Rep. Vicki Kraft testifies on equal pay bill in House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, appeared before the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee Tuesday afternoon to testify on her bill for equal pay. House Bill 1447, would prohibit wage discrimination on the basis of whether you are a man or a woman.

 

Currently the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of whether an employee is male or female. Kraft’s proposal for the Washington Equal Pay Act would require equal pay for a man, or woman, when their positions require equal work, skill or effort and are located in the same county.

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, testified before the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee Tuesday afternoon in support of her bill  for equal pay.
Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, testified Tuesday on Equal Pay Act in House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee. Photo courtesy of Washington House Republicans

“Unquestionably, there is much interest in this conversation and we need to address this issue,” said Kraft. “Fifty-four years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, many women still experience gender-based discrimination in the workplace. This bill will ensure employees are treated with respect and guarantee fair workplace practices for pay.”

 

Employers are allowed exceptions in pay due to any bona fide factor including education, training, performance or experience. If the discrepancy in pay was deliberate, the employee would be allowed to recover damages equal to the actual damages incurred. Damages could include the difference in wages owed, with interest, plus attorney’s fees.

 

“Equal pay for equal work is an American value,” said Kraft. “Since the Equal Pay Act was enacted 1963, the difference in men and women’s earnings has continued to narrow. But, there are still challenges. This isn’t only a woman’s issue, men and women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

 

Kraft’s bill would also prohibit any retaliation by employers for workplace discussions about wages. However, this would not apply to employees’ who have access to other employees’ wages, as part of their essential job functions.

 

For more information about Rep. Kraft, visit www.representativevickikraft.com.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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