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

[M]any legitimate concerns have…been raised about this bill, and the hasty attempt to pass it without considering these important issues only heightens the Chamber's concerns that this legislation would dramatically expand the number of frivolous and otherwise questionable cases that could be brought against employers. The Senate would be well served to further examine this bill and properly consider alternative approaches through the Committee process.

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Chamber of Commerce’s executive vice president for government affairs, R. Bruce Josten.

Removing the caps on damages sought by plaintiffs would likely prompt employers to protect themselves by purchasing expanded legal liability insurance. That added burden of insurance would increase the cost of doing business in the United States and may result in a reduction of employees’ wages and benefits and/or the hiring of fewer workers.

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

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 new law would pretty clearly restart the time clock for filing the claim when an employee receives a retirement benefit, a pension benefit, even an (employee stock ownership plan payment). In doing so, the Ledbetter Act exposes employers to endless liability…[it is an] unprecedented expansion [of employment law].

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Michael Layman of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Inc.Com.