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.

Barack Obama supports [new fair pay laws], notwithstanding that they would raise workforce costs in a recession….Whether or not the U.S. economy creates more income in the coming years, Congress is clearly determined to redistribute it.

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From the Wall Street Journal's “Trial Lawyer Bonanza: Off and suing with the 111th Congress."

Well, that didn't take long. Democrats are planning to kick off the legislative portion of the 111th Congress as early as today with two big donations to one of their most loyal retainers: the plaintiffs bar….For the tort bar, this is pure gold. It would create a new legal business in digging up ancient workplace grievances…. Elections have consequences, and one price of November's vote is going to be a more powerful, and much richer, plaintiffs bar.

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From the Wall Street Journal's “Trial Lawyer Bonanza: Off and suing with the 111th Congress."

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.