Core Provisions: This bill would revise the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (”FLSA”) known as the Equal Pay Act that prohibits differentials in pay between employees of the opposite sex unless those differentials “are based on any other factor other than sex.” The bill would change this language to require that any pay differential be based only on “bona fide factors,” such as education, training or experience. The bill would also revise the portion of the FLSA concerning retaliation to prohibit retaliation against employees for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing wages in response to a complaint, investigation, or action concerning sex discrimination. The bill would also provide for compensatory or punitive damages in a civil action against an employer for sex discrimination under the FLSA.
Status: On September 13, 2010, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) reintroduced the Act. The bill has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders, which means that the bill could be called to the floor at anytime. Whether it will be called to the floor in the three weeks before the election is speculative.
The Paycheck Fairness Act was previously introduced in the House during the 110th Congress as H.R. 1338. That bill passed the House by a vote of 247 to 178. Following the House vote, the bill was introduced in the Senate by then Senator Clinton (D-N.Y.) as S. 766 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. No further action was taken.