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

When disagreements and disputes in the workplace fester and potential damage amounts increase, compromise and cooperation become far more difficult. Ms. Ledbetter claimed, however, that she was entitled by a special ‘paycheck rule’ applicable only to claims of alleged pay discrimination, to sleep on her rights for decades before raising her concerns with the EEOC.

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Neal D. Mollen, counsel for Chamber of Commerce, testimony, House Committee on Education and Labor.

This bill would allow an employee to bring a claim against an employer decades after the alleged initial act of discrimination occurred. Trial lawyers, you can be sure, are salivating at this very prospect.

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Representative Howard P. McKeon (R-CA), the senior Republican House Committee on Education and Labor, The New York Times.

I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems.....This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.

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John McCain on the campaign trail.

[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.