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April 9, 2012

Equality? What’s That?
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 03:02 PM * 36 comments

Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, has signed a bill that repeals enforcement of equal-pay-for-equal-work between males and females. He’s facing a recall election, too. Guess he doesn’t need women’s votes to stay in office.

Pay discrimination. It isn’t just a bad idea, it’s the law.

Comments on Equality? What's That?:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 03:45 PM:

Republicans, fighting the War on Women at full tilt.

#2 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Oh. My. Ghod.

This man (and the governing body who passed this...bill) are suffering from a case of terminal stupidity.

Here's hoping they have their asses handed to them by their constituents.

(And doesn't this bill violate the Lilly Ledbetter Act?)

#3 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 04:15 PM:




#4 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 04:36 PM:

Ah, I see Gov. Walker has opted for the "do as much damage as possible before being tossed out on your ass" plan.

#5 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 04:39 PM:

Oh, pay discrimination is still illegal (Lilly Ledbetter et al.) It's just that there's now no provision to enforce the law in state courts.

The bill was passed on straight party-line votes (another reason to never again vote for a Republican for any office whatsoever).

#6 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 04:45 PM:

The Republican Party must go the way of the Whigs (or, more directly comparably, the Know-Nothings).

If Wisconsin can't get rid of this woman-hating, union-busting scumbag after THIS...there's reason to check if they're using Diebold voting machines.

#7 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 05:03 PM:

I'm not really sure whether I can articulate the thinking behind this, but what popped into my mind when I read this was: hmm, looks to me as though some Republicans are already thinking forward to the 2016 presidential election, and are expecting Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee.

#8 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 06:22 PM:

praisegod barebones @ 7:

So they're getting started early in providing her with issues to build her platform on, ones that will give her a significant advantage? Yes, that sounds like a typical Republican strategy.

#10 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 08:35 PM:

Fragano, your link is borked. Is this the page you meant?

Walker is a fucking scumbag.

#11 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 08:42 PM:

Of course, if you're a Republican, you could argue that it's not sensible to compare pay between men and livestock.

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 08:45 PM:

Oops, borked link. See here:

Walker's attempt failed, fortunately.

#13 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 08:46 PM:

Thanks, Xopher. Your post crossed with my correction it seems.

#14 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 09:48 PM:

Democratic primary is May 8, and the all-important recall is June 5th. All Wisconsin voters, remember that the attempt to surpress our vote via voter ID laws was blocked in court but other attacks on our rights are going full tilt.

I'll be voting.

#15 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 10:20 PM:

Here's a link to a Wisconsin ethics committee page that shows which lobbying groups promoted this bill.

The bill's sponsors and the language of the bill appear under the left link. There are people who actually want to put their name on this.
The amount of lobbying time spent on this bill was 245 hours FOR discrimination with impunity, 3 hours AGAINST discrimination with impunity.

For ease of further searching, it appears to be Senate Bill 202, entitled "elimination of compensatory and punitive damages for acts of employment discrimination or unfair honesty or genetic testing."

Unfair honesty testing? Unfair genetic testing? There are so many ways to engage in employment discrimination.

#16 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 11:17 PM:

Dena Shunra @ 15 -

From what I can gather from the name of the bill, it appears that while discriminating against various groups (gender, sexuality, religious, racial) in hiring practices will still be illegal, as will unfair honesty tests or unfair genetic tests, the maximum penalty for same in the state of Wisconsin is now a slap on the wrist, a scolding from Hizzonner (or Herronner) delivered to the company's hired attorney, and a warning Not To Do It Again.

Quite how this is supposed to discourage unlawfully discriminatory hiring practices is beyond me, but presumably the various political brains of the Wisconsin state assembly can enlighten us.

#17 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 11:21 PM:

Fragano @ #9, this is why the three of us all have one another's powers of attorney, signed and kept in our safe, as well as a card with our attorney's phone number on us at all times. In several situations in the past years, IF the hospitals decided to get hinkty about 'what relationship do have with this person," we shove the paper in their face and go," if you want to make a big deal, we are suing you."

We've never been questioned, but our insurance providers use non-demoniational hospitals. I have a partner (f) and my spouse (m) and we are all in a triad. They assume J is r's husband so don't ask. And when i took her to the er because of a surgery problem, no one asked me a damn thing, except about what was going on and her care.

#18 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2012, 11:33 PM:

Maggie @16
The bill says that "Under the bill, DWD may still award to such a person back pay, costs, and attorney fees." (See text, linked from the link I posted above).

The availability of back-pay will be of questionable use to someone who was not hired due to unfair practices.

That issue of committing crimes with impunity appears to be a growing trend here, in recent years. Various crimes get scrubbed or settled, from the financial (the mortgage fraud scrubbed) to the blood-drenched (what happens in Iraq--stays in Iraq, with special notes about Falujah), from the citizens' level (the stand your ground laws) to the government (what's that about our gov't training members of an organization that it has on its own list of terrorist organizations?)
I think that rolling this trend back--returning both a sense of fair play and a sense of rules being rules--is of critical importance in healing our culture.

#19 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 12:08 AM:

I am mildly of the suspicion that Scott Walker knows he will be recalled on June 5th, and is taking up the time between now and his actual removal from office (on some date after that election) signing so many obnoxious laws into effect that his replacement will kept too busy with the fallout for the rest of the term to actually accomplish anything else.

By "busy with the fallout" I do not mean "repealing those laws" or even "attempting to repeal those laws."

Although (with a recent GOP resignation) there is now a 50/50 split in the state senate instead of the handy GOP majority Walker had, and several GOP senators are also up for recall (which may and likely will result in a Democratic majority), the state assembly is still solidly GOP at least until November... and may remain so. Under those circumstances, Walker's changes will remain in force.

#20 ::: arhooley ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 12:55 AM:

>>245 hours FOR discrimination with impunity, 3 hours AGAINST discrimination with impunity.

Nonsense, Dena Shunra. Complainants can still recover back pay, reinstatement, and attorneys' fees, as was the case before the 2009 Act. Like all forms of discrimination, compensatory and punitive damages are no longer available for Wisconsin’s Fair Employment Act claims.

#21 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 01:58 AM:

I don't live in Wisconsin, but I threw a few dollars into the kitty for the recall effort, and I'm more glad than ever that I did so. If there is any justice in this world (an arguable point, unfortunately) Wisconsin won't see another Republican governor or majority in either house of the legislature for at least a generation or two, and that should give the state a chance to clean up this obscene mess that Walker is creating for them.

#22 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:27 AM:

arhooley, #20: But I think discrimination without the risk of having to pay "compensatory and punitive damages" was the "discrimination with impunity" being referred to. (No pun at all involved.)

Making misbehavior cost so much discouraged it. Cheapening the cost emboldens the offenders.

#23 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:22 AM:

I take it that "unfair honesty tests" applies to polygraph tests? Or is there some even more obnoxious practice in play?

#24 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:43 AM:

arhooley, 20: You have one visible comment here, and you are telling a longtime member of this community that she doesn't know what she's talking about on a subject that touches her directly. I hope you understand why I believe her and not you.

#25 ::: David Harmon smells astroturf ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:08 AM:

Texanne #24: I'd initially dismissed arhooley as a more familiar a-word, but since you point out they're also a first-time commenter... I'm betting they're a shill.

#26 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:48 AM:

Steve Buchheit @ 4... It is a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick, henchman to Blackadder. Either that or he's playing Vulcan chess.

#27 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:52 AM:

Pyre @ 22... (No pun at all involved.)


#28 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:53 AM:

Unfair honesty tests? Why yes, those extend far beyond polygraphs. Those are (often multiple-choice) tests that prospective employees are required to take, that pretend to predict who will be "honest" and who not.

Their purpose in life seems to be to make phrenology look like hard science by comparison.

#29 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Paula Helm Murray #9: You shouldn't need to do all of that.

#30 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 07:47 AM:

TexAnne, #24: It needn't come down to "believing" one and not the other, at all, for the reason I gave in #22:

arhooley's own quote in #20 refers to the same removal of financial penalties [i.e. punishment] ("compensatory and punitive damages are no longer available") that Dena Shunra in #15 had both specified from the bill title ("elimination of compensatory and punitive damages") and alluded to as allowing "discrimination with impunity."

IOW, arhooley mayn't know the words' etymology well enough to realize it, but he himself documented her point.

(Redundantly, since she'd already done so once, but ironically nonetheless.)

IOW again, arhooley contradicts himself: if you do believe him about the words quoted above, as he presumably does, that just supports Dena Shunra.

So you, TexAnne, don't have to choose between them.

#31 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 08:07 AM:

But arhooley could of course argue that what remains to the wronged employee -- as he says in #20, "Complainants can still recover back pay, reinstatement, and attorneys' fees" -- constitutes "punishment" of the employer, thus the absence of "impunity."

If, that is, he feels he can make any coherent case that just having to pay what you owe to the person it's owed to (no compensatory or punitive damages added) is in itself a "punishment" for wrongdoing.

In which case I suppose we none of us need pay any of our debts including taxes, loans, credit card bills, etc., except as "punishment" and after all due process in court, right? (And even then, no fines or late fees added!) Or is this a special parsing of the law just for employers?

Why yes, of course it is.

#32 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 01:28 AM:

Jim@28 - At least phrenology had enough scientific validity that you could do retro-phrenology to adjust the personality by creating bumps on the correct parts of the head.

Ok, in reality I've only seen the honesty test nonsense in news articles; it probably hadn't been invented the last time I had a retail job, which was also before they'd thought of testing job applicants for politically incorrect drug use.

#33 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 05:58 AM:

Bill @32

As long as these tests are no better, and no worse, than random selection of the candidates for a desired quality, they can be used to reduce the candidate pool to a more manageable size. Retailers in my part of the world have had several hundred applicants for each job. Spurious automated multiple-choice tests that can reduce that number are worth having.

#34 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 06:58 AM:

Dave Bell @33:
Spurious automated multiple-choice tests that can reduce that number are worth having.

As long as they reduce the pool in a reasonably equitable fashion. A spurious test that happens to cut out the applicants of a particular group (gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, etc) would be somewhat less worth having.

#35 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 07:02 AM:

Dave Bell #33: Also, they can help intimidate (and perhaps blackmail) those folks who do get hired.

#36 ::: Gerald Fnord ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 06:39 PM:

To paraphrase a Bruce Sterling character, 'Our screams, their music.'

But it's not against women, you see, because a Democrat once said something inexact about Ann Romney. (Hmmm...will Mitt ask her to change an 'n' to a 'y' to try to get the Ron Paul vote?----but how many people would support Any Romney?)

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