Will this time be the charm for some workplace bills recently reintroduced in Congress?

There are a couple of new(ish) workplace bills pending in Congress. Would you like to hear more about them?

Paycheck Fairness Act

Late last month, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act. If it passes, the Paycheck Fairness Act will amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide “enhanced enforcement of [the] equal pay requirements.”

How will this work?

When Congress amended the FLSA in 1963, it included equal-pay provisions. These equal-pay provisions make it unlawful for an employer to pay men and women doing the same or similar work differently — unless the employer can demonstrate that it based the pay differential on “any other factor other than sex.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act would strike “any other factor other than sex” and insert “a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience.”

If that sounds familiar to some of you, it should. Congress has kicked around this bill, without success, before. Plus, the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which New Jersey passed last year, makes it unlawful to have a pay differential for substantially similar work, unless it based on one or more legitimate, bona fide factors other than the characteristics of members of the protected class, such as training, education or experience, or the quantity or quality of production. The Paycheck Fairness Act is limited to pay differentials based on sex.

For more on the Paycheck Fairness Act, here is a press release from Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

Protect Older Workers From Discrimination Act

Here’s another oldie but goodie.

Aaaaaaaand cue tumbleweed.

Last week, a bipartisan group of Senators reintroduced the Protect Older Workers From Discrimination Act. Here’s more from Chuck Grassley (R-IA), one of the bill’s co-sponsors:

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa joined Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Susan Collins of Maine in re-introducing the bipartisan Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). Enacting POWADA (S. 485) would restore critical Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protections and make it easier for employees to prove when they are a victim of age discrimination in the workplace.

In 2009, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Gross v. FBL Financial Services involving Iowan Jack Gross, weakened the ADEA by imposing a significantly higher burden of proof on workers alleging age discrimination than is required of workers alleging other forms of workplace discrimination. As a result, workers that allege age discrimination must meet an undue legal burden not faced by workers alleging discrimination based on race, sex, national origin or religion.

In the meantime, click here if you need a refresher on what goes into a proper age discrimination release.

And click here for some tips on how to address equal pay issues at work proactively.

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