08202017Headline:

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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
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Obama signs equal-pay bill into law.

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President Obama yesterday signed his first bill into law yesterday, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. USA Today (1/30, Jackson) reports the new law "makes it easier for workers to sue companies for pay discrimination and effectively reverses a 2007 Supreme Court decision that had given workers 180 days to file a lawsuit after the pay inequity allegedly first took place. … In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4" that Lilly Ledbetter "had failed to file a discrimination suit against the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in a timely manner, citing a 180-day deadline. Earlier this month, the Democratic-run Congress voted largely along party lines to essentially reverse that ruling with a new law that extends the deadline every time a discriminatory pay check is issued."

You may have read earlier articles on this subject at Injury Board. Michael Phelan wrote an excellent review in "What is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?" and I also posted an earlier article "Labor bill may give workers tool to fight for higher pay." The importance of this case to women cannot be underestimated. Obama’s action to quickly tell industry that discrimination against women in the workplace will not be tolerated is a bench mark of a return to fairness in America. For the 8 years of the Bush Adminsitration we have seen more abuses of civil rights since the 1950’s and it is important to working Americans that someone is stepping up for people. Lilly Ledbetter is a good place to start. Hopefully the message will be received in corporate boardrooms and at all businesses in America with the sentiment that patriotism in this countrry means treating all people equally and fairly.

The Washington Times (1/30, Bellantoni) reports the President called the bill "an important step, but ‘only the beginning,’ adding he wants to close pay gaps between men and women." Ledbetter "promised to keep fighting for the Paycheck Fairness Act and to ‘make sure that women have equal pay for equal work.’" That bill "passed the House last session." It "would expand lawsuit damages, make it harder for businesses to justify pay disparities between employees, and mandate studies and voluntary guidelines for employers on the issue."

Lawyers USA (1/30) reports, "President Barack Obama signed his first bill into law this morning, enacting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which will restart the statute of limitations for unequal pay employment bias claims with the issuance of every disproportionately low paycheck" which "overturns the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co." Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said, "Today’s signing ceremony proves that elections make a real difference for real people. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will clearly help to end unfair discrimination in the workplace."

The New York Times (1/30, Stolberg) reports, "President Obama signed his first bill into law on Thursday, approving equal-pay legislation that he said would ‘send a clear message that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody.’" NBC Nightly News (1/29, story 2, 2:40, Guthrie), ABC World News (1/29, story 3, 0:20, Gibson, the CBS Evening News (1/29, story 5, 0:55, Couric) also cover the story.