If you’re a white male looking for a job, it just got harder. Claiming women aren’t getting paid enough, President Obama wants to make it easier to accuse employers of gender discrimination and hit them with class-action lawsuits. A new regulation proposed on Friday will require all employers with 100 or more workers to report how much their workforce is paid, broken down by race and gender.
The rule, slated for September 2017, will cause headaches for employers and anyone — man or woman — who works hard and expects to get ahead based on merit. The winners are federal bean counters, class-action lawyers and the Democratic Party, which is playing up the gender “wage gap” during this election year.
Never mind this gap is largely fiction. Or that government social engineers are foisting their cookie-cutter vision of a politically correct workplace on employers, denying them freedom to hire and promote based on merit.
Race and gender discrimination is already against the law. As it should be. But seniority, education and merit often explain salary differences. That won’t be good enough in the future. Employers will have to change their policies to avoid these differences — for example, not preferring the job applicant who has a college degree to the applicant who doesn’t, unless the job can be shown to require college skills. The burden is on employers. It’s assumed they are discriminating, and they have to prove they’re not.
Jenny Yang, chairwoman of Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, defends the massive fishing expedition, saying “pay discrimination goes undetected because of a lack of accurate information about what people are paid.”
How will this new EEOC reporting affect you? Your employer will have to lump workers into 12 salary bands. If you’re a white male up for a raise, but the band above yours already includes too many while males, tough luck. Your boss will be pressured to give the raise to a woman or minority to avoid triggering EEOC scrutiny.
This data collection is a godsend for EEOC regulators looking for targets, and it hands class action lawyers the statistics they need on a silver platter.
But not every difference in pay is actually caused by discrimination. President Obama parrots the bogus claim that for every dollar men make, women make only 79 cents. This so-called “wage gap” is shoddy statistics. It merely averages what all men in America make, and compares that with what all women make, lumping together all kinds of jobs. It proves nothing about what women and men earn when they do the same work.
The White House is a perfect example of how meaningless averages are. Women in the Obama White House earn on average only 84 cents for every dollar male staffers earn. Does that make 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. a hotbed of discrimination?
Many women choose careers that pay less, like education and social work, instead of engineering or computer science. And valid workplace comparisons need to take into account differences in responsibilities and hours worked. Some women opt for flexible hours and less responsibility midway through their careers in order to balance work and family.
Of course, everyone wants women and minorities to be treated evenhandedly. But Obama and other Democrats are obsessing about a superficial concept of diversity that looks only at a person’s gender or race. How about diversity of talents and worldviews?
Tech giants in Silicon Valley like Facebook and Google are facing enormous pressure to diversify because they have too many whites in top jobs. Meanwhile New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is griping that the city’s world-class cultural institutions hire too many women and not enough Latinos and black men.
At next week’s Super Bowl, can we expect complaints that because the Denver Broncos are 72 percent black, they need to add Asians to the team?
Americans are fed up with pigeonholing people by their appearance. Whatever happened to rewarding individuals for excellence?
Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and author of “Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution.” To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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