Thank you for contacting me about employment issues. It is good to hear from you.
I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about ending sex discrimination in the workplace. On January 23, 2013, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced S. 84, the "Paycheck Fairness Act." The bill would amend the Equal Pay Act and creates new data collection and reporting requirements for businesses.
I am concerned that the legislation encourages lawsuits against employers for unlimited punitive damage awards, even for unintentional violations. The bill restricts an employer's ability to make individually based salary decisions due to a fear that another employee will bring a discrimination lawsuit. I also do not believe it is the proper time to be placing additional burdensome administrative reporting requirements on small businesses.
Currently, there are two federal laws, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act, that protect employees from sex based pay discrimination. They provide employees with the opportunity to file claims on sex based employment discrimination practices and allow for damages to be awarded. Though we do not agree on this issue, please know that I appreciate hearing your comments in support of the legislation and will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue my work in the Senate.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. I value your input.
John Barrasso, M.D.
United States Senator