Texas Bill Sparks Controversy About Equal Compensation Laws

According to some businesses and political leaders in Texas, federal laws regarding equal pay for equal job duties are all that is needed to ensure fair compensation. Not everyone agrees with this stance, and groups are organizing to protest both state government action and businesses that speak out against state legislation that would help ensure equal compensation for women.

The bill was approved by the Texas state legislature earlier this year, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it. According to reports, the bill would expand a federal fair pay act to state courts, making it easier for women who feel they are being unfairly compensated to seek legal redress. As of late 2013, 42 other states passed legislation similar to the bill in order to create more uniformity between federal and state laws regarding fair pay.

Supporters of the Texas law believe Perry vetoed the bill in part due to a letter from Macy's. According to a Macy's spokesperson, the company supports equal pay but believes that HB 950 duplicates federal provisions and would be bad for the Texas business. Perry also said he believed the state bill duplicated existing federal laws.

According to supporters of the bill, the federal law is not enough to ensure equal compensation between women and men. They cite instances where the federal law was not upheld due to jurisdiction or technicalities.

Macy's could face backlash over its stance. Regardless of where you fall on the subject, the numerous opinions in this debate illustrate the complex nature of employment law. Workers with grievances must understand how to bring those complaints to light through the right legal channels, starting with selecting the court with proper jurisdiction on the issue.

Source: PolicyMic, "Rick Perry Urged By Macy's to Oppose Equal Pay For Texas Women," Jessica Huseman, Nov. 29, 2013