Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Stay informed. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would often strip employers of a statute of limitations defense and breathe new life into old claims at a time when many businesses are struggling financially.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, passed by a House vote of 247 to 171 on January 9, 2009, would overturn the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., No. 05-1074.  In the controversial Ledbetter case, the Supreme Court held that the time limits for filing pay discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is measured from the date of the first allegedly discriminatory pay decision.  The proposed law would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide that the charge-filing periods (300 days in most states and 180 days in states that do not have a fair employment agency) would commence when the employee is affected by an application of a discriminatory compensation decision or practice (including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid).  This also would apply to claims of pay discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would often strip employers of a statute of limitations defense and breathe new life into old claims at a time when many businesses are struggling financially.  Without the protection of a reasonable time limit for bringing pay discrimination claims, employers would have a difficult time in defending suits, as evidence of past pay determinations may no longer exist, and witnesses — if they can even be located — may not recall the underlying facts.  In 2009, there may be enough support for the bill to make it past the Senate.  Moreover, President-elect Barack Obama, for whom Lilly Ledbetter campaigned and appeared in a television commercial, would no doubt sign the bill into law.

The Ledbetter bill now goes back to the House of Representatives for a final - and what is expected to be quick - vote before it is sent to President Obama for his signature. It is expected that the President will sign the bill.

For more information, contact our Legislative Director at legislative@gmshrm.org.

Christine L. Wilson, Esq.
Jackson Lewis LLP 
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Miami, FL 33131
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wilsonc@jacksonlewis.com
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