House Bill Would Help Women Fight Pay Discrimination

August 1, 2008 ( - Legislation that would give women more tools with which to fight pay discrimination passed a U.S. House vote on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports that the bill would treat gender discrimination involving pay the same as race, disability, and age discrimination. It would allow for compensatory and punitive damages, ban employers from retaliating against workers who share their salary with colleagues, and force employers to prove that paying a women less than a man is job-related and necessary, the AP said.

Democrats, who pushed the measure through, say companies continually have found ways around 1963’s Equal Pay Act. Republicans, however, say the new legislation benefits trial lawyers, a Democratic constituency.

Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-California), the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee commented: “At the end of the day this bill will invite more lawyers to file more lawsuits because it offers them a bigger payday,” according to the news report.

The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for a vote. In June, a pay discrimination bill that would increase the time limit employees would have to file pay discrimination cases was introduced in the Senate(See Republicans Offer Pay Discrimination Suit Limit Alternative ).