Posted May 9th, 2011.
BY: Dolan Media Newswires
“We have come a long way since the days when gender-based inequities in access to jobs and payment of wages were sanctioned by law, but studies show that a significant portion of the wage disparity cannot be explained by differences in experience, specific work performed, education or other non-discriminatory factors,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien at the April 28 event at the agency’s headquarters. “This persistent disparity is a stark reminder that the EEOC’s work to end every form of sex discrimination in the workplace – including compensation discrimination – is still unfinished business.”
“Most women come to me as a plaintiff’s attorney with claims if discrimination based on promotion, or pregnancy, or sexual harassment or a hostile work environment. Very rarely does someone come to me and say: ‘I think I’m being underpaid.’”
“Even if I can’t end up proving some of the other things they come to me about, I usually am able to prove pay discrimination,” Kimpel said of her clients.
The experts urged passage of legislation, including the Paycheck Fairness Act, which they say will close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act to help end workplace inequity. The bill, H.R. 1519, was reintroduced in the House by Rep. Rosa DeLauro last month and would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers for discussing their salary with other workers, and subject employers who discriminate in pay on the basis of gender to compensatory and punitive damages. Last congressional session, the measure was passed by the House, but defeated in the Senate.
Sylvia Hsieh is a reporter with Lawyers USA, a sister publication of New Orleans CityBusiness.