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Feminist News


January-28-09

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Passes Congress

The House passed the final version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (H.R. 11) in a 250-177 vote yesterday. The Senate also passed by a strong majority the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (S. 181) last week after defeating a series of Republican hostile amendments. President Obama is expected to sign the bill tomorrow.

Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said after the Senate vote last week that "President Obama and the Democratic Congress are keeping their pledge to women and all workers to reverse the Supreme Court decision that gutted the right of employees to fight wage discrimination. We're on a roll to rebuilding womens rights and civil rights taken away during the Bush era."

The Ledbetter Act corrects the Roberts Supreme Court decision (see PDF) that gutted the ability of women workers to sue for wage discrimination. The Act passed helps not only women, but all workers who are victims of wage discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability.

Ledbetter worked for Goodyear for 19 years before discovering that she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts with the same or less experience. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the complaint had to be filed within 180 days of the initial salary decision even if the victim is unaware of the discrimination until much later.

Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 1/9/09, 1/23/09; Reuters 1/27/09; Feminist Majority Foundation