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

[Women] need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else...And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have somebody to take care of them....It's a vicious cycle that's affecting women, particularly in a part of the country like this, where mining is the mainstay; traditionally, women have not gone into that line of work, to say the least.

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John McCain on the campaign trail.

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.

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.

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.