex, he is essentially saying, "Let the chips fall where they may," which is also known as Lazai Faire. And, hey-hey-by-the-way, when a man is able to become pregnant, he may then decide whether to continue or terminate the pregnancy. Coming to an agreement with a woman to have a family, which may, silly romantic that I am, include marriage, but may also be comprised of a legal contract, none of which would be considered valid if one of the parties were under duress, would be considerations.

LOL! That whole "protection" thing should work both ways, don't you think Jillel? If you're a woman, you can use contraceptives and pills. But it's the man's responsibility, is that your argument Jillel? I mean, if she doesn't, isn't that as equally "Lazai Faire" of her? Unfortunately in today's "equal" society, if you have the dangling items between your legs, your rights are not equal. Oh, and if there is a question and answer period prior to the coitus, and the party of the other part, being of female persuasion, lies about the use of contraception and then becomes pregnant, has she violated a verbal contract and is therefore libel for her actions? NO, you the party of the dangling part are still on the hook.

You only want equality on your terms and they aren't necessarily equal. But what the hell, it pay back time for thousands of years of abuse, right?

That's why I tell my sons to use a condom every time and keep a small bottle of tabasco handy. A few drops to the used condom prior to disposal in the waste basket is always good insurance. It's amazing what some women will do to hook a man.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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