< Back to H.R. 1688 (108th Congress, 2003–2004)

Text of the Paycheck Fairness Act

This bill was introduced on April 9, 2003, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Apr 9, 2003 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

HR 1688 IH

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1688

To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 9, 2003

Ms. DELAURO (for herself, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. ALLEN, Mr. ANDREWS, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. DICKS, Mr. DOGGETT, Mr. FARR, Mr. FROST, Mr. GEPHARDT, Mr. HOEFFEL, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island, Mr. KUCINICH, Mr. LANGEVIN, Mrs. MALONEY, Mr. MEEHAN, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mr. RODRIGUEZ, Mr. SANDERS, Ms. SOLIS, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. KILDEE, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. REYES, Mr. KLECZKA, Mr. MATSUI, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. OLVER, Ms. SLAUGHTER, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mrs. LOWEY, Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York, Ms. CARSON of Indiana, Ms. MCCOLLUM, Mr. MOORE, Mr. INSLEE, Ms. BALDWIN, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. SCOTT of Georgia, Mr. WEINER, Mr. SABO, and Mr. STARK) 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 provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, 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 ‘Paycheck Fairness Act’.

    (b) REFERENCE- Whenever in this Act (other than in section 8) 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) Women have entered the workforce in record numbers.

      (2) Even in the 21st century, women earn significantly lower pay than men for work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.

      (3) The existence of such pay disparities--

        (A) depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet;

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

        (C) has been spread and perpetuated, through commerce and the channels and instrumentalities of commerce, among the workers of the several States;

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

        (E) constitutes an unfair method of competition in commerce;

        (F) leads to labor disputes burdening and obstructing commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce;

        (G) interferes with the orderly and fair marketing of goods in commerce; and

        (H) in many instances, may deprive workers of equal protection on the basis of sex in violation of the 5th and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution.

      (4)(A) Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex continue to exist even decades after the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.) and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000a et seq.).

      (B) Elimination of such barriers would have positive effects, including--

        (i) providing a solution to problems in the economy created by unfair pay disparities;

        (ii) substantially reducing the number of working women earning unfairly low wages, thereby reducing the dependence on public assistance;

        (iii) promoting stable families by enabling all family members to earn a fair rate of pay;

        (iv) remedying the effects of past discrimination on the basis of sex and ensuring that in the future workers are afforded equal protection on the basis of sex; and

        (v) in the private sector, ensuring equal protection pursuant to Congress’ power to enforce the 5th and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution.

      (5) With increased information about the provisions added by the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (29 U.S.C. 206) and generalized wage data, along with more effective remedies, women will be better able to recognize and enforce their rights to equal pay for work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions.

      (6) Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.

SEC. 3. ENHANCED ENFORCEMENT OF EQUAL PAY REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) REQUIRED DEMONSTRATION FOR AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE- Section 6(d)(1) (29 U.S.C. 206(d)(1)) is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘(A)’ after ‘(d)(1)’; and

      (2) by striking ‘(iv) a differential’ and all that follows through the period and inserting the following: ‘(iv) a differential based on a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience, except that this clause shall apply only if--

      ‘(I) the employer demonstrates that--

        ‘(aa) such factor--

          ‘(AA) is job-related with respect to the position in question; or

          ‘(BB) furthers a legitimate business purpose, except that this item shall not apply where the employee demonstrates that an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing such differential and that the employer has refused to adopt such alternative practice; and

        ‘(bb) such factor was actually applied and used reasonably in light of the asserted justification; and

      ‘(II) if the employer makes the demonstration described in subclause (I), the employee fails to demonstrate that the differential produced by the reliance of the employer on the factor described in such subclause is the result of discrimination on the basis of sex by the employer.

    ‘(B) An employer that is not otherwise in compliance with this paragraph may not reduce the wages of any employee in order to achieve such compliance.’.

    (b) APPLICATION OF PROVISIONS- Section 6(d) (29 U.S.C. 206(d)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(5) The provisions of this subsection shall apply to applicants for employment if such applicants, upon employment by the employer applied to, would be subject to any other subsection of this section.’.

