Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Lilly Ledbetter"




Lilly Ledbetter’s Story
I’m a former employee of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. For close to two decades, I was paid less than my male co-workers — even though I was doing the same work they were, and doing it well. The company kept the discrimination quiet and I didn't know about the pay gap until I got an anonymous note about it. Seeking to rectify this injustice, I brought Goodyear to court.
A jury found that Goodyear had discriminated and awarded me more than $3 million in damages. But Goodyear appealed my case all the way to the Supreme Court and got a reversal of the jury verdict by one vote. The Court said I should have filed my complaint within six months of the original act of discrimination — even though at the time I didn't know the discrimination was happening, let alone have enough evidence to complain.
My case set a new and dangerous precedent. According to the Court, if pay discrimination isn't challenged within six months, a company can pay a woman less than a man for the rest of the woman's career. I wonder what other forms of discrimination the Supreme Court will permit in the future.
Fortunately, the Senate is now considering the Fair Pay Restoration Act. If it passes, this bill would tell the Supreme Court it got it wrong. The bill would give all employees a better shot at a fair workplace, making it easier to ensure justice for those who have been discriminated against based on sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and age.

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