by Patricia A. Schaeffer, Vice President-Regulatory Affairs
The Committee on Education and Labor Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on April 24, 2007 on the proposed “Paycheck Fairness Act” (H.R. 1338), which was introduced in the House by Rep. Rose De Lauro (D-CT) on March 6, 2007. The House bill currently has 91 sponsors.
H.R. 1338 is the companion bill to S. 766, which was introduced by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate on March 6, 2007. A hearing was held on the Senate bill on April 12.
The witnesses testifying at the hearing included:
1. The Honorable Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Congresswoman, Third District of Connecticut
2. The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Congresswoman, Washington D.C.
3. Catherine Hill, Research Director, American Association of University Women, Washington DC
4. Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington DC
5. Dedra Farmer, Plaintiff in the Wal-Mart sex discrimination class action suit, Lawrence, Kansas
6. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Director, Center for Employment Policy, Hudson Institute, Washington DC
An analysis of their testimony will be issued in a future article.
Summary of Key Provisions
A summary of the key provisions of H.R. 1338 is available in a prior DCI client alert. One section of the proposed bills will be of particular interest to federal contractors because it seeks to reinstate the pay grade methodology and the EO Survey. The text of Section 10 of H.R. 1338 (“Reinstatement of Pay Equity Programs and Pay Equity Data Collection) follows:
SEC. 10. REINSTATEMENT OF PAY EQUITY PROGRAMS AND PAY EQUITY DATA COLLECTION.
(a) Bureau of Labor Statistics Data Collection- The Commissioner of Labor Statistics shall collect data on women workers in the Current Employment Statistics survey.
(b) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Initiatives
(1) IN GENERAL- The Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs shall ensure that employees of the Office—
(A)(i) shall use the full range of investigatory tools at the Office's disposal, including pay grade methodology;
(ii) in considering evidence of possible compensation discrimination—
(I) shall not limit its consideration to a small number of types of evidence; and
(II) shall not limit its evaluation of the evidence to a small number of methods of evaluating the evidence; and
(iii) shall not require a multiple regression analysis or anecdotal evidence for a compensation discrimination case;
(B) for purposes of its investigative, compliance, and enforcement activities, shall define `similarly situated employees' in a way that is consistent with and not more stringent than the definition provided in item 1 of subsection A of section 10-III of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Compliance Manual (2000), and shall consider only factors that the Office's investigation reveals were used in making compensation decisions; and
(C) shall designate not less than half of all nonconstruction contractor establishments each year to prepare and file the Equal Opportunity Survey, required by section 60-2.18 of title 41, Code of Federal Regulations, and shall review and utilize the responses to the survey to identify contractor establishments for further evaluation.
(2) REGULATIONS- In promulgating any regulations with respect to the compensation discrimination cases, the Secretary of Labor, in establishing standards for similarly situated employees, shall include examples of similar jobs.
(c) Department of Labor Distribution of Wage Discrimination Information- The Secretary of Labor shall make readily available (in print, on the Department of Labor website, and through any other forum that the Department may use to distribute compensation discrimination information), accurate information on compensation discrimination, including statistics, explanations of employee rights, historical analyses of such discrimination, instructions for employers on compliance, and any other information that will assist the public in understanding and addressing such discrimination.
Rep. De Lauro, who testified at the hearing, has introduced this bill each year in the House. She emphasized, however that this was its first committee hearing. Her point underscored the dramatic shift in the political landscape as a result of the midterm elections.
DCI will continue to monitor these developments and will provide further updates as they become available.