    (c) ELIMINATION OF ESTABLISHMENT REQUIREMENT- Section 6(d)(1) (29 U.S.C. 206(d)(1)) is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘, within any establishment in which such employees are employed,’; and

      (2) by striking ‘such establishment’ each place it appears.

    (d) NONRETALIATION PROVISION- Section 15(a)(3) (29 U.S.C. 215(a)(3)) is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘employee’ the first place it appears and inserting ‘employee (or applicant for employment in the case of an applicant described in section 6(d)(5))’;

      (2) by inserting ‘(or applicant)’ after ‘employee’ the second place it appears;

      (3) by striking ‘or has’ each place it appears and inserting ‘has’; and

      (4) by inserting before the semicolon the following: ‘, has inquired about, discussed, or otherwise disclosed the wages of the employee or another employee, or because the employee (or applicant) has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action under section 6(d)’.

    (e) ENHANCED PENALTIES- Section 16(b) (29 U.S.C. 216(b)) is amended--

      (1) by inserting after the first sentence the following: ‘Any employer who violates section 6(d) shall additionally be liable for such compensatory or punitive damages as may be appropriate, except that the United States shall not be liable for punitive damages.’;

      (2) in the sentence beginning ‘An action to’, by striking ‘either of the preceding sentences’ and inserting ‘any of the preceding sentences of this subsection’;

      (3) in the sentence beginning ‘No employees shall’, by striking ‘No employees’ and inserting ‘Except with respect to class actions brought to enforce section 6(d), no employee’;

      (4) by inserting after the sentence referred to in paragraph (3) the following: ‘Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, any action brought to enforce section 6(d) may be maintained as a class action as provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.’; and

      (5) in the sentence beginning ‘The court in’--

        (A) by striking ‘in such action’ and inserting ‘in any action brought to recover the liability prescribed in any of the preceding sentences of this subsection’; and

        (B) by inserting before the period the following: ‘, including expert fees’.

    (f) ACTION BY SECRETARY- Section 16(c) (29 U.S.C. 216(c)) is amended--

      (1) in the first sentence--

        (A) by inserting ‘or, in the case of a violation of section 6(d), additional compensatory or punitive damages,’ before ‘and the agreement’; and

        (B) by inserting before the period the following: ‘, or such compensatory or punitive damages, as appropriate’;

      (2) in the second sentence, by inserting before the period the following: ‘and, in the case of a violation of section 6(d), additional compensatory or punitive damages’;

      (3) in the third sentence, by striking ‘the first sentence’ and inserting ‘the first or second sentence’; and

      (4) in the last sentence--

        (A) by striking ‘commenced in the case’ and inserting ‘commenced--

      ‘(1) in the case’;

        (B) by striking the period and inserting ‘: or’; and

        (C) by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(2) in the case of a class action brought to enforce section 6(d), on the date on which the individual becomes a party plaintiff to the class action.’.

SEC. 4. TRAINING.

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, subject to the availability of funds appropriated under section 9(b), shall provide training to Commission employees and affected individuals and entities on matters involving discrimination in the payment of wages.

SEC. 5. RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND OUTREACH.

    The Secretary of Labor shall conduct studies and provide information to employers, labor organizations, and the general public concerning the means available to eliminate pay disparities between men and women, including--

      (1) conducting and promoting research to develop the means to correct expeditiously the conditions leading to the pay disparities;

      (2) publishing and otherwise making available to employers, labor organizations, professional associations, educational institutions, the media, and the general public the findings resulting from studies and other materials relating to eliminating the pay disparities;

      (3) sponsoring and assisting State and community informational and educational programs;

      (4) providing information to employers, labor organizations, professional associations, and other interested persons on the means of eliminating the pay disparities;

      (5) recognizing and promoting the achievements of employers, labor organizations, and professional associations that have worked to eliminate the pay disparities; and

      (6) convening a national summit to discuss and consider approaches for rectifying the pay disparities.

SEC. 6. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND EMPLOYER RECOGNITION PROGRAM.

