CHN: Legislation Would Overturn Court Pay Discrimination Ruling
Tuesday the House passed H.R. 2831, a bill that would reverse the recent Supreme Court decision that severely limited workers’ ability to sue over pay discrimination. In Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. the Court said that workers cannot sue more than 180 days after the alleged pay discrimination first occurred even if they were not in a position to file a complaint and even if the discrimination continued. The suit was brought on behalf of Lilly Ledbetter who worked for 19 years as a supervisor, a position held mostly by men, at a Goodyear plant. H.R. 2831 clarifies current law so that employers could be sued for pay discrimination every time a paycheck is issued to the employee in question, no matter how long ago the initial discrimination occurred. This legislation affects all forms of discrimination protected by law including that based on sex, race, national origin, age, and disabilities. The vote was 225-199 with only two Republicans voting for the bill and six Democrats voting against it. (See how your representative voted at: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll768.xml.)
Today women with comparable skills doing comparable jobs as men earn on average about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Pay discrimination is a key factor in this pay gap.
A similar bill in the Senate, the Fair Pay Restoration Act, S 1843, introduced by Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) has 20 co-sponsors including two Republicans, Specter (PA) and Snowe (ME). Advocates hope the Senate will take its bill to the floor soon after the August Congressional recess.