Women and minorities recognized Equal Pay Day in Milwaukee on Tuesday by holding a demonstration at the Equal Rights Division, according to a local news report. The group used the occasion to call for the strengthening of existing anti-discrimination employment laws, and State Rep. Chris Sinicki and Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson spoke at the event.
Many employment disputes arise not because there are grey issues with employment law itself, but because it is difficult at times to enforce these laws. For example, discrimination in just about any shape or form is illegal in the workplace. This is a very clear cut issue, however, workers do not always know their rights when it comes to discrimination and even when they do it can be difficult to prove their cases and remedy them.
Ever since the second presidential debate took place earlier this week, there has been a lot of buzz about the gender wage gap in America. As anyone who watched the debate knows, an audience member in the town hall asked the presidential candidates what they plan to do to enforce the right to fair pay if elected.
Last month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that repealed the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. The law had allowed employees that have experienced compensation discrimination based on their protected status to pursue damage claims in state courts. Women especially were dismayed; the wage gap between men and women is very real.
Lilly Ledbetter, the woman who helped change federal equal wage and hour law, believes the difference in wages earned for the same position between men and women is a human rights issue. She recently encouraged Congress to pass an equal pay bill that was coming before a vote in the Senate.