In 2009, Wisconsin enacted a law that would help victims of sex discrimination win bigger awards. Such victims already could file their cases with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in federal court, or with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. But lawmakers thought that once an accuser had won before an administrative-law judge — the final step of the process that starts with the Department of Workforce Development — she should then be allowed to file her case in a Wisconsin circuit court. Circuit courts were directed to award compensatory and punitive damages of up to $300,000 for large employers, whereas administrative-law judges may only make the accuser “whole” by awarding back pay, attorney’s fees, etc.
That law was called the “Equal Pay Enforcement Act,” and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed its repeal on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, the Left pounced. State senator Dave Hansen accused Walker of “turning back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace.” His fellow senator Christine Sinicki said the move was typical of an “anti-woman” legislative session. Obama’s campaign joined in the fun, with spokeswoman Lis Smith claiming the bill “showed how far Republicans are willing to go to undermine not only women’s health care, but also their economic safety.”
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