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In this day and age, it's hard to admit that you just think employers should be allowed to pay women less than men because they're women. But Republicans certainly aren't going to let the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to make it easier for women to find out if they're being paid less than their male coworkers and do something about it, become law. So what's a Republican to do to try to hide the fact that the opposition is really all about keeping women underpaid? Well, here's one emerging right-wing talking point against the Paycheck Fairness Act:
'Paycheck Fairness Act' Would Require Employers to Share Workers' Salaries: http://t.co/...
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The link goes to a conservative Christian site, under the headline being tweeted out: that the bill would "require employers to share workers' salaries." But aside from the headline, it's an excerpt from and a link to a CBS story titled "Mikulski's 'Paycheck Fairness Act' Would Allow Employees to Discuss Salaries." See the rhetorical shift? The Paycheck Fairness Act actually gives workers a new right: to talk to their coworkers about how much they're paid without being disciplined or even sued, as they can be now. But the opposition frames it as a new requirement falling on employers, to divulge all salary information, and a loss of privacy for workers, who will supposedly have their salary information made public whether they want it or not. All that in one misleading headline attached to an accurate, if not very detailed, article! And it's been picked up by Drudge, so you know it's the hot new argument for keeping discrimination against women safe and easy.

It's true that, under the Paycheck Fairness Act, employers found to be paying women less than men would face a stricter standard (PDF) for showing that the pay disparity was related to job performance and not to gender, tightening up a loophole in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that has allowed discriminators to claim that pay disparities were just because men are better at negotiating, for instance. That's a burden of proof Republicans don't want to put on businesses.

It's already illegal to discriminate. The Paycheck Fairness Act doesn't make it more illegal. It just gives women some new tools to find out if they're being discriminated against—makes it safe just to tell your coworkers how much you earn without fear of retaliation—and makes it a little harder for employers to wiggle out of trouble for breaking the law. Republicans want you to believe that's some big loss of liberty and privacy. But the only "right" they're trying to protect is the one to cover up illegal discrimination.

Please tell Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and give women a better chance to fight discrimination.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:44 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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