LANSING — Yesterday, the House passed Senate Bill 353, which would prevent local governments from protecting Michigan families by regulating the information employers can request, require or exclude during the interview process. Many of the issues with SB 353 were due to its threat to worsen pay equity in the state. By preventing local governments from regulating what information is acceptable to request or require in a job interview, the Legislature has opened a door to allow future employers to undercut female candidates by offering them a lower salary.

“Pay equity gives Michiganders, especially women, the freedom to build a better life for themselves and their families. The job search is already difficult enough. This bill makes getting ahead even harder for people who are looking for a job that pays them and their family what they need,” said state Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township), also a small business owner. “As someone who has been both an employee and the employer, I can attest to how tilted the system already is in favor of the employer. This legislation will be a detriment to Michiganders everywhere trying to work hard and get by.”

In Michigan, despite having the same education level and experience, women are often paid an average of 74 cents for every dollar their male coworker earns. This gender discrimination in pay is even worse for African-American and Hispanic women.

Last year, Lasinski and her colleagues in the Progressive Women’s Caucus introduced a package of bills to end wage discrimination in Michigan. The bills would enact certain measures to ensure pay equity for women, including requirements for employers to disclose, upon request, wage information for similarly situated employees. Lasinski’s bill in the package would create an incentive awards program for employers who take steps to eliminate wage discrimination in the workplace, and establish penalties for companies that fail to comply with equal pay laws. The bills have been sitting untouched in committee since their introduction in April 2017. Although an amendment was offered to tie that pay equity package to SB 353, the amendment was voted down.

“Instead of addressing the glaring differences between what men and women earn in our state and the impact that has on families and our local economy, yesterday’s vote will rig the rules even further against working people,” Lasinski said. “To truly improve the lives of working families, our amendment should have been supported. This bill does nothing to promote prosperity in our state, nor does it help Michiganders earn more money to support their families, pay for high costs of auto insurance or save for their retirement. This bill is bad for local governments, and it is bad for working families.”