Maine’s U.S. Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, voted with the rest of the Republican party today to filibuster the Paycheck Fairness Act. The filibuster effectively killed this piece of legislation. Members of Congress drafted the Paycheck Fairness Act to address persistent wage inequality between men and women. Even though women make-up half of the American workforce, they only earn $0.77 for every $1.00 paid to men.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would have closed loopholes in the current law which employers exploit. It would have added protections for women and, consequently, deterred employers from discriminating against women. In particular, the Paycheck Fairness Act would have required an employer to state legitimate, non-discriminatory, reasons for its decision to pay women less than men for the same job. It would have prevented employers from discriminating against employees who share information about their salaries–one of the primary ways women discover pay discrimination. It would have also required employers to compensate victims of pay discrimination for all of the losses they suffered.
The opponents to the bill cited problems with it that they claim would have unfairly hurt businesses. Given the fact that employers who pay men and women the same would not have violated the law, this seems dubious.
If you believe that you are a victim of pay discrimination, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer for advice about your legal rights.