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Law Scholars Go to Washington, D.C.


UM Carey Law Associate Professor Deborah Eisenberg, JD, traveled to Washington, D.C., on April 1 to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions during a hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act--a bill to reduce the gender-based pay discrimination.

"Pay secrecy has allowed unlawful pay disparities between men and women performing the same jobs to flourish, undetected and undeterred," Eisenberg said at the hearing "Access to Justice: Ensuring Equal Pay with the Paycheck Fairness Act." Senator and UM School of Social Work alumna Barbara Mikulski, MSW '65, chaired the hearing.

"Many women don't know that drastic pay disparities exist between them and their male coworkers until they find out by accident," said Eisenberg, who directs UM Carey's Center for Dispute Resolution, (C-DRUM), a nationally acclaimed program that helps Marylanders, from elementary school students to landlords and tenants, resolve their differences. "In some cases, women have discovered that men they have been supervising make substantially more than they do when those men ask them for raises, or when pay rates have appeared publicly in court filings."

Eisenberg noted that using prior salaries as a defense for current pay inequities makes it difficult for women to achieve pay parity with men because, in most cases, women earn less than their male colleagues. She reiterated the often-cited statistic that women who work full-time, year-round, earn about 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male peers.

According to Mikulski, the wage gap between women and men working equivalent jobs costs women and their families $434,000 over their careers.

The overall wage gap is only the "tip of the iceberg," said Eisenberg. "Women at every wage level and in nearly every industry experience a wage gap."

On April 8, Robert Percival, JD, MA, the Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and director of the UM Carey Environmental Law Program testified before the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources during a hearing on proposed amendments to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

"The ESA has been recognized as one of the most profound moral accomplishments of the human race," Percival told the committee. "It creates a presumption that humans should avoid activity that would harm endangered species and that federal agencies should avoid actions likely to jeopardize species' continued existence."

Percival is the principal author of Environmental Regulation: Law, Science & Policy, the most widely used environmental law casebook in U.S. law schools. He testified against proposed amendments that would create new publication and disclosure requirements for agencies implementing the ESA. He also opposed more restrictive standards for paying legal fees.

"The ability of citizen groups and businesses to go to court to hold agencies accountable is one of the most important features of our legal system that makes it the envy of the world," said Percival.

Posting Date: 04/22/2014
Contact Name: Jill Yesko
Contact Phone: 410-706-3803
Contact Email: jyesko@umaryland.edu