Bill would create anonymous hotline for wage discrimination claims

By: - April 2, 2021 12:30 am

The Ohio Statehouse. Photo by Jake Zuckerman, Ohio Capital Journal.

Two Democratic Ohio legislators are hoping to supplement legislation regarding equal pay in the state by creating a reporting system for wage discrimination.

The legislation introduced by state Reps. Erica C. Crawley, D-Columbus, and Janine Boyd, D-Cleveland Heights, would utilize the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to operate a “pay equity hotline” where anonymous tips about wage discrimination could be placed. The commission is already the hub for filing general discrimination claims in Ohio.

“We know that pay discrimination has nothing to do with a woman’s capability and everything to do with access to opportunity,” Crawley said in a statement. “We know that there should be equal pay for equal work, but as the data continues to show, disparities persist in wages for the same job type between men and women and is even (greater) for Black women and women of color.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found in 2019 that an Ohio woman’s median weekly earnings were $825, 81.4% of the earnings males received in similar full-time wage and salary jobs.

The BLS data showed women-to-men earnings ratios ranging from 71% in 1999 to 83.6% in 2011.

The bill is a reintroduction of the bill both lawmakers led in the last General Assembly. With no Republican cosponsors signing on, the bill received three hearings but never made it out of the House Civil Justice Committee.

Boyd was also on a similar bill in 2018, which received only one hearing.

It also comes in the same week as the reintroduction of equal pay legislation in the Ohio legislature. State Reps. Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, and Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park are leading the Ohio Equal Pay Act, compelling employers to be more aware of gender and wage dynamics in workplaces.

A March 2021 report from the National Partnership for Women & Families said the wage gap widens when it comes to women of color.

Black women in the U.S. are typically paid 63 cents for every dollar a white man is paid. Those wages are driven down by gender and racial discrimination, workplace harassment, and even the absence workplace policies supporting family caregiving, the report stated.

Ohio Black women working full-time, year-round earn a median wage of $34,416, according to the study which cites U.S. Census Bureau data, which results in a wage gap of more than $20,000 compared to white men.



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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow (KY) Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.