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Take Action This Equal Pay Day
April 9th is Equal Pay Day, a chance to acknowledge the persistent income gap between men and women and to commit to doing something to close it. Each year, Equal Pay Day is celebrated on the date that marks how much longer a woman must work to earn the same pay a man earned, on average, during the previous year. In 2012, women in the U.S. would have had to work 15 months and nine days to receive a paycheck equal to what men doing the same job received in just 12 months.
Women who work full-time are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men who do the same. 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.
2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, President Kennedy’s attempt to fix this problem. The law requires employers to pay workers equal wages for equal work and expressly prohibits wage discrimination based on the employee’s gender. But the wage gap persists, closing by less than half a cent per year. At this rate, it will take over 40 more years until women are paid equally for their work.
But there is something we can do to help speed the closing of this gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act, recently reintroduced in Congress, would make it harder for employers to hide pay discrimination, would penalize employers who retaliate against workers who share wage and salary information, and would reward employers that have good pay practices. Please take a minute to contact your member of Congress and urge them to support 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.