Equal pay advocates like Obama. The Obama administration has always supported legislation prohibiting gender bias in compensation. For example, the administration supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which extended the statute of limitations for Unequal Pay cases, and now they support the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation intended to remedy unequal compensation between men and women. But now it seems that White might have its own unequal pay situation — the female median White House salary is $9,000 less per year than thair male counterparts.
Embarrassed, the White House is now scrambling. In its defense, the Obama Administration argues that the statistics are skewed because women occupy jobs in lower pay grades. Of course, this will lead equal pay advocates to argue that this is evidence of gender discrimination in hiring.
Whether the White House violated the law remains to be seen. The White House’s situation illuminates many of the issues and perspectives in Equal Pay cases. As my webpage explains, the Equal Pay Act prohibits unequal pay on the basis of sex, but the Act permits disparities if they can be justified on other factors. So, if the women are just as qualified as the men and doing the same work, they should be getting equal pay. In sum, gender cannot be a reason to for paying someone less. What could be more American than that?
In any event, whatever happened at the White House, however embarrassing, should not undermine its efforts to buttress the equal pay laws in the United States. National policy on equal pay and gender bias should be changed based on what happened here.