ACLU Pushes for Passage of Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

January 14, 2009 12:00 am

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Letter Urges Senators to Support a Clean Anti-Discrimination Bill Without Weakening Amendments

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WASHINGTON – Today, in advance of a Senate vote taking place as soon as tomorrow, the American Civil Liberties Union sent senators a letter urging passage of a bill that clarifies the legal time limits for employees to fight pay discrimination.

The legislation, S. 181, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, would restore rights taken away by a 2007 Supreme Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear, which in most instances denies workers remedies for ongoing wage discrimination. “The Ledbetter case virtually immunized employers from wage discrimination,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “This case ignores the realities of the workplace. Employees are often completely unaware of what their colleagues earn. Many employers prohibit sharing salary information with co-workers. Employers should not profit from years of discrimination simply because their employees were unaware of it for a few months.”

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Ledbetter bill. In the Senate, the margin for passage is expected to be razor-thin. Today’s ACLU letter called on senators to vote ‘yes’ on both cloture and final passage of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and to oppose all weakening amendments.

ACLU Legislative Counsel Deborah J. Vagins added, “The Ledbetter bill is a modest fix. American workers deserve to know that they are protected if they are unlawfully paid less than a co-worker because of their gender, race, religion, national origin, age or disability. It is a fundamentally just principle. As long as an employer continues to discriminate against an employee, the employee should be able to have his or her day in court. This critical legislation returns that right to our American workers, so they can bring home every dollar they rightfully earn.”

For the ACLU’s letter to senators, go to:

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