Biz Proposal: Gender Discrimination and the Wage Gap

This week’s proposal has by far been the hardest one.  In general, finding business sources is difficult.  But it becomes especially hard on an issue such as gender discrimination, because clearly businesses are going to try to portray themselves in the best light possible.  For this reason,  I feel that business sources are going to be the most unreliable out of all the sources I find. Businesses act as if there is no or very little existence of differences in pay based on gender.  They follow the idea that they have express policies in place that prevent gender discrimination and that these are vigorously enforced.    Anyone who expresses a personal bias is not following policy and therefore it is out of their control.  This mindset can be seen in the Walmart v Duke case that we studied in class.

With Jordi’s help I was able to find a letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  The Camber of Commerce is a business federation that represents more than 3 million business of all different sizes and from all regions of the United States.  These business rely on the Chamber of Commerce to be their voice in Washington.  The Chamber’s main complaint is that this act revises the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and now allows the 180 day statute of limitation to be reset with every paycheck affected by the discrimination.  This overturns a Supreme Court Case “Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.”  By rejecting this act, the Chamber of Commerce essentially feels it is unfair for a company to be held respnosible for compensation discrimination that occurred years ago.  Yet this seems to be in contrast with their statement that “The Chamber strongly supports equal employment opportunity and effective mechanisms to achieve this important goal.”

I did a little more research on their website to get some additional information about their views.  The Chamber of Commerce published a press release after the ruling on the Walmart Stores, Inc. vs. Duke et al. case.  The press release applauded the Supreme Court for their decision and called it the “most important class action case in over a decade.”  After reading their opinion on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, this came as no surprise to me.  I also found testimony from the Chamber of Commerce in opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act.  This act, according to them, advances the idea of comparable worth which would give equal pay for comparable work, though unequal.  The Chamber further opposes this bill because it reduces employer defense by allowing unlimited punitive and compensatory damages for unintentional violations.  Although I am aware that the Chamber of Commerce does not reflect the opinions of all businesses or executives, I think the attitudes they portray in both press releases and testimony will be important for my paper.

I did however, want to look into some of the express policies of individual businesses against gender discrimination.  However, I did not want to choose specific companies.  Instead, I found an article published by Shri Ram Centre Industrial Relations and Human Resources that listed model guidelines for company policy on gender equality.  Although this was not printed by a business source, I still believe it is relevant to this side of things.  Ideally, companies want to have the best policies in place to avoid future litigation, and this article gave very good suggestions for what guidelines to have and how to implement them.  Although I think I found some very useful sources, I would still gladly take any advice for how to find more relavant business sources.


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