Posted by: Amelia | August 1, 2007

Fair Pay Gets a Fair Shake – For Now

One of the first posts on this blog concerned the5-4  Ledbetter v. Goodyear decision in the Supreme Court, which imposed draconian limitations on the ability of women and minorities to sue their employer for pay discrimination.  At the end of the post I wrote:

The ruling is just another in a long tradition of blaming the victims for their own pay discrimination. If she didn’t complain about it within 180 days, she must have chosen to work for less pay! And the pay gap is just a result of women choosing the wrong professions (and then “opting out” of even those).

Fortunately there is a solution. As the New York Times editorial page pointed out today, Congress can undo the damage by amending the Civil Rights Act. Hillary Clinton and other Democrats in Congress are already talking about doing just that. Let’s hope there’s the political will to actually do it.

The will was indeed there – among Democrats, at least.  Yesterday the House passed HR 2831, the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007,” by a margin of 225-199 (an almost entirely party-line vote).  The White House, naturally, has threatened to veto.  I’m also skeptical that Senate Dems can pass their version, given that Republicans seem to be extremely united against the idea of people being able to fight back against discrimination.  Maybe they’re taking their cues from this guy:

“Employers would be forced to defend against an avalanche of decades-old, frivolous claims. The anticipated increase in legal and record- keeping costs could be staggering,” said Jay Timmons, the National Association of Manufacturers’ senior vice president for policy and government relations.

Waahh!  Employers might be held accountable for discriminating!  Interesting note about Mr. Timmons: he has given over $18,000 to Republican candidates and committees in the last three election cycles alone, according to the ever-useful Open Secrets.  The National Association of Manufacturers’ President, John Engler, has given over $13,000 to Republicans.  Between the two of them, they’ve given thousands to George W. Bush, Trent Lott, George Allen, Rick Santorum, and a whole host of others.  And… wait for it… not a dime to Democrats!

Of course, it’s a chicken-and-egg thing.  Do people such as Engler and Timmons give to Republicans because Republicans support their agenda, or do Republicans support their agenda because people such as Engler and Timmons are giving to them?  It’s a bit of both.  But one thing’s for sure: you can’t say party doesn’t matter.  Bravo to the Democrats for