COLUMBUS –Today, State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) introduced the Fair and Acceptable Income Required (FAIR) Act to update state laws that protect Ohioans, particularly women, from wage discrimination. The bill coincides with Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which took place July 31st

“It is shameful that in this day and age women in Ohio make only 78 cents for every dollar made by a man.  Without question, equal work deserves equal pay,” said Senator Tavares. “At a time when women are increasingly responsible for the economic security of their families, it is absolutely critical to ensure that they earn a wage commensurate with their work—and on par with a man’s.”

The FAIR Act would:

  • Strengthen Ohio’s wage discrimination laws by requiring employers to substantiate pay differences—for causes other than seniority, merit, or quantity or quality of employee production—with legitimate job-related or skill-based reasons.
  • Prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss salaries with colleagues or raise concerns about wage inequality.
  • Prevent wage discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

Current law provides that an employer may not base differences in pay on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or ancestry. However, the law has proven far from effective in closing the wage gap between men and women in Ohio.

“While the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 improved some laws that govern pay discrimination, more must be done to close the wage gap and increase the economic security of women,” said Senator Tavares. “Fair pay would help close the wage gap and increase women’s economic security.”

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, Ohio women working full time, year-round in 2016 typically had lower earnings than men ($37,140 compared to $47,737). This means women in Ohio are paid 78 cents for every dollar paid to men. The gap is even larger for women of color. African American women in Ohio are paid 66 cents to every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

This gap remains even when accounting for personal choices, industry, and education level. At a time when women are becoming increasingly important to the economic security of their families, the continued lack of income fairness places hundreds of thousands of Ohioans at risk.

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