    (a) GUIDELINES-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Labor shall develop guidelines to enable employers to evaluate job categories based on objective criteria such as educational requirements, skill requirements, independence, working conditions, and responsibility, including decisionmaking responsibility and de facto supervisory responsibility.

      (2) USE- The guidelines developed under paragraph (1) shall be designed to enable employers voluntarily to compare wages paid for different jobs to determine if the pay scales involved adequately and fairly reflect the educational requirements, skill requirements, independence, working conditions, and responsibility for each such job, with the goal of eliminating unfair pay disparities between occupations traditionally dominated by men or women.

      (3) PUBLICATION- The guidelines developed under paragraph (1) shall be published in the Federal Register not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

    (b) EMPLOYER RECOGNITION-

      (1) PURPOSE- It is the purpose of this subsection to emphasize the importance, encourage the improvement, and recognize the excellence of employer efforts to pay wages to women that reflect the real value of the contributions of such women to the workplace.

      (2) IN GENERAL- To carry out the purpose of this subsection, the Secretary of Labor shall establish a program under which the Secretary shall provide for the recognition of employers who, pursuant to a voluntary job evaluation conducted by the employer, adjust their wage scales using the guidelines developed under subsection (a) to ensure that women

are paid fairly in comparison to men, but such adjustments shall not include the lowering of wages paid to men.

      (3) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE- The Secretary of Labor may provide technical assistance to assist an employer in carrying out an evaluation under paragraph (2).

    (c) RULEMAKING- The Secretary of Labor may make rules to carry out this section.

SEC. 7. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL AWARD FOR PAY EQUITY IN THE WORKPLACE.

    (a) IN GENERAL- There is established the National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace, which shall be evidenced by a medal bearing the inscription ‘National Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace’. The medal shall be of such design and materials and bear such additional inscriptions as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe.

    (b) CRITERIA FOR QUALIFICATION- To qualify to receive an award under this section a business shall--

      (1) submit a written application to the Secretary of Labor, at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, including at a minimum information that demonstrates that the business has made a substantial effort to eliminate pay disparities between men and women, and deserves special recognition as a consequence; and

      (2) meet such additional requirements and specifications as the Secretary of Labor determines to be appropriate.

    (c) MAKING AND PRESENTATION OF AWARD-

      (1) AWARD- After receiving recommendations from the Secretary of Labor, the President or the designated representative of the President shall annually present the award described in subsection (a) to businesses that meet the qualifications described in subsection (b).

      (2) PRESENTATION- The President or the designated representative of the President shall present the award under this section with such ceremonies as the President or the designated representative of the President determines to be appropriate.

    (d) BUSINESS- In this section, the term ‘business’ includes--

      (1)(A) a corporation, including a nonprofit corporation;

      (B) a partnership;

      (C) a professional association;

      (D) a labor organization; and

      (E) a business entity similar to an entity described in any of subparagraphs (A) through (D);

      (2) an entity carrying out an education referral program, a training program, such as an apprenticeship or management training program, or a similar program; and

      (3) an entity carrying out a joint program, formed by a combination of any entities described in paragraph (1) or (2).

SEC. 8. COLLECTION OF PAY INFORMATION BY THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION.

    Section 709 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-8) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(f)(1) Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Commission shall--

      ‘(A) complete a survey of the data that is currently available to the Federal Government relating to employee pay information for use in the enforcement of Federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination and, in consultation with other relevant Federal agencies, identify additional data collections that will enhance the enforcement of such laws; and

      ‘(B) based on the results of the survey and consultations under subparagraph (A), make rules to provide for the collection of pay information data from employers as described by the sex, race, and national origin of employees.

    ‘(2) In implementing paragraph (1), the Commission shall have as its primary consideration the most effective and efficient means for enhancing the enforcement of Federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination, and shall also consider other factors, including the imposition of burdens on employers, the frequency of required reports (including which employers should be required to prepare reports), appropriate protections for maintaining data confidentiality, and the most effective format for the data collections reports.’.

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act.