Paycheck Fairness Act Fails to Move Forward in Senate

April 9, 2014 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Senate today stopped the Paycheck Fairness Act from moving forward with a vote of 53-44 against cloture. The Paycheck Fairness Act, an update to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, would give workers stronger tools to help end wage discrimination in the workplace. President Obama took executive action on equal pay during an event at the White House yesterday.

“By blocking this bill, a few members of the Senate have failed to even allow debate on giving women the most basic of protections: a safety net against egregious discrimination in the workplace,” said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU senior legislative counsel and co-chair of the National Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition. “The president’s actions on pay equity yesterday were huge victories for federal contractors, so it’s disappointing that Congress wouldn’t extend these protections to all workers. As long as women workers continue to make less than men doing the same jobs, we will continue to fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

The president signed an executive order banning retaliation against employees of federal contractors for disclosing or inquiring about their wages. He also instructed the Department of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit data on compensation paid to employees. This information will encourage voluntary compliance with equal pay laws and assist with more focused enforcement where possible discrimination exists with taxpayer funds.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would update the Equal Pay Act by barring retaliation against all other workers who ask about their employers’ pay practices or inquire about their own wages. It would allow women to receive the same remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and ethnicity. The bill also would provide technical assistance to employers and includes safeguards for small businesses.

More about the ACLU’s work on the Paycheck Fairness Act is available at:

The ACLU’s statement on the President’s equal pay executive actions is available at:

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