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H.R. 1271 (106th): Fair Pay Act of 1999


The text of the bill below is as of Mar 24, 1999 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


HR 1271 IH

106th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1271

To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of sex, race, or national origin, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 24, 1999

Ms. NORTON introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


A BILL

To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of sex, race, or national origin, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND REFERENCE.

    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘Fair Pay Act of 1999’.

    (b) REFERENCE- Whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) Wage differentials exist between equivalent jobs segregated by sex, race, and national origin in Government employment and in industries engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce:

      (2) The existence of such wage differentials--

        (A) depresses wages and living standards for employees necessary for their health and efficiency;

        (B) prevents the maximum utilization of the available labor resources;

        (C) tends to cause labor disputes, thereby burdening, affecting, and obstructing commerce;

        (D) burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce; and

        (E) constitutes an unfair method of competition.

      (3) Discrimination in hiring and promotion has played a role in maintaining a segregated work force.

      (4) Many women and people of color work in occupations dominated by individuals of their same sex, race, and national origin.

      (5)(A) A General Accounting Office analysis of wages in the civil service of the State of Washington found that in 1985 of the 44 jobs studied that paid less than the average of all equivalent jobs, approximately 39 percent were female-dominated and approximately 16 percent were male dominated.

      (B) A study of wages in Minnesota using 1990 Decennial Census data found that 75 percent of the wage differential between white and non-white workers was unexplained and may be a result of discrimination.

      (6) Section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 prohibits discrimination in compensation for ‘equal work’ on the basis of sex.

      (7) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in compensation because of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. The United States Supreme Court, in its decision in County of Washington v. Gunther, 452 U.S. 161 (1981), held that title VII’s prohibition against discrimination in compensation also applies to jobs which do not constitute ‘equal work’ as defined in section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Decisions of lower courts, however, have demonstrated that further clarification of existing legislation is necessary in order effectively to carry out the intent of Congress to implement the Supreme Court’s holding in its Gunther decision.

      (8) Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in compensation based upon sex, race, and national origin continue to exist more than 3 decades after the passage of section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Elimination of such barriers would have positive effects, including--

        (A) providing a solution to problems in the economy created by discriminating wage differentials;

        (B) substantially reducing the number of working women and people of color earning low wages, thereby reducing the dependence on public assistance; and

        (C) promoting stable families by enabling working family members to earn a fair rate of pay.

SEC. 3. EQUAL PAY FOR EQUIVALENT JOBS.

    (a) AMENDMENT- Section 6 (29 U.S.C. 206) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(g)(1)(A) No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate between its employees on the basis of sex, race, or national origin by paying wages to employees or groups of employees at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to employees or groups of employees of the opposite sex or different race or national origin for work in equivalent jobs, except where such payment is made pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, or a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.

    ‘(B) An employer who is paying a wage rate differential in violation of subparagraph (A) shall not, in order to comply with the provisions of such subparagraph, reduce the wage rate of any employee.

    ‘(2) No labor organization or its agents representing employees of an employer having employees subject to any provision of this section shall cause or attempt to cause such an employer to discriminate against an employee in violation of paragraph (1)(A).

    ‘(3) For purposes of administration and enforcement of this subsection, any amounts owing to any employee which have been withheld in violation of paragraph (1)(A) shall be deemed to be unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation under this section or section 7.

    ‘(4) As used in this subsection:

      ‘(A) The term ‘labor organization’ means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.

      ‘(B) The term ‘equivalent jobs’ means jobs that may be dissimilar, but whose requirements are equivalent, when viewed as a composite of skills, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.’.

    (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 13(a) (29 U.S.C. 213(a)) is amended in the matter before paragraph (1) by striking ‘section 6(d)’ and inserting ‘sections 6(d) and 6(g)’.

SEC. 4. PROHIBITED ACTS.

    Section 15(a) (29 U.S.C. 215(a)) is amended by striking the period at the end of paragraph (5) and inserting a semicolon and by adding after paragraph (5) the following:

      ‘(6) to discriminate against any individual because such individual has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by section 6(g) or because such individual made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under section 6(g); or

      ‘(7) to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any employee or any other person because the employee inquired about, disclosed, compared, or otherwise discussed the employee’s wages or the wages of any other employee, or because the employee exercised, enjoyed, aided, or encouraged any other person to exercise or enjoy any right granted or protected by section 6(g).’.

