‘Ledbetter’ Discrimination Bill Almost Ready for Obama’s Approval
A piece of legislation stemming from a pay dispute involving Goodyear was passed by the US Senate on January 22. It now only needs approval from the House of Representatives before it reaches Barack Obama’s desk for signing.
The Senate passed the bill after a 61-36 vote, and an article posted on the White House blog on Sunday indicates the president supports it. The bill could well become the first that President Obama signs into law. If so, it will overturn a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said former Goodyear supervisor Lilly Ledbetter could not sue for wage discrimination after being paid less than male employees performing the same job as she had not filed her suit within 180 days after the company first acted in discriminatory manner. The legislation will instead allow aggrieved workers to sue after the most recent discriminatory payment received, not the first one.
“The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will restore the law to where it was before the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.,” the blog’s article said. “President Obama has long championed this bill and Lilly Ledbetter’s cause, and by signing it into law, he will ensure that women like Ms. Ledbetter and other victims of pay discrimination can effectively challenge unequal pay.”
Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber’s plant in Gadsden, Alabama, from 1979 until her retirement in 1998. For most of those years, she worked as an area manager, and initially Ledbetter’s salary was in line with the salaries of men performing substantially similar work. Over time, however, her pay is alleged to have slipped in comparison to that of male area managers with equal or less seniority. By the end of 1997, Ledbetter was the only woman working as an area manager, alongside 15 male counterparts. Ledbetter was paid $3,727 per month for her work; the lowest paid male area manager received $4,286 per month, the highest paid, $5,236.