The Paycheck Fairness Act has passed the House and has been introduced into the Senate.
A few final thoughts here and then - like everyone else - I'll be waiting to see what happens as the Senate considers this potential law.
I certainly share the concerns expressed by others about the "trial attorney windfall" aspects of the Act, which include:
The elimination of any limits on punitive and compensatory damage, without requiring any proof of intent to discriminate, and
The fact that workers are automatically made members of a class action suit, unless they opt out.
Additionally, while the overt comparable worth provision appears to have been removed from the legislation, a lot of the language and provisions that remain (including the rather potent phrase "similarly situated employees") appear "comparable worth like" in their intent and description. At the very least, they would give the motivated prosecutor a lot to work with.
And so I fear that the outcomes of this legislation would go beyond intentional and even inadvertent discrimination to pursue and punish employers for maintaining differences in pay that are based in market demands and business needs.
I see the Act, if passed, as having a substantial impact on the work and priorities of those of us in the reward profession. Driving business growth and success through insightful reward design may have to take a back seat to defense. The name of the game will be compliance, baby - recession or not.
The biggest winners will be the trial lawyers and - yes - the consultants. Everyone else, including women, I'm not so sure.
With that, I will return you to our regularly scheduled programming...