Face the Bloggers: Employment and labor questions for the candidates (Romney)

Face the Bloggers: Employment and labor questions for the candidates (Romney)

This week, several of us bloggers (Dan Schwartz, Donna Ballman, Eric Meyer, Jon Hyman, and I) will be choosing a debate question on a labor and employment law topic for each of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates.

DISCLAIMER: I have tried to ask an "adversarial" question of every candidate. Please don't be offended, and please be aware that my questions may or may not reflect my actual political views.

Governor Mitt Romney, COME ON DOWN!

Governor, the Republican Party Platform contains encouraging statements that "regulation must be reined in," and that "[p]otential employers need certainty and predictability for their hiring decisions."

However, outside the traditional labor arena, the platform seems short on specific proposals that might accomplish these goals.

Here is my question: Actually, several related questions: Do you see the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, both endorsed by President Obama and the Democratic Party, as hindrances to your party's goals of reining in government regulation and restoring predictability to employers? In the same vein, do you support repeal or scaling back of any of the employment legislation enacted during the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, such the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act or the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? How, if at all, do you intend to stop the encroachment of the federal government into the non-union employment relationship?

Here is my question: We already have Title VII and the Equal Pay Act, both of which give remedies to women if they're discriminated against with respect to compensation, as well as your own Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. (Title VII and the Ledbetter Act apply to pay discrimination based on race, national origin, etc., as well.) An expansion of the existing law is likely to make employers more vulnerable to lawsuits and class action settlement demands in an already bad economy. Given that, what evidence do you have that any significant part of the current sex-based disparity in pay is caused by discrimination against women, as opposed to voluntary work-life choices made by women and men? In light of studies showing that the so-called "gender pay gap" almost disappears when one controls for voluntary choices, why is this legislation necessary and couldn't it actually have the perverse effect of limiting opportunities for women?

Visit the Employment and Labor Law Insider for additional insights from Robin Shea, a partner with the national labor and employment law firm Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP.

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