ACLU Cheers House Passage of Pay Equity Legislation

July 31, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The ACLU today cheered the House of Representatives for passing 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.

In Ledbetter v. Goodyear, the Supreme Court held that workers cannot sue for the later effects of past wage discrimination. According to the 5-4 decision, the majority held that Ms. Ledbetter did not have valid claim of wage discrimination because she had not filed her complaint within 180 days of Goodyear’s initial discriminatory pay decision, although she didn’t learn of the discrimination until years later.

“This legislation reflects the reality of the American workplace, that most of us just don’t know our coworkers’ salaries relative to our own,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “In fact, many employers prohibit workers from discussing their salaries, making it that much more difficult to uncover wage discrimination. Employers who pay their workers unequally should not be allowed a ‘get out of jail free’ card because they’re able to keep the decision to discriminate secret for more than 180 days. The ACLU applauds the House of Representatives for its support of this legislation. We urge the Senate to schedule a vote as soon as possible and to pass this important bill.”

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