Help Close the Wage Gap on Equal Pay Day

Help Close the Wage Gap on Equal Pay Day
April 8, 2014

When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1969, women made $0.59 to every dollar made by men. Over fifty years later, the disparity has only lessened slightly – today, women make $0.77 on the dollar. On this Equal Pay Day we call on Congress to close the wage gap by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, and we hope you will join us.

Broken down by race, the gap is even larger – African American women and Latinas earn just 64 and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.  Elana S. came to LAS-ELC alleging that she was paid less than male supervisors performing similar duties in other departments at her workplace, a food processing company.  The pay differential claimed was significant - about $400 per month.  LAS-ELC represented Elana and filed a lawsuit on her behalf which resulted in a confidential settlement.  But most women in her situation are not aware that their work is being devalued in this way, and so are not able to take action.  Those who do know can be penalized for sharing that information.

As a member of the Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative, LAS-ELC will participate in an April 17 panel entitled “Why Does the Wage Gap Exist & What Can We Do About It?”  To learn more about the panel and how you can participate, click here.

LAS–ELC also continues to support exciting state- and nation-wide initiatives to narrow, and eventually close, the wage gap.  As a member of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign, LAS-ELC joins with organizations throughout the nation in sending letters to governors of every state, asking for their commitment to close their state’s wage gap.

LAS-ELC also advocates for nationwide legislation promoting pay equality, including the Paycheck Fairness Act currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate.  The Act would strengthen the Equal Pay Act in a number of ways, including making it unlawful for employers to retaliate against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers, a practice which often reveals unlawful pay disparities based on gender.  Such retaliation is already prohibited in California, and today President Obama will sign an executive order making it unlawful for federal contractors to retaliate against workers who share paycheck information.  However, the Paycheck Fairness Act would provide this same protection nationwide and would apply to private employers.  We urge you to take a moment to contact your Congressperson and encourage their support for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

LAS-ELC's Gender Equity and LGBT Rights Program is committed to fighting for pay equity for women through education, advocacy, and direct representation.  If you believe you have received unequal pay, benefits, or treatment at work because of your sex, pregnancy, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, you can learn more about your rights by calling us at 415-864-8848.