Cantwell Votes for Equal Pay for Equal Work

Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Seeks to Protect Women and Minorities from Pay Discrimination by Extending Claim Filing Time-Period

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in moving equal rights one step forward by voting for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, legislation that will set fair timelines for women to bring pay discrimination claims against their employers. Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women today make only 78 cents for every dollar made by a man. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act aims to close that gap, in addition to addressing other forms of discrimination.
"Our children need to grow up in a world where they are confident they are going to get equal pay for equal work. Although we have made great strides, a fundamental civil rights problem still exists," said Cantwell. “Especially in these uncertain economic times, we have a duty and responsibility to provide a fair-pay system that accurately reflects the working reality women face each day. I believe it is important that hard work for a good job be rewarded regardless of what you look like, where you come from, or what gender you are. We must fight to restore justice and equality in the workplace, and we must do it now.”
Lilly Ledbetter worked for nearly 20 years at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company facility in Alabama. She sued the company after learning that she was the lowest-paid supervisor out of a group of 16 supervisors at the facility, despite having more experience than several of her male counterparts. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would overturn Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., in which a divided Supreme Court held that workers must sue for pay discrimination within 180 days of the original pay-setting decision, even if the pay discrimination continues after the 180-day period.
This bill would create a fair time table for filing pay discrimination claims.  The time limit for suing an employer would begin each time an employer issues discriminatory compensation and is not limited to the original discriminatory action.  An aggrieved employee would be able to file a claim within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck and recover back pay for up to two years prior.
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