Last week, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill to strengthen the Equal Pay Act.
The Paycheck Fairness Act still faces some obstacles — such as a potential presidential veto. But, if passed, it’ll change the Equal Pay Act in some pretty serious ways.
Here’s what HR needs to know about the bill:
- Uncapped damages — Under the new law, employees will be able to collect unlimited damages — even if a company shows the bias was unintentional.
- Location, location, location — Under the old EPA, courts can take workplace location into account when looking into bias claims. In other words, a man working in New York City could earn more than a woman doing the same job for the same company in, say, rural Oklahoma — and that can’t be introduced as evidence in the case. Under the PFA, though, courts will be allowed to compare employees working anywhere in the country.
- Limited defenses — Now, companies are off the hook if they can prove a difference in pay resulted from “any factor other than sex.” But the PFA would limit that defense to factors directly related to responsibility, performance or experience.
- Pay info disclosure — The PFA would prohibit companies from punishing employees for releasing information about their own or others’ wages.