The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Claire O'Brien, (202) 675-2312;

Senate Holds Hearing on Gender Pay Inequality

Paycheck Fairness Act Is a Critical Step During Economic Downturn, Says ACLU


The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions will hold a hearing today titled, "A Fair Share for All: Pay
Equity in the New American Workplace," which will take a close look at
the pay gap between men and women performing the same jobs in the
workforce. The American Civil Liberties Union applauds the Senate HELP
Committee's examination of the ongoing wage disparity in America and
urges the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182), a vital
step in ensuring equality in the workplace.

worker in America deserves to bring home equal pay for equal work, and
yet women still make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man,"
said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative
Office. "The Paycheck Fairness Act is the way to level the playing
field by finally establishing equality in the American workplace and
ensuring that anyone, regardless of gender, can see his or her work
rewarded with a fair paycheck."

Paycheck Fairness Act would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a law
that has not been able to achieve its promise of closing the wage gap
because of limited enforcement tools and inadequate remedies. The
Paycheck Fairness Act would make critical changes to the law, including:

  • requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differentials are based on factors other than sex;
  • prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about their employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages;
  • permitting reasonable comparisons between employees within clearly defined geographical areas to determine fair wages;
  • strengthening penalties for equal pay violations; and
  • authorizing additional training for EEOC staff to better identify and handle wage disputes.

2009, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Paycheck
Fairness Act with broad bipartisan support. The bill currently has 36
co-sponsors in the Senate and is poised for passage. The ACLU calls on
the Senate to take swift action on the Paycheck Fairness Act and allow
women to bring home the pay they have rightfully earned.

fifty years after the Equal Pay Act, American women are still waiting
to see pay equity become a reality," said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU
Legislative Counsel. "In this economic climate, there is no better time
to swiftly pass this law. Bringing home fair pay is necessary, not only
for families' economic security, but also to the nation's economic
recovery. We urge the Senate to move this bill forward."

A letter from the ACLU to the Senate in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act is available at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666