Archives for 2016

Equal Pay for Equal Work in Maryland

Signing of Senator Susan Lee's Equal Pay Act

State Sen. Susan Lee (center, wearing blue) with Gov. Larry Hogan (center, seated) and Maryland legislators at the signing of the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.

From the United States Department of Labor Blog:

On average, women in America earn about 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Maryland, women make about 84.3 cents for every dollar a man makes, on average. Women of color face a racial wage gap on top of the gender gap. Compared to white non-Hispanic men, Asian-American women make about 82.2 cents on the dollar, African-American women 69 cents, and Latinas 47.1 cents.

While Maryland fares better than many other states, any gap is unacceptable. Because many women are increasingly the primary or co-breadwinner for their families, this means they are losing millions of dollars each year that could be spent on food, housing, education and other essentials.

Instead of waiting for Congress to pass national legislation, Maryland has moved forward in passing the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which significantly updates and strengthens our state’s existing pay equity law.

I was proud to help spearhead the passage of the law together with my Maryland General Assembly colleagues, and women, family, labor and business leaders throughout the state. It was signed by Gov. Larry Hogan in May.

This new law increases transparency in the workplace by allowing employees to ask about, discuss, or request information about wages without fear of retaliation or being fired and bans employers from forcing their workers to sign waivers regarding wage discussions or information requests. Some of the greatest barriers to women being able to better negotiate and secure equal pay are the result of many companies discouraging or outright banning employees from discussing or asking about their wages. This blanket of secrecy has made it almost impossible for women to know if they are being underpaid for comparable work done by their male counterparts or to seek relief under federal, state, or local laws.

In addressing the barriers women often face in being promoted to nontraditional, higher paying jobs, this law also bans “mommy tracking” where employers provide less favorable employment opportunities by directing or assigning less favorable career tracks; failing to provide information on promotion or advancement opportunities; or limiting or depriving an employee of employment opportunities that would be otherwise available, but for an employee’s sex or gender identity.

We in Maryland are proud of our history of passing progressive legislation to uplift and empower all hardworking people. Our Equal Pay for Equal Work law is about fundamental fairness and will help close discriminatory wage gaps; enable women to support themselves and their families; strengthen our middle class by boosting the local economy; and ensure workplaces promote transparency, fairness, merit and productivity.

Susan C. Lee is a Maryland State Senator

Sen. Susan Lee Completes Productive 2016 Session

Senator Susan Lee

Senator Susan Lee, an attorney, was elected to the Maryland State Senate in November 2014 after serving 13 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, and is the first Asian American senator elected to the Maryland Senate and first minority senator to the Montgomery County Delegation to Annapolis. She is a Member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee; Joint Committee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology and Biotechnology; Governor’s Family Violence Council; and is a member of the Maryland Cybersecurity Council and its Law and Policy Subcommittee Co-Chair; and the Workgroup on Youth Victims of Human Trafficking, which were both created by two laws Senator Lee introduced and passed. The Council builds on the landmark, first-ever laws passed by the Commission on Maryland Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence which she served and led as Co-Chair. The Council not only provides legislative and policy recommendations for protecting Maryland against large scale cyber-attacks that can paralyze our government, economy and vital infrastructures, but also makes Maryland the Epicenter of Cyber innovations and jobs, a knowledge base industry that will help the state globally compete and sustain its future.

She also served as Co-Chair of the Nanobiotechnology Task Force and helped pass laws to assist biotech and IT small companies, including technology transfers and commercialization. During her tenure as Co-Chair of the Identity Theft Task Force, she authored and passed significant, first ever laws to fight identity theft and online crimes.

Serving two terms as President of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, Senator Lee led efforts to pass an aggressive agenda of laws to economically empower minorities, women, children and immigrants, fight domestic violence and human trafficking, and reduce health care disparities. She co-authored and passed Maryland’s first ever Telemedicine laws to increase Telemedicine which has a track record of saving lives, increasing health care access and early diagnosis, improving outcomes and reducing health care costs and disparities, particularly in underserved communities.

In addition to help passing laws during the 2016 legislative session to advance excellence in education, cut down on drunk driving, reform policing and criminal justice procedures, bring greater transparency to transportation funding, and support Montgomery County service agencies, Senator Lee introduced and spearheaded efforts to the pass the Maryland Equal Pay for Equal Work law to close wage gaps and “Alicia’s Law to create an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Fund to help rescue children abducted by online sexual predators. She was the lead sponsor on legislation passed to strengthen anti-stalking laws, expand the state’s extortion law to protect labor and human trafficking victims, protect the confidentiality of addresses of domestic violence and human trafficking victims, prosecute dogfighting, and restore a crime victim’s right to restitution on appeal.

Senator Lee, who was one of the founders and the first Chairman of the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats of Maryland, spearheaded efforts to create the Maryland Legislative Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus. She is the recent recipient of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence’s Legislative Award, Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women’s Legislative Leadership Award, and Maryland National Organization for Women’s Recognition Certificate for work on pay equity and domestic violence legislation.

Susan is the daughter of a World War II veteran of the US Navy and retired Washington Post artist and a proud product of the Montgomery County public schools, Leland Junior High School, Herbert Hoover Junior High and Winston Churchill High School. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and University of San Francisco School of Law. Susan was a member of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, Jewish Foundation for Group Homes Board, Montgomery County Gang Task Force, and Progressive Maryland and Co-Chair of the NAACP Multicultural Community Partnership. She was appointed to serve on the United States Patent and Trademark Advisory Board during the Clinton Administration.

Susan represents District 16, which includes Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights, Potomac, Rockville, Cabin John, and Glen Echo. She and her husband live in Bethesda.

For more on Senator Lee’s legislative accomplishments, read her:

Paid for and authorized by Friends of Susan C. Lee, P.O. Box 34283, Bethesda, MD 20827. Joseph D. Gebhardt, Treasurer  |  Contact the campaign