Chris Christie's reason for vetoing equal pay for women is outstanding, and shows that he cares more about corporations than human rights.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, most known for his stint as a Republican presidential nominee and for endorsing Donald Trump, vetoed a bill on Monday that would have guaranteed women equal pay to men.
The reason? Because the bill is apparently
“very business unfriendly.”
SB 992 would have banned employers from paying women less than men for work that is “substantially similar.” The work would be evaluated based on responsibilities, efforts, and skills. Currently, New Jersey women earn on average 80% as much as their male counterparts for similar work, which is about $12,000 less annually.
The current federal legislation requires that the work between men and women be exactly the same and that a woman herself must prove that she is performing the same work before receiving equal pay. The New Jersey law would have shifted the burden of proof from employee to employer, and the employee could have grounds for calling out their employer for receiving less pay if it was based purely on sex.
In his written explanation of the veto, Christie described the bill as “nonsensical,” adding that it would be “very business unfriendly,” which he apparently regards as more important than human rights. As a Republican, it should come as no surprise that corporations and businesses are seen as more pressing to protect than individual humans.
Christie reportedly had other issues with the bill, such as the fact that it would require businesses to provide backpay to female employees who have been receiving an unfair paycheck. The governor said that this would have exceeded the requirements of the federal law regarding equal pay, making New Jersey a “liberal outlier” if they were to approve the bill.
This might be a rational objection if the federal law, called the Ledbetter Act, had actually positively impacted pay equity and minimized the wage gap between men and women. In the seven years since it has been enacted, it has done virtually nothing for women, which means that the New Jersey bill might have had a chance to make a difference.
Despite his veto, the bill may actually be passed anyway if the state legislature decides to override him. The bill passed easily in both the Senate (28-4) and the Assembly (54-14-6) so it’s likely that if they take an override vote that it will pass again. Senator Loretta Weinberg, the bill’s sponsor, says that the possibility of an override remains open.
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