It’s good to see Congress acting to reverse one of the (far too many) horrible precedents from the first full year of the Roberts Court. On June 27, the House Education and Labor Committee voted out of committee the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The bill overturns Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which held that a pay discrimination plaintiff must bring suit within 180 days of the original act of discrimination, not from any later paycheck that is affected by the original discrimination.
California Democrat George Miller introduced the bill and clearly understands the issue:
“Discrimination occurs both when an employer decides to discriminate and then when the employer actually discriminates–by, for example, paying you less because you are a woman, or African-American, or older than the other employees,” Miller said. He added that the “reality” is that “most workers don’t know what their co-workers are making,” that many employers prohibit their employees from discussing their pay with each other, and that “social norms” make employees reluctant to ask each other about their pay.
“Unless Congress acts, employers who have made discriminatory pay decisions more than 180 [or 300] days ago will be allowed to lawfully continue discriminating against employees with every paycheck without any legal consequence,” Miller said.
As always with a good bill like this, call your Representative and Senator to urge its passage.
- David S. Cohen