Norton, DeLauro, Nadler, Speier Introduce Bill to Eliminate Gender and Racial Pay Gap by Prohibiting Employers From Seeking Salary History
WASHINGTON, D.C.—After announcing during August recess that she would introduce a bill to prohibit employers from asking prospective or current employees for their salary history before making a job or salary offer, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has introduced the Pay Equity for All Act of 2016 (H.R. 6030) with original cosponsors Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Jackie Speier (D-CA). The bill seeks to eliminate the wage gap that women and people of color often encounter. Because many employers set wages based on an applicant’s previous salary, workers from historically disadvantaged groups often start out behind their white male counterparts in salary negotiations and never catch up. Even though many employers may not intend to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, or ethnicity, asking for prior salary information before offering an applicant a job can have a discriminatory effect in the workplace that begins or reinforces the wage gap.
Specifically, the bill would authorize the Department of Labor to assess fines up to $10,000 against employers in violation of the law. Additionally, prospective or current employees would be able to bring a private lawsuit against an employer who violated the law, and could receive up to $10,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees.
Norton, who enforced the equal pay provisions in both the 1963 Equal Pay Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act as the first woman to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also introduced the Fair Pay Act of 2015 last year, which would require men and women performing comparable work to be paid comparable wages. In addition, she is an original cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2015, which would update the Equal Pay Act.