A proposed amendment to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was introduced this week. The primary sponsor for this bill is State Representative Gretchen Driskell. This amendment is part of a package of bills intended to promote pay equity in Michigan. For more information about the other bills in this package follow this link.
As to the motivation for this proposed amendment, Representative Driskell noted on her webpage that:
In Michigan, women make about $13,000 less than men on average. That makes our state 44th in pay equity. Too many families are already struggling. Equal pay will help hard-working Michigan women make ends meet.
As to the bill, it would amend Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include as a violation an employers failure or refusal to provide equal compensation because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.
The Persistent Wage Gap Between Men and Women
The need for a statutory enforcement mechanism for equal pay is somewhat remarkable given that efforts to remedy pay discrepancies date back to 1963 when women were paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to men. In that year, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay lower wages to women doing substantially the same work as their male counterparts.
The next year, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, making it illegal to discriminate, including in compensation, on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, and national origin. However, almost 50 years after the Equal Pay Act became law, estimates still identify women as being paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
The employment attorneys at Shinn Legal, PLC will continue to monitor this package of amendments. To stay on top of these and other Michigan employment law matters, we encourage you to subscribe to this Blog as well as connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or on our Google + page.
Or if you are old-fashioned, you can also contact Jason Shinn directly about your particular employment law question. Jason Shinn is an experienced employment law attorney, having worked with national and local companies to address federal and Michigan employment law issues since 2001, as well as defending them against agency charges of discrimination or employment discrimination lawsuits.