Can you believe that there are still folks out there who think equal pay for equal work is "frivolous"?
Four years ago today, President Obama signed his first bill into law: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which addresses the pay gap between men and women. Here's some great background on Lilly Ledbetter from ThinkProgress:
Ledbetter famously worked years without knowing that she was being paid less than her male co-workers for doing similar work. The Supreme Court threw out a case against her employer, saying that she had waited too long to challenge the pay disparity. The Ledbetter law is meant to ensure that women have ways to take action against pay discrimination.
This legislation was and still is much needed, because women still make just 77 cents for every $1 made by men. But Representative Erik Paulsen actually ridiculed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, calling it "frivolous" at a campaign event last year. Take a look for yourselves:
This is what Rep. Paulsen had to say about the Fair Pay Act:
And I'll just mention this Lilly Ledbetter law...[I]t does result in more litigation for many companies. And it forces more companies to hire more attorneys in anticipation of other lawsuits--frivolous lawsuits.
Erik Paulsen may think that more than $430,000 in lost wages for an individual woman is frivolous, but I sure as heck don't.
The amount a woman loses to the pay gap is equal to (thanks ThinkProgress!):
I am completely outraged that a U.S. Congressman from Minnesota could actually call equal pay for equal work "frivolous." I mean, come on, isn't it 2013? Paycheck fairness is not something to joke about, Rep. Paulsen. The pay gap is still very much a problem that starts early and grows over a woman's career.