Friday, January 9: Paycheck Fairness Act

H.R.12 would 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.


  • H.R. 12 would expand remedies under the Equal Pay Act to provide for unlimited punitive and compensatory damages to a successful plaintiff, placing claims of discrimination in wages on the basis of sex in a more favorable position than similar claims of pay discrimination under other civil rights laws, which properly provide for limited compensatory and punitive damages.

  • At the same time, the bill scales back an employer’s ability to defend itself from claims of alleged “pay discrimination” where disparities arise from lawful business decisions. Requiring employers to prove the “business necessity” of wages being paid would supplant business owners with judges and juries in determining how businesses must be run and how much they must pay individual workers. These modifications to the Equal Pay Act will substantially harm the American economy and the labor market.

The true intent of the bill (to generate more lawsuits and to line the pockets of trial lawyers) is made most clear in its provisions expanding class action lawsuits.

  • H.R. 12 would reverse existing safeguards contained in the Equal Pay Act by deeming all potential class members to be joined in a class action suit and placing the affirmative burden on these plaintiffs – who may not know of the suit’s existence – to opt-out of a claim. These changes are clearly designed to ensure that plaintiffs’ lawyers get the “most bang for their buck” in bringing class-action lawsuits rather than protecting the paychecks of American workers

H.R. 12 represents fundamentally-flawed policy, and at bottom does nothing to ensure “paycheck fairness.” Rather, it is one more effort by the Majority to bestow a token on a favored constituency – trial lawyers – without reason, substance, or a demonstrated need.

PASSED: 256-163



The motion would recommit H.R. 12, the Paycheck Fairness Act, back to the Education and Labor Committee with instructions that the committee report the bill back to the House floor forthwith (i.e. instantaneously) with the following amendment to be offered by Tom Price (R-GA): Limiting the “reasonable” attorney’s fees to up to $2,000 per hour.

Without a cap, the current language is a boon for trial lawyers.

FAILED 178 – 240


Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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