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Equal Pay for Equal Work

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April 22, 2008

Today is Equal Pay Day. If you’re a woman, today marks how far into the year you must work, on average, to earn as much as man with a comparable job earned in 2007. It’s sickening to think about, really.

On Wednesday, the Senate has the opportunity to fix this disparity, and other wage discrimination injustices, when it votes on H.R. 2831, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The House passed this legislation last summer, named after the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Ledbetter v. Goodyear. In its decision, the high court declared that Ledbetter could not sue her employer, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, for wage discrimination because she had not filed a complaint within 180 days after the day they established her wage (that is, the day Goodyear commenced discriminating against her).

Deb Vagins, Policy Counsel for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at our Washington, DC, Legislative Office, guest-blogged on the Carpetbagger Report about wage discrimination. She writes:

Unless Congress intervenes, companies will be able to discriminate for years and unjustly profit from paying women, minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities less, as long as it keeps the discrimination secret for a few months.

[I]t can pay women less than men, blacks less than whites, older workers less than younger ones, and so on, and so on, with absolutely no accountability. Ever. They can hurt workers and their families, and just pocket the money.

To learn more about the Supreme Court case, and the legislation before the Senate, check out Justice Talking’s podcast on wage discrimination. In this podcast, they interview Lilly Ledbetter, and discuss how Congress can undo the damage of the court’s decision to workers’ rights.

Don’t let this kind of wage discrimination continue. Urge your senators to vote “yes” on H.R. 2831, and stand up for fair pay for all Americans.