ACLU Praises Senate Introduction of Pay Equity Legislation

July 20, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the Senate introduction of the Fair Pay Restoration Act, companion to H.R. 2831, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007. This bipartisan legislation would restore protections against pay discrimination that were undermined by the May 29, 2007 Supreme Court decision Ledbetter v. Goodyear.

In that 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that workers cannot sue for pay discrimination if they learn of it more than 180 days after the employer’s original decision to unfairly pay the employee less than his or her coworkers. The Fair Pay Restoration Act addresses wage disparity based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability, and would reestablish that each unequal paycheck represents continuing discrimination. With this protection, workers will not be prevented from bringing legitimate claims just because they were unaware of the ongoing discrimination.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“American workers should be protected from wage discrimination and should be able to challenge such discrimination no matter how long it takes them to discover it. It may take months, or even years, for workers to discover they are victims of pay discrimination. In fact, a number of employers instruct their employees not to discuss their salaries with coworkers. This legislation will ensure that employers don’t profit from years of discrimination simply because employees were unaware of it.”

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