Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama Signs Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act

[Transcript of the President's remarks here.]

For his first piece of major legislation, President Obama signs into law an Act that corrects a gross miscarriage of justice:

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act effectively nullifies a 2007 Supreme Court decision that denied Ledbetter an opportunity for redress.

Ledbetter, 70, has said she did not learn about the sizable discrepancy in pay between her and her male co-workers until near the end of her 19-year career at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Ala. She sued, but the high court said in a 5-4 decision that she missed her chance to bring the action.

The court said a person must file a discrimination claim within 180 days of a company's initial decision to pay a worker less than another doing the same job.

Under the new law, each new discriminatory paycheck would extend the statute of limitations for an additional 180 days. That was the interpretation before the Supreme Court was asked to step in.
Since her case can't be retried, Lilly Ledbetter will not receive a single cent more because of this new law, but thanks to her and all the other women before her who fought for what's right, those of us who come after won't have to suffer the indignity and gross unfairness of less pay for being a woman.

Incidentally, the Bush White House and the Republicans blocked this bill in the last session of Congress. True to form, they were against what is essentially a law for equality and fairness because all lawsuits by employees against employers is baaad, didn't ya know. Lest we forget, McCain and Palin also campaigned against it, being the true party mavericks sidekicks that they are. This time, only five Republicans, including the only four female Republican Senators, voted for this bill. Color me not surprised.

Next stop: the much broader Paycheck Fairness Act. Perhaps the current Grand Obstructionist Party will surprise me this time? Not freakin' likely.

posted at 8:32:00 AM by Wonky Muse

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