The Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan Fair Pay Act, or HB4885, was sponsored by Delegate Fleischauer in the 2020 session. The bill would have allowed employees to discuss their wages with each other and would have forbidden employer policies penalizing employees for discussing their pay. It is named to honor two of the three women from Hidden Figures, both with West Virginia ties, and both of whom suffered from wage discrimination throughout their lives. Allowing employees to discuss wages is a key component in obtaining equal pay for equal work - if employees are forbidden from discussing wages, they might never know they'd been underpaid for years, which is what happened to the woman in the famous Lily Ledbetter case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The personal losses caused by such policies can be huge, in terms of an employee's self-worth, family income, retirement, and social security. Delegate Fleischauer has sponsored different versions of this bill for several years, attempting to craft a version that would win passage, and not once has the Republican leadership allowed a vote on it. The bill would apply to any person in a protected class, not just women.
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