Editorial: Common sense employers

Apr. 09, 2014 @ 11:11 PM

Congressional leaders should be praised for trying to help level the field in wages for men and women.

Too bad it got to this point. And we’d appreciate it more if the vote grab wasn’t in play.

This is a year for midterms and both parties have demographics in mind with legislative proposals.

If and when common sense gets back in the equation, at least one new law won’t even be needed. That would be the one related to the pay gap between men and women.

Yes, a gap does exist. No, it should not exist.

And we shouldn’t need the law pushed by Democrats or the amendment pushed by Republican women.

But this is nothing new, not in Washington or in Raleigh.

In North Carolina, a law against careless and reckless driving was already on the books. Not too long ago, we added another against texting while driving.

Paycheck discrimination based on gender was outlawed half a century ago. Being the litigious society we are, the Ledbetter law was necessary in 2009 to enable more time for people to file lawsuits claiming violations of that law.

Campaign year measures by Democrats included one derailed by Senate Republicans Wednesday. It would have prevented retaliation by employers against workers sharing salary information, made it easier to bring class-action lawsuits against companies, and allowed the winners in those suits to seek punitive and compensatory damages.

A quartet of Senate Republican women on Tuesday introduced an amendment for the 51-year-old Equal Pay Act. It, too, will prevent employer retaliation when salary information is shared. It also will reiterate laws banning sex discrimination and require posting notices to employees about rights related to the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And it will consolidate duplicative job training programs and provide federal grants to states that create industry-led partnerships targeting increased skills for workers underrepresented in particular industries.

Treating others as we would like to be treated is the right thing to do. And that includes paychecks for anyone giving an honest day’s work.

At issue in 2014 isn’t the role of government in creating the equality. It is having employers simply doing the right thing.

We shouldn’t need a law for that.