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Congress Sends Yarmuth-Cosponsored Paycheck Fairness Bill to President


Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restores American workers’ rights

(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) voted to give final approval to legislation that will begin to close the gender pay gap in this country by reversing a Supreme Court decision that has kept women from pursuing pay discrimination claims. The bill now goes to President Obama and will likely be the first major piece of legislation he signs into law.

“The Supreme Court decision made sexism lawful as long as the employer kept it hidden for six months,” Congressman Yarmuth.  “When President Obama signs this bill into law, it will send a clear signal that the American work place is no place for discrimination of any kind.”

The measure would overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.) that ruled that workers cannot bring a wage discrimination lawsuit more than 180 days after the first discriminatory act.
The Ledbetter decision has already been cited in hundreds of discrimination cases. Not only have pay discrimination cases been adversely impacted, but protections guaranteed by the Fair Housing Act, Title IX, and the Eight Amendment have also been diminished.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will apply to workers who file claims of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, or disability.
Lilly Ledbetter worked for nearly 20 years at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. She sued the company after learning that she was paid less then her male counterparts at the facility, despite having more experience than several of them. A jury found that her employer had unlawfully discriminated against her on the basis of sex.
However, the Supreme Court said that Ledbetter had waited too long to sue for pay discrimination, despite the fact that she filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as soon as she received an anonymous note alerting her to pay discrimination. 
While Ledbetter filed her charge within 180 days of receiving discriminatory pay, the court ruled that, since Ledbetter did not raise a claim within 180 days of the employer’s decision to pay her less, she could not receive any relief.  Under this Supreme Court decision, employees in Ledbetter’s position would be forced to live with discriminatory paychecks for the rest of their careers.
“At a time when too many workers are seeing their jobs and wages slashed, we must ensure that all Americans are paid fairly for their hard work,” Yarmuth said.