April 16, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week 15 (April 12)

This week, the House voted to strengthen federal anti-discrimination laws and workplace protections. The House passed H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would combat pay discrimination by eliminating and closing loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act would require transparency from employers with respect to pay disparities, ban retaliation against workers who discuss their wages and provide aid to businesses seeking assistance with improving equal pay practices.

Also, H.R. 7 expands protections by including sexual orientation and gender identity when defining sex-based discrimination. Furthermore, the legislation holds businesses accountable by ensuring the Department of Labor (DOL) utilizes all tools to enforce federal wage anti-discrimination laws.

The House also passed H.R. 1195, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. H.R. 1195 improves Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, requiring OSHA to issue interim workplace violence prevention standards within one year and a final standard within 42 months. The legislation also includes provisions that require employers to undergo thorough hazard assessments that identify risks, provide solutions, and implement training and incident investigations to combat workplace violence.   

This Week’s Votes

This week, House Democrats passed: 

H.R. 7 – Paycheck Fairness Act – Amends the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to eliminate loopholes, address patterns of pay discrimination, strengthen workplace protections for women, and improve enforcement of federal anti-discrimination laws.

  • Improves wage anti-discrimination protections for employees: 

    • Protects employees from retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues.

    • Prohibits employers from using salary history as a screen in the hiring process.

    • Requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons. 

    • Provides plaintiffs who file sex-based wage discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act with the same remedies as other protected classes (such as race or ethnicity) under the Civil Rights Act. 

    • Streamlines employee participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination. 

    • Expands the definition of sex-based discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. 

  • Recognizes employers for excellence in pay practices and provides assistance to businesses that need support improving their equal pay practices.

  • Improves the enforcement of federal wage anti-discrimination laws: 

    • Ensures that the Department of Labor utilizes more investigatory tools, such as collecting the wage data from federal contractors, to identify wage discrimination.

    • Instructs DOL to conduct studies and review available research and data to provide information on how to identify, correct, and eliminate illegal wage disparities.

    • Directs the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to survey available wage information and data to improve federal enforcement of wage discrimination laws. 


H.R. 1195 – Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act – Improves workplace protections for health and social service workers. 

  • Requires Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an interim workplace violence prevention standard in one year and a final standard within 42 months that would help employers within the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement appropriate workplace violence prevention plans.

  • Requires employers to undergo a hazard assessment to identify risks, solutions, and implement training, reporting, and incident investigations for workplace violence.

  • Provides protection to employees from retaliation for reporting violent incidents.

  • Expands protections for health care and social service workers in facilities that receive Medicare funding, which therefore expands protections to employees in 24 states not covered by OSHA protections. 

Catch Us In The News

Looking Ahead

Members of Congress will be back in Washington. Tune in next week as Congressman Lou Correa takes part in a House Agriculture Committee hearing on expanding broadband in America and ensuring all Americans have access to the internet.