Paycheck Fairness Act is Dead — For Now

November 18, 2010

On November 17, the Senate voted 58-41 against proceeding to a floor debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. That means that the legislation, which had the support of President Obama and was previously passed by the House of Representatives, is dead. As you may recall from my October 10 posting (Paycheck Fairness Act – Fair to Who?), the Act would have made employers liable for unlimited punitive damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act for even unintentional pay disparities, and would have eliminated current limits for back pay as well as for compensatory damages. It would also have made class actions against employers much easier by eliminating a requirement under current law that employees must give their written consent to be included in a class action case. If passed, it would also have hampered an employer’s ability to compensate its employees based on criteria such as cost-of-living differences among geographic locations, different work responsibilities within similar job categories, or prior salary history.

With this vote it is clear that the effects of the November election are beginning to reverberate throughout Capitol Hill.