H.R. 4763/S. 2697, the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act, would stiffen penalties for employers who steal pay from their workers, and would update laws to help workers recover that pay. Workers lose some $8.6 billion through wage theft annually, and wage theft can take many forms, from the obvious (paying less than the minimum wage, withholding tips, "forgetting" to pay overtime, making workers work off the clock) to the subtle (misclassifying employees as "independent contractors" or "overtime-exempt"). And while wage theft hits low-income workers the hardest (with about one in four paid less than minimum wage and three in four improperly denied overtime pay annually, according to at least one study from 2009), it can hit anyone, really. But our current laws only require employers who steal wages to compensate the workers they've stolen from at minimum wage, which is very much like an incentive to steal, and it is not our government's purpose to encourage lawlessness. So CREDO helps you tell your Congressfolk to fight wage theft.
Meanwhile, the National Women's Law Center helps you tell the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or EEOC) to intensify its efforts to increase pay rate transparency, so that we can all better fight wage discrimination, whether based on sex, race, or other factors. Why? I'll let the NWLC's email missive explain: "Lilly Ledbetter is famous today for the equal pay bill that bears her name. But when she worked at a Goodyear Tire plant, she had no idea she was being paid unfairly -- until she was slipped an anonymous note. The fight against pay discrimination cannot rely on slipped notes." Certainly it would be better if the fight against pay discrimination relied on good data! Large employers must report to the EEOC the number of women folks of color they employ in various positions; now the EEOC has proposed making those employers report on those workers' pay, as well. Naturally big corporations don't want to do it, because paperwork and red tape and Big Gummint, but you're right to wonder if they have something to hide. Remember that if they do, they're hiding it from us.