Supreme Court Pay Case

How does the new Supreme Court pay case affect employers?


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  •  This case involved a woman who claimed she was discriminated against in pay, but she didn't file her claim within the 180 day deadline. She argued that the clock on that 180 days restarts each time an employee receives a paycheck that reflects past discrimination. The court disagreed and said she needed to file her complaint within 180 days of when the discriminatory pay decision was made. It makes it harder for employees to bring claims long after the discrimination occurred - which is good for employers because the longer time elapsed, the harder for employers to defend themselves.
  • I'd be worried about Justice Ginsburg's discent in the case. The decision will make discrimination claims based on pay disparity very rare. Ginsburg is calling on Congress to amend the law to give employees more time to bring these kinds of suits. I think that the crrent Congress could pass such a bill, but would Bush sign it?
  • The Democrats are promising to revise the law so the deadline will be 180 days of the last biased paycheck. Of course, they also promised to increase the minimum wage within the first 100 hours of taking over Congress. It only took them an extra 125 DAYS or so even though President Bush supported the increase.
  • Still, it's not every day that Congress reacts to a court ruling  involving employment law.  

    In an article I read over the weekend,  7 Congresswomen (House) said in a statement that the Supreme Court "effectively rolled back efforts to ensure equal pay" and that the ruling "completely ignores the reality of the workplace and is based on the illogical conclusion that a victim of pay disparity will be able to document--despite the typical office secrecy over income--a discriminatory difference in teh salaries within six months."

    I know that the Paycheck Fairness Act wouldn't be welcomed as good news for employers on the one hand, but on the other hand, there was another threaded discussion on the topic of equal pay in this HR Forum (see "Gender Pay Gap Still Exists"), and everyone there seemed to be in agreement that it's long overdue, that HR should take the lead to rectify it, etc. 

  • I think the delay in passing a minimum wage increase was caused by what the Republicans wanted to tack on. I'm sure they would fight a change to the discrimination laws. I think the Democrats will need a bigger majority before they can reverse this decision.
  • Looks like we won't have to worry about what the Supreme Court meant too much longer . . . saw this on the Internet:

    Democrats are expected to introduce legislation in the U.S. Senate this week to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling in a highly controversial pay discrimination lawsuit (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.).

    Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) have announced they will introduce legislation to ensure that workers are able to enforce their legal right to equal pay. They said the bill will remove a technical hurdle created by the Supreme Court’s ruling that they feel makes it far more difficult for women and others to receive equal pay for equal work. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), George Miller (D-CA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) have also announced that they will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

    The Supreme Court’s five to four ruling in the Ledbetter case limits the ability of women and other employees to sue their employers for pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a vigorous dissent calling on Congress to amend the law to correct the Court’s ruling.
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