Kamala Harris vows to fine companies that don’t comply with her pay equity plan

(File Photo: screenshot)

Sen. Kamala Harris is looking to “shift the burden” in the wage gap by proposing a penalty on companies that don’t comply with her plan to achieve equal pay for men and women, something that has been a law for decades.

The California Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate unveiled her “simple” proposal in an interview with CNN on Sunday, calling pay equity a “really big issue.”

(Video: CNN)

“If you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the economic status of families and communities and all of society benefits,” Harris said Sunday, just ahead of a scheduled town hall in Los Angeles, California.

“What I am proposing is we shift the burden: It should not be on that working woman to prove it, it should instead be on that large corporation to prove they’re paying people for equal work equally,” she said. “It’s that simple, it’s literally that simple. And this, then, is not only about fairness and equality, it’s about transparency. Show us what you got. That’s it.”

Harris’ pandering  plan seems to address what the Equal Pay Act resolved back in the transitioning days of the 1960’s.

With a Harris administration, companies with 100 or more employees would be required to obtain an “Equal Pay Certification” from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to show that there is equality of pay for both men and women, thereby putting the burden on the companies to show they are complying.

Harris’s website  has “a simple message for corporations: Pay women fairly or pay the price.”

“For too long, we’ve put the burden entirely on workers to hold corporations accountable for pay discrimination through costly lawsuits that are increasingly difficult to prove. We’ve let corporations hide their wage gaps, but forced women to stand up in court just to get the pay they’ve earned. It’s time to flip the script and finally hold corporations accountable for pay inequality in America,” the plan reads.

Companies must prove that, if wage disparities exist between men and women, they are based not based on gender but on “merit, performance, or seniority.” and any that fail to secure “Equal Pay Certification” will face a fine “every day they discriminate against their workers.”

“This will radically change the way we enforce equal pay in America,” the plan reads. “Our current equal pay laws rely exclusively on proving instances of individual discrimination and place the burden entirely on employees to hold big corporations accountable. … Under our plan, for the first time in American history, companies will be held responsible for demonstrating they are not engaging in pay discrimination.”

According to Harris’ plan:

For every 1% gap that exists after accounting for differences in job titles, experience, and performance, companies will be fined at 1% of their average daily profits during the last fiscal year. We estimate the plan will generate roughly $180 billion over 10 years, with revenue decreasing over time as strong equal pay practices become part of corporate culture.

 

Companies would be required to give their employment data to the government in Harris’ plan, and  “will be prohibited from asking about prior salary history as part of their hiring process, banned from using forced arbitration agreements in employment contracts for pay discrimination matters, and must allow employees to freely discuss their pay.”

The plan also addresses “systemic pay discrimination” by looking at issues of women being passed over for promotions as well as a plan to “overhaul anti-discrimination laws.”

Harris has already declared that if Congress, elected by and representing the American people, fails to pass her legislation, she will implement it through executive action.

“The reality of it is that the economy of America is not working for working people, it’s just not,” Harris told CNN.

“This is a very big issue in our country and deserves all the resources and attention that anyone would expect when we are talking about whether or not people are paid for the work they do,” she added. “It’s a simple American value, as far as I’m concerned, pay people for the work they do.”

The candidate’s unprecedented plan was slammed by the Republican National Committee.

“We don’t need to strap new regulations, burdens, or fines on businesses to create opportunities for women, and President Trump’s economic record is a testament to that,” RNC press secretary Blair Ellis told Fox News, noting that President Trump’s support of women in the workforce is “why women’s unemployment has dropped to the lowest level since 1953 and wage growth has hit a 10-year high.”

While the plan seemed to fail at earning many new fans on social media, Twitter users scorched the Democratic candidate for just being “stupid.”

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Frieda Powers

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