Despite the November 2nd elections, Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to push anti-business legislation through the 111th Congress. Sometime this week, the Lame Duck Session of Congress – the Senate will vote on a bill which will affect ALL franchisees – the Paycheck Fairness Act.
ISSUE: Under current law, once employees have provided prima facie evidence of gender discrimination, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to show that the difference in wages results from “any factor other than sex.” The Paycheck Fairness Act eliminates the “any factor other than sex” defense and replaces it with a more strict “bona fide factor other than sex” defense.
This means that employers can only overcome a claim of gender discrimination if they demonstrate that a “business necessity” demands it. The Act also leaves it up to the courts to determine what constitutes a “bona fide factor” to justify any pay discrepancies. This means that factors such as previous experience, market forces, negotiating ability and prior salaries may not be justifications for pay differentiations.
Additionally, the bill invites class action suits by allowing unlimited punitive and compensatory damages and repealing the requirement that employees must give their written consent to become a party in an “equal pay” class action suit. This would provide a windfall for trial lawyers while costing employers unprecedented amounts of time and money to defend their business decisions.
ACTION: This bill has already passed out of the House of Representatives; it only needs to pass in the Senate before President Obama signs it into law.
Contact your senators today and tell them to oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act!!!
• This bill restricts my ability to compensate my workers based on factors such as level of experience, prior salary history, amount of income generated, cost of living disparities and overall work responsibilities.
• By eliminating current limits as provided by the Equal Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act allows for unlimited punitive damages—even for unintended pay disparities—and invites unjustified and unsupported claims against me and my business.
• There are current anti-discrimination laws—such as the Equal Pay Act—in place which will help protect my workers while not interfering with my right to run my business
Please use these talking points when contacting your senators or log onto CFA Votes! to send a customizable letter via email today!