Diana Furchtgott-Roth was right to criticize a bill that would require some people who do unequal work to be paid equal amounts. The perverse “Paycheck Fairness Act” is indeed a bad idea.
But her column understated the case by suggesting that “now,” an employer found guilty of discrimination is only required to pay “back pay,” not “punitive damages.” Actually, employers already have to pay not only back pay but also damages up to $300,000 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The so-called “Paycheck Fairness Act” would eliminate the cap on punitive damages in gender-based pay discrimination cases, leaving the sky as the limit.
Other provisions in this perverse bill could force employers to pay people who do nasty, dangerous, unpleasant jobs as little as those who do nice, pleasant ones, if the unpleasant jobs are performed mostly by members of one gender, and the pleasant ones mostly by the other gender.