Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Blocked

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ON CAPITOL HILL, Senate Republicans have blocked a bill
that would have overturned a Supreme Court ruling limiting
pay discrimination lawsuits. The Senate fell four votes
short of considering the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,
named for a female employee of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Company who was paid 40 percent less than her male
colleagues doing the same job. Ledbetter lost her suit
against Goodyear after the court ruled she did not file a
complaint in time. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has
promised to bring this Act up for a vote again within the
next year. All our voices, coming together, can help get
those extra 3 votes needed to turn the tide.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (H.R. 2831) is considered
an important legislative “fix” to a May 2007 U.S.
Supreme Court decision (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Co.) The court decision severely limited the ability of
victims of pay discrimination to sue and recover damages
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without this
“fix,” the impact of the Court’s decision will likely be widespread,
affecting pay discrimination cases under Title VII
involving women and racial and ethnic minorities, as well
as cases under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
and under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For full-time, year-round workers, women are paid on
average only about 77% of what men are paid; for
women of color, the gap is even wider. These wage gaps
stubbornly remain despite the passage of the Equal Pay
Act more than 40 years ago, and a variety of legislation
prohibiting employment discrimination. Women are
still not receiving equal pay for equal work, let alone
equal pay for work of equal value. This disparity not
only affects women’s spending power, it penalizes their
retirement security by creating gaps in social security
benefits and pensions.

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