BATON ROUGE (CN) – The Louisiana House of Representatives on Thursday rejected an Equal Pay for Women Act that would have barred employers from paying women less than men in similar jobs.
House Bill 705, by Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, was backed by women’s rights organizations but faced strong opposition from business lobbyists. It was rejected by 59-33 vote.
The bill would have made it possible for an employee who believes she is paid less than her male counterparts and has complained and given her employer 90 days to remedy the situation to file a discrimination action in Federal Court.
Supporters of the bill said that women in Louisiana earn two-thirds to three-fourths what men make.
Critics said that it is already against the law to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion and national origin, and that the federal Equal Employment Act also covers gender discrimination.
Among the opponents were the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the state Chapter of the Federation of Independent business.