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Legislators address unequal pay and gender discrimination

When an individual in Minnesota enters the workforce, they have many expectations for their future. They not only hope to obtain and maintain a job that will provide them with a promising future, but they also hope to grow and progress. This could be hindered, if certain employees are treated differently. If male workers are provided with more opportunities or greater pay, this could cause a hostile work environment and a situation of employment discrimination.

New legislation regarding equal pay is expected from the Senate. The Paycheck Fairness Act is an expansion of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Fairness between male and female employees is sought by this legislation. While it is clear that sex-based was discrimination was already made illegal, this legislation may impact current gender discrimination issues.

Even though a stand was taken back in 1963 to address the pay gap experienced by females in the same employment roles as their counterparts, very little has changed over the past five decades. Back in 1963, women made roughly 59 cents for every dollar men made. The current gap has decreased, and women now make 77 cents for every dollar men make.

Although, there has been progress, it was reported the Republicans are seeking to block the proposed legislation. It is presumed that they will argue that their pay is, in fact, equal, and it is their work that is not equal. They also seek to blame the industries they work in, and they commonly take on jobs in lower-paying fields. Even if there is data to support this trend, it is still apparent that there is a wage gap between men and women in the same role in the same industry. For example, in the nursing industry, males take home and additional $150 a week.

Although legislators seek to lessen the wage gap and promote equal pay, it is clear that gender discrimination is still taking place in the work environment. Whether it is unequal treatment or unequal pay, employees should understand that they have options when it comes to employment discrimination. They might have a cause of action, which could result in compensation. The monetary award would represent the damage experienced by the employee.

No matter the situation, when an employee suffers a hostile work environment or discrimination in the workplace, they should speak to someone about what course of action they should take.

Source: The Nation, "What's the GOP's Excuse for Opposing Equal Pay This Time?," Zoe Carpenter, April 8, 2014

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