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Kia Franklin

Equal Pay a Priority for the New Administration

A new, self-proclaimed feminist President pledges to support fair pay legislation. TortDeform contributor Beverly Neufeld argues that now it is up to the Senate to do the same by passing two key pieces of legislation without making compromises that would weaken their impact.

Equal Pay in the New Administration By Beverly Cooper Neufeld

On this month’s cover of Ms. Magazine, “Superman Obama” rips open his shirt to reveal the message, “This is what a feminist looks like.” That’s good news for American women and families, but what President Obama needs now is a “feminist” Senate.

After long delay, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act finally reached the Senate floor last Thursday for its first test, a vote to move it to a floor debate. It passed 72-23, an overwhelming margin.

Already approved by the House, this legislation will reverse the 2007 Supreme Court ruling that took the teeth out of wage discrimination law. Under the ruling, a victim of wage discrimination must file a claim within 180 days of the initial act of discrimination—such as the issuance of an inequitable pay check. So, even if the discrimination continues for years, as it did for Lilly Ledbetter at a Goodyear Tire plant, the employee loses legal recourse. It seems obvious that workers are not aware of, or ready to act on, suspected discrimination within the first 6 months of work, especially when many employers threaten retaliation for sharing salary information.

The next test for Ledbetter remains: passage without weakening amendments. This is not assured, which is why many advocacy groups like the National Women’s Law Center are encouraging concerned citizens to call their Senator before the vote, which could happen any day now.

The passage of Ledbetter as written will be a significant victory, but it puts us back to square one. (Keep Reading)

A vote on these important bills (analyzed here) should happen any day now.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jan 22, 2009 in Civil Justice | Civil Rights | Economic Opportunity | Labor
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