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Congress Attempting to Undo Harm Caused by Supreme Court's Ledbetter Decision

on January 9, 2009 5:26 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday, January 9, 2009, to approve a bill aimed to eliminate the ill effects from the US Supreme Court's decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire.

The bill is called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Ledbetter would put in place a six-month statute of limitations for women to sue their employer over pay discrimination. The six months would expire from the time the employees received their last pay check.

It would overturn a separate statute of limitations imposed by a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that stated the six-month period dated from when the employer first decided to pay the female employee less than her male counterparts. In Ledbetter, the female employee had worked for the company for twenty years.  When she was set to retire she discovered that she had been underpaid compared to her male counterparts for the past 20 years.  She sued for lost wages.  The US Supreme Court denied her claim because she did not bring her case within 180 days from the date the employer decided to pay her less (some 20 years ago) even though she was not aware that she was being discriminated against.  The Court's decision was wrong, unfair and absurd.  A legal claim does not become actionable unless and until the aggrieved person knows or should know that there has been a violation of the law.  To hold otherwise, would deny the rights of aggrieved citizens and allow violators of the law to be rewarded by managing to conceal their wrongdoing. The Ledbetter decision is yet another example of the US Supreme Court incorrectly interpreting workplace fairness and anti-discrimination laws.  If you believe that you have been a victim of unequal pay, contact our employment discrimination attorneys. 

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