Quick Hit: Pay Equity Legislation passes House

The ACLU reports that the House of Representatives has passed H.R. 2831, the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007.”

…aimed at fixing the May 29, 2007 Supreme Court decision undermining protections against wage discrimination in compensation that have been bedrock principles of civil rights law for decades.

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14 Comments

  1. Ann
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Bush has promised to veto to it. Bastard.

  2. sojourner
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    “Bush has promised to veto to it.�
    What is his rationale? He is *for* pay discrimination? How can 30% of the population still support him? Hasn’t he also threatened to veto children’s health insurance bill (because like most anti-choicers he cares a lot about babies, just not the born ones). Is it because that 30% are complete idiots or are they just plain evil?

  3. Ann
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Here is the White House statement (PDF) on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The administration has the audacity to claim that it’s actually in the interest of workers who have been discriminated against to limit the timeframe in which they can file complaints, and “statutes of limitations in these sorts of fact-intensive cases are crucial to the fair administration of justice.”

  4. Posted July 31, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    In the words of Lionel Hutz, the Bush Administration has hearsay and conjecture… those are KINDS of evidence.
    Nowhere near veto-proof in the House, as it was 225-199. I wonder what the primary party of the 199 was. No I don’t.

  5. Ann
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    In other words, yes, sojourner, Bush is *for* pay discrimination.

  6. LindsayPW
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I hate it how one son of a fuck asshole can make a HUGE IMPORTANT decision that affects millions of people, mainly women and minorities. Someone get me my ax!

  7. EG
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Is it because that 30% are complete idiots or are they just plain evil?
    Is there really a meaningful distinction between the two?

  8. oenophile
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Understandable complaint: the decision removes any and all statute of limitations.
    Not-understandable response: veto, rather than addressing the issue with the House and Senate.
    Better response: ask the House and the Senate to change “180 days” to “10 years.” There ya go – a statute of limitations that allows corporations to not be maliciously sued and to be able to “close the books,” in a timely manner, but still gives discriminated groups a lot of rights.

  9. ellenbrenna
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    The law does not put an end to the staute of limitations that is bullshit Republican spin, it just restores the statute of limitations to what it used to be under the old precedents.
    Each discriminatory paycheck constitutes a separate act of discrimination and the defendant has 180 days from discovering the discrimation to file a claim and then they only get 2 years of back pay total. I watched CSPAN for this one and the Republicans are so full of it you could smell it through the TV.

  10. oenophile
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Ellen,
    Here is the text of the bill:
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h2831rh.txt.pdf
    A single discriminatory decision made in 1968 is still viable today.
    The law does not put an end to the staute of limitations that is bullshit Republican spin, it just restores the statute of limitations to what it used to be under the old precedents.
    Half correct. Yes, there is the “180 days from last paycheck” rule, but that is not in itself a real statute of limitations. It basically says that you have to file a complaint within 180 days of leaving your company.
    Imagine that a single discriminatory decision was made in 1968, which arguably affects that person’s paycheck to this day. The person could still sue if she is still working at the company in question. She and her employer would then litigate about an adverse decision made 39 years ago.
    Now imagine a woman who was discriminated against in 1998. She left the company in 2006, after finding out that they routinely discriminated against her. She is unable to sue (even though this is much more recent), because she left her job (and therefore, has not gotten paid) in more than 180 days.
    Effectually, you only have 180 days from leaving your job to file; given that most new hires are there for 18 months, this does not offer much protection for ongoing discrimination. OTOH, it can force companies to litigate matters that happened 30 years ago. It is both over-inclusive and under-inclusive.
    THAT is my problem with this law. Maybe the old precedent was crap, too.

  11. Posted July 31, 2007 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Here is the recorded votes for the Act. Interesting note, most of the NAYS where Republicans.

  12. Joshua Louden
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I apologize didn’t add the link..
    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll768.xml

  13. Posted July 31, 2007 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    The reason that the Supreme Court had long adopted the rule embodied by this bill is that, unlike being denied a promotion or fired, it’s very difficult to know whether one is being discriminated against in terms of compensation. Many companies prohibit their employees discussing their compensation with each other, and do not make any comparative compensation information available. It often takes quite a bit of research to figure out whether one is being discriminated against in terms of pay.
    Meanwhile, each discriminatory paycheck is a separate occasion on which the employer failed to rectify its discriminatory practises. As in so many other cases, pay discrimination is a situation in which the balance of information substantially favours the defendant, who is in possession of the kind of comparative compensation data that would be necessary in order to assess whether there is evidence of discrimination.
    It’s also somewhat hard to see why an employer who fails to rectify a discriminatory practise (that is entirely in its power to rectify) over a long period of time should be treated better than one who has only been doing so for 180 days or less.

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