SEC. 5. REMEDIES.

    Section 16 (29 U.S.C. 216) is amended--

      (1) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(f) In any action brought under this section for violation of section 6(g), the court shall, in addition to any other remedies awarded to the prevailing plaintiff or plaintiffs, allow expert fees as part of the costs. Any such action may be maintained as a class action as provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.’;

      (2) in subsection (b), by striking ‘section 15(a)(3)’ each place it occurs and inserting ‘paragraphs (3), (6), and (7) of section 15(a)’; and

      (3) in the fourth sentence of subsection (b), by striking ‘No employees’ and inserting ‘Except with respect to class actions brought under subsection (f), no employees’.

SEC. 6. RECORDS.

    Section 11(c) (29 U.S.C. 211(c)) is amended by inserting ‘(1)’ after ‘(c)’ and by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(2)(A) Every employer subject to section 6(g) shall preserve records which document and support the method, system, calculations, and other bases used by the employer in establishing, adjusting, and determining the wages paid to the employees of the employer. Every employer subject to section 6(g) shall preserve such records for such periods of time and shall make such reports therefrom to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as shall be prescribed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by regulation or order as necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the provisions of section 6(g) or any regulations promulgated thereunder.

    ‘(B) Every employer subject to section 6(g) shall file annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a report signed by its president, treasurer, or corresponding principal officer containing information in such detail as may be necessary accurately to disclose the wage or salary rates paid to each classification, position, job title, or other wage or salary group of employees employed by the employer, as well as the sex, race, and national origin of employees at each wage or salary level in each classification, position, job title, or other wage or salary group. The report shall not contain the name of any individual employee.

    ‘(C) In order to carry out the purposes of this Act, the contents of the reports filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall be public information, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may publish any information and data which it obtains pursuant to the provisions of subparagraph (B). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may use the information and data for statistical and research purposes, and compile and publish such studies, analyses, reports, and surveys based thereon as it may deem appropriate.

    ‘(D) In order to carry out the purposes of this Act the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shall by regulation make reasonable provision for the inspection and examination by any person of the information and data contained in any report filed with it pursuant to subparagraph (B).

    ‘(E) The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shall by regulation provide for the furnishing of copies of reports filed with it pursuant to subparagraph (B) to any person upon payment of a charge based upon the cost of the service.

    ‘(F) The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shall issue rules and regulations prescribing the form and content of reports required to be filed under subparagraph (B) and such other reasonable rules and regulations as it may find necessary to prevent the circumvention or evasion of such reporting requirements. In exercising its authority under subparagraph (B), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may prescribe by general rule simplified reports for employers for whom it finds that by virtue of their size a detailed report would be unduly burdensome.’.

SEC. 7. RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM; REPORT TO CONGRESS.

    Section 4(d) (29 U.S.C. 204(d)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(4) The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shall undertake studies and provide information and technical assistance to employers, labor organizations, and the general public concerning effective means available to implement the provisions of section 6(g) prohibiting wage discrimination between employees performing work in equivalent jobs on the basis of sex, race, or national origin. Such studies, information, and technical assistance shall be based upon and include reference to the declared policy of such section to eliminate such discrimination. In order to achieve the purposes of such section, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shall further carry on a continuing program of research, education, and technical assistance including--

      ‘(A) undertaking and promoting research with the intent of developing means to expeditiously correct the conditions leading to section 6(g);

      ‘(B) publishing and otherwise making available to employers, labor organizations, professional associations, educational institutions, the various media of communication, and the general public the findings of studies and other materials for promoting compliance with section 6(g);

      ‘(C) sponsoring and assisting State and community informational and educational programs; and

      ‘(D) providing technical assistance to employers, labor organizations, professional associations and other interested persons on means of achieving and maintaining compliance with the provisions of section 6(g).

    ‘(5) The report submitted annually by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to Congress pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include a separate evaluation and appraisal regarding the implementation of section 6(g).’.

SEC. 8. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    The amendments made by this Act shall take effect upon the expiration of one year from the date of its enactment.