Friday, January 30, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Gives Workers More Time to File Pay Discrimination Claims

On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed the first bill of his presidency, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The legislation gives workers additional time to take pay discrimination cases to court. Under the new law, each new discriminatory paycheck extends the statute of limitations an additional 180 days.

"Equal pay is by no means just a women's issue, it's a family issue," Obama said. "And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month's paycheck to simple and plain discrimination."
The act nullifies a 2007 Supreme Court decision which denied Ms. Ledbetter the chance to pursue her pay discrimination claim. The Court ruled that she had missed the 180-day statute of limitations to file a claim -- even though she did not learn that she was receiving less pay for doing the same job as her male co-workers until her almost 20-year career at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. was ending. Ms. Ledbetter stood beside President Obama as he signed the bill.

For more information regarding Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, including equal pay, hiring and firing, and prohibited discriminatory practices, see the U.S. EEOC's "Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions and Answers" at

Disparity in pay between male and female legal professionals remains a hot topic in the legal field. See Tammy Pettinato's article, "Survey Results Show Gender Difference in Legal Profession Salaries" in the January/February 2009 issue of Legal Assistant Today.

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