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Congressman Courtney Helps Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

March 27, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) voted to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7), landmark legislation that takes steps towards ending gender-based wage discrimination and ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work. Courtney is an original co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 242-187. Following the vote, Courtney issued the following statement:

“Equal work deserves equal pay – that’s no longer up for debate,” said Congressman Courtney. “Research shows that in Connecticut, women make only 79 cents for every one dollar made by their male counterparts for the same work. That is completely unacceptable, both morally and economically, and today’s vote acknowledges the compounding and generational impact that pay disparities have on the lifetime earning potential of women, and the negative effect this has on families’ financial stability. To remedy this inequity, we need laws providing stronger protections for women in the workplace, like those provided in the Paycheck Fairness Act. Connecticut’s own Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the bill’s sponsor, has been one of the leaders in the charge for wage justice for years – she has introduced and fought for this bill since 1997. Today’s passage of the bill was a great victory for Congresswoman DeLauro, for Connecticut, and for the country. I encourage the Senate to act swiftly to pass this critical legislation, and for the President to sign Paycheck Fairness into law.”

In 2009, Congressman Courtney voted to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored the right of women to challenge unfair pay in court. The Paycheck Fairness Act is builds upon that legislation, as well as upon the Equal Pay Act of 1963, by strengthening protections for workers who raise concerns regarding pay disparities, imposing more stringent reporting requirements on employers, and removing obstacles for workers to participate in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination.

The Paycheck Fairness Act includes provisions that will:

  • Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons, ensuring that employers who try to justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job must show the disparity is not sex-based, but job-related and necessary;
  • Ban retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages;
  • Ensure that women can receive the same robust remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subj4ected to discrimination based on race and ethnicity
  • Remove obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to facilitate a wronged worker’s participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination;
  • Make improvements in the Department of Labor’s tools for enforcing the Equal Pay Act
  • Provide assistance to all businesses to help them with their equal pay practices, and create a negotiation skills training program for women and girls;
  • Prohibit employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay, so that discrimination does not follow women from job to job