Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Google defends its equal pay practices, we now have a total of five (five!) female governors, and Melania Trump settles with the Daily Mail. Enjoy your Wednesday.
• An unfair ask? This Bloomberg editorial board piece argues against laws that prohibit companies from asking job applicants about their current salary.
One idea behind such rules—which currently exist in Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, and right here in New York City—is that allowing employers to ask potential hires how much they currently make perpetuates the pay gap. If a woman gets paid less than her male counterparts in an early job, the theory goes, there is a danger that differential will dog her throughout her career.
The Bloomberg editorial board says there's no data to support the idea that these laws will help equalize pay—though it offers no data to dispute it, either. Instead, the editorial speculates that banning companies from asking about previous pay could backfire if employers start guessing at what an applicant earns—and guess lower if that person is female. It also notes that federal law already prohibits gender-based pay discrimination.
Of course, pay discrimination is notoriously difficult to prove—and the federal law has not yet managed to close the gender pay gap. Will employers who can't ask about salary history spend their time guessing candidates' current compensation and attempting to lowball women? I suppose it's possible, though it seems more likely that they'll skip the guesswork and simply pay what they think the job is worth.
What do you think about laws banning questions about employees' salary? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• The check's in the Mail. The Daily Mail has agreed to pay around $3 million in damages to Melania Trump after reporting allegations that she had once worked as an escort. (The first lady's suit had sought damages of more than $150 million.) The paper also published an retraction and an apology. Fortune
• Searching for proof. In a blog post, Google VP of people operations Eileen Naughton hit back at the government's claims that it systematically pay women less, writing, "We were taken aback by this assertion, which came without any supporting data or methodology." She also shared details of the process Google uses to ensure pay equity. Fortune
• Then there were 5. Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who resigned Monday after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors related to the coverup of an alleged affair with former aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason, has been replaced by Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey. Unbelievably, Ivey is only the fifth woman currently serving as a U.S. state governor. Fortune
• Fleeing the Factor. The New York Times has an interesting graphic illustrating advertisers' flight from Bill O'Reilly's show in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against the host. The O'Reilly Factor has seen its total ad airtime cut in half since last month. New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Rachel Whetstone, Uber's head of communications, is leaving the company. Amy Listerman has been named CFO and EVP of finance and accounting at Fox News.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• According to Eric. Eric Trump told The Telegraph that he believes his sister Ivanka Trump played a fundamental role in convincing their father to launch missile strikes against Syria following a deadly chemical attack. Fortune
• Baby steps. While nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees earned in the sciences and engineering in the 2015-2016 school year went to women, female students earned just 21% of undergrad engineering degrees and an even smaller share in computer science. WSJ
• A nuisance of a law? Rosetta Watson is suing Maplewood, Missouri after authorities there deemed her a nuisance and ordered her to leave her home after she called the police at least four times for protection from an abusive boyfriend. The suit is expected to put a spotlight on so-called nuisance policies, which some cities have enacted in response to large numbers of domestic abuse calls. New York Times
• The binders are back! Remember Mitt Romney's "binders full of women?" It turns out the former governor and presidential candidate was being quite literal: The Boston Globe reports that it has been given a pair of Romney's three-ring binders, stuffed with nearly 200 cover letters and résumés. Fortune
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ON MY RADAR
New age of Ayn Rand: How she won over Trump and Silicon Valley The Guardian
Nikki Haley's role at the UN in the spotlight WSJ
Former White House florist talks about designing for the Obamas, how to make a great bouquet Chicago Tribune
Emily's List has released its list this year's rising-star Democratic legislators Business Insider