Senate vote on Paycheck Fairness Act set for Wednesday of this week.

Richmond, VA – The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia today urged Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner to end wage discrimination against women and vote in favor of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
“It is disgraceful that women continue to earn only 77 cents to every dollar that men earn in this country,” said Katherine Greenier, Director of the ACLU’s Patricia M. Arnold Women’s Rights Project.  “The Equal Pay Act of 1963 promised equal pay for equal work, but unfortunately it has failed to close the wage gap.  The Paycheck Fairness Act is a much needed update to that nearly fifty-year-old law.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act, S. 182, improves upon the Equal Pay Act by closing loopholes and strengthening weak remedies.  The Paycheck Fairness Act:

•    Requires employers to demonstrate that wage differentials between men and women holding the same position and doing the same work stem from factors other than sex.

•    Prohibits retaliation against workers who inquire about their employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages.

•    Permits reasonable comparisons between employees within clearly defined geographical areas to determine fair wages.

•    Strengthens penalties for equal pay violations.  The bill's measured approach levels the playing field by ensuring that women can obtain the same remedies as persons subject to discrimination on the basis of race or national origin.

•    Authorizes additional training for staff at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to better identify and handle wage disputes.

“In these tough economic times, women need to take home every dollar they deserve,” added Greenier.  “The wage gap in Virginia is wider than in the country as a whole, with women earning 75.4% of what men earned in 2008.  Virginia’s families, especially those in which women are the sole bread winners, cannot afford to be deprived of rightfully earned income.”
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182) on Wednesday, November 17.  The House of Representatives, with bipartisan support, overwhelmingly passed the Paycheck Fairness Act in January 2009.
A copy of the ACLU of Virginia’s letter to Senators Webb and Warner can be found online at

Contacts: Kent Willis, Executive Director, 804-644-8022 Katherine Greenier, Director, Patricia M. Arnold Women’s Rights Project, 804-644-8022