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

Petitioner, however, seeks a rule that would effectively eliminate any meaningful period of limitation in certain kinds of discriminatory pay claims, allowing an employee to wait years or even decades to challenge an allegedly discriminatory decision so long as the economic consequences of that decision have continued into the limitations period. Such a rule would be irreconcilable with Congress’ design for the administration of Title VII, and would subject the employers…to damages for entirely innocent decisions that have nonetheless become difficult or impossible to defend solely because of the passage of time….such a rule would impose an unwarranted and excessive burden on employers…

-
From the amicus brief filed by Chamber of Commerce and the NFIB Legal Foundation.

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.

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

[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.

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

It's opening the door to a lot more claims. That means more burdens on employers in terms of in-house costs, keeping more records and outside legal fees. It's going to be costly for businesses.

-
Beth Milito, senior executive counsel for the Small Business Legal Center at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Inc.Com.