Gillibrand Backs Paycheck Fairness Act

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is joining with women's activists to call for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. WNYC's Arun Venugopal has more on what the legislation sets out to do.

REPORTER: Many people are familiar with Lilly Ledbetter and her long quest to get the same pay as the men at Goodyear. But the Paycheck Fairness Act would go much further than earlier legislation, by protecting women who try to learn what the men in their workplace are earning. It would also allow plaintiffs to seek punitive damages from employers, and not simply back pay. And it would expand efforts to train women to negotiate for equal pay.

The US Chamber of Commerce has fought hard against the act, saying it would result in "frivolous litigation" against employers. But it passed in the House, and Senator Gillibrand thinks it has a good shot of passing in the Senate. Her efforts on this legislation have endeared her to women's activists, particularly because the original sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act was her predecessor, former Senator Hillary Clinton. For WNYC, I'm Arun Venugopal.