Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act renews a worker’s right to sue for wage discrimination within six months of every unfair paycheck, not just the first.  The legislation was spurred by the case of Lily Ledbetter, a lifelong employee of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, who became aware that the company had, for decades, consistently paid her less than her equivalent male colleagues. A jury found her employer guilty of pay discrimination, but the conservative wing of the Supreme Court overturned the case, 5-4, because she hadn’t sued within 180 days of the date of the first discriminatory paycheck. (This would have been impossible, of course, because Ledbetter only became aware of the injustice after it had been happening for decades.) The Act overturns the Court’s decision. 

Cry Wolf Quotes

Eliminating this statute of limitation does not benefit the employees or employers. Instead, alleged discrimination could go undetected for many years, subjecting an increasing number of employees to wrongful actions. At the same time, employers would be forced to defend against an avalanche of decades-old, potentially frivolous claims. Prompt filing of claims allows employers to identify and, when necessary, to discipline those managers who may be violating the law.

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Jeri G. Kubicki, NAM’s Vice President Human Resources Policy, The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Letter to Congress.

The only ones who will see an increase in pay are some of the trial lawyers who bring the cases.

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Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) quoted in “How Dumb Are We? How long will women shoulder the blame for the pay gap?” in Slate.

Unfortunately, these bills will do little to prevent actual instances of unlawful discrimination, but they will open the flood gates to unwarranted litigation against employers at a time when businesses are struggling to retain and create jobs.

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Jeri G. Kubicki, NAM’s Vice President Human Resources Policy, The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Letter to Congress.

[The Ledbetter Act would] impede justice and undermine the important goal of having allegations of discrimination expeditiously resolved.

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The Bush administration threatened to veto the act if it passed the Senate. Slate.com.