This week, the Senate is voting on the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that strengthens the Equal Pay Act to help ensure all working women receive equal pay for equal work. President Obama has sought to end discrimination in the workplace, including the persistent problem of wage discrimination based on gender, and has called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Asked several times about the Paycheck Fairness Act, Mitt Romney refused to say whether he supports giving women the tools they need to fight for equal pay.
Mitt Romney’s continued refusal to take a stand on paycheck fairness is not only a failure to stand against wage discrimination, but it jeopardizes the economic security of families across the country.
Why we need the Paycheck Fairness Act:
Today, working American women earn on average just 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make for the same amount of work. Over her lifetime, an average working woman could lose $389,000 to wage discrimination.
Not only does this type of wage discrimination deny women hard-earned dollars and limit retirement benefits and savings, it jeopardizes the economic security of their families as more and more women are breadwinners.
With the Equal Pay Act, employers who pay women less than men for the same work can be sued. However, numerous loopholes for employers and other obstacles make it hard to enforce equal pay.
The Paycheck Fairness Act makes key changes that help ensure pay equity for women:
Prevent employers from penalizing workers who share information about pay with their coworkers. Today, employers can prohibit employees from sharing information about their wages, making it harder to find out about wage discrimination. This bill would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who share this information.
Limit unjustified defenses of differences in pay by closing a loophole for employers in the existing law. Now, an employer only needs to offer a factor other than gender to justify pay discrimination in court. This legislation would require a “bona fide factor” that is actually related to the job to justify pay difference.
Increase penalties for wage discrimination. Now, if an employer is found guilty of pay discrimination, the employee is entitled to limited relief. This bill would make women eligible for normal compensatory as well as punitive damages if their bosses are discriminating against them.
Where is Mitt Romney on standing up to discrimination?
President Obama is a strong supporter of equal pay. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—which helps women fight for equal pay after they’ve learned about a pay disparity—is the first bill he signed into law. Romney refuses to say whether he would’ve signed this bill into law, simply saying he wouldn’t change current law—so the question is “whether a President Romney would veto or refuse to sign any effort by a GOP-controlled Congress to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act.”
Now Romney is refusing to take a stand on the Paycheck Fairness Act—failing to provide his position after being asked five times by The Washington Times. Every time there’s a question of whether Romney will stand up to his party and fight for the equal treatment of America’s working women, he refuses to provide an answer.