Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Republicans make trouble for unequal pay act

Today Senate Republicans successfully blocked a bill which had the potential to make it easier for people to sue when faced with discriminatory pay. This bill, called the Fair Pay Restoration Act (but also known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act), came as a response to a decision that the Supreme Court made in 2007 which stated that any person who claims pay discrimination must have their complaint filed within 180 days of that discrimination beginning. This six-month limit is troublesome due to the many difficulties that can arise when trying to prove pay discrimination.

Republicans complained that the bill would produce a flood of lawsuits and criticized the chamber's Democratic leaders for putting off the vote until the party's two presidential candidates, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, returned from the campaign trail.

Reading that made me wonder, why do the Republicans believe there will be a "flood of lawsuits?" Seems to me that they are acknowledging the fact that pay discrimination exists (why else would there be lawsuits?) but they would rather just sweep it under the rug.

That deadline is specified in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines, and it "protects employers from the burden of defending claims arising from employment decisions long past," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision.

The bill that stalled Wednesday would have reset the clock with every paycheck, with supporters arguing that each paycheck was a discriminatory act. But Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, said the bill would allow retirees drawing pensions to sue their old companies over allegations of discrimination that happened decades ago...

...The case was brought by an Alabama woman, Lilly Ledbetter, who claimed that her employer, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., paid men doing similar work 15 to 40 percent more. Ledbetter said she discovered the discrepancy late in her career -- too late, the court ruled, to go to court.

Sigh.

6 comments:

La Pobre Habladora said...

You have got to be kidding me.

Gotta protect those companies - we wouldn't want to rob them of their right to discriminate against women in privacy, now would we? This creates a cute little 'don't ask, don't tell, don't earn' policy here, doesn't it - you aren't allowed to discuss how your pay lines up with others', companies aren't going to tell you, and so you don't have to be fairly compensated. Tidy, that.

ooooo - this makes me mad.

Andrew said...

ah yes, criticizing Democrats for wanting to let all the people given the right to vote on the bill, the ability to vote on the bill. I mean egads, letting senators be present to vote for a bill? Lemme guess if they had voted without Barrack and Hillary, the Republicans would have pointed out that Barrack and Hillary missed out on voting on an issue that they claim to stand for, because there were too budy perusing their own ambitious political goals... go ahead try to tell me I am wrong.

Jen said...

Republicans hate women, children, and Civil Rights. Now that they have successfully denied health care to children and blocked the exercise of Civil Rights by half of the population they will probably mobilize to declare the uterus property of the state.

Watching my Civil Rights get dismantled because I lack a penis and heterosexuality is painful. Thank god I have a passport and relatives in Canada if the worst comes to pass.

Anonymous said...

"Republicans hate women, children, and Civil Rights."

Wow, talk about a huge generalization and stereotype, Jen. That's like me saying liberals hate babies, God, and high taxes.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I stated that wrong. I meant to say love high taxes.

manafanana said...

Amelia,

Awesome post. This clarified a lot for me because I actually thought that the Fair Pay Restoration Act had been passed last year--I had no idea it was still pending in the Senate. (And I can't believe it wasn't passed.)

Excellent point about the "flood of lawsuits." It's just amazing how folks can see the results without acknowledging the cause. How self-deluded do you have to be?

"Hey, all of these people are suing! Obviously there must be no legitimate cause for any of this litigation. Obviously. If we keep telling ourselves this, discrimination will no longer exist. Also, there's no place like home..."