Does the following fictional scenario depict the future under President Obama’s pay-equity laws?
President Obama dispatches his Pay Equity SWAT Team (PEST) to your company as part of a yearly mandatory investigation of all businesses in the nation to wipe out discrimination against women. The PEST learns that the women in your company earn 77 cents to the men’s dollar. The PEST leader then demands that the disparity be corrected immediately so that every woman, regardless of her seniority or skill level, earns a dollar to the men’s dollar — or else PEST will take your company to court.
“Based on what?” you bravely but nervously ask the lead PEST.
“On our facts, of course!” she sniffs indignantly.
“What facts?” you counter.
Clearly irritated, she hands you her “fact-finding brief,” which says:
Number of female employees —- 120
Number of male employees —— 2 (you and a part-time maintenance man)
Average annual earnings for the women — $ 77,000
Average annual earnings for the men —— $100,000
Ergo, the gender income gap at your company: women earn just 77 cents to the men’s dollar.
“But,” you protest, “I’m the office manager and I’ve been here years longer than the most senior women, all of whom are younger than I am by at least a decade. By the way, our maintenance man makes less than the average woman here.”
“Yes, that’s because you are so-o-o overpaid.”
“As determined by whom?”
“By us, you idi— Never mind. It’ll stand up in court, especially the Ninth Circuit, if need be.”
You shift in your chair, feeling you’ve had enough, “Well, here’s a little fact for you: there are only two male employees here out of 122. What does that say to you?”
“Glad you brought that up. The women’s predominance means the pay gap is especially egregious. Think about it — not one of the 120 women here earn nearly as much as you do. And we will also deal with the fact that no females are in management here.”