Under the Equal Pay Act as interpreted by the courts, employers may not pay men and women different wages for doing the same job except to the extent that wage differentials are based on seniority, merit, or factors “other than sex.” Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in pay and other compensation based on race, sex, color, religion, or national origin. Yet there are still wage gaps. The National Coalition for Pay Equity, working since 1979 to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity, reported these statistics on its Web site in spring 2007:
Women’s earnings in 2005 were 77% of men’s, leaving the wage gap statistically unchanged from last year, while wages declined for the third consecutive year for women and the second consecutive year for men. Based on the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers, women’s earnings were $31,858, a drop of 1.3%, and men’s earnings were $41,386, a drop of 1.8%, according to revised 2004 data. Median earnings for women of color continue to be lower, in general, than earnings for men as a whole. In 2005, the earnings for African American women were $29,672, 71.7% of men’s earnings, and for Latinas $24,214, 58.5% of men’s, both slight gains, while Asian American women’s earnings were $36,092, 87.2% of men’s, a slight drop from last year.
(a) Check out the Web site of the National Coalition for Pay Equity.
(b) What is the current status of the proposed Fair Pay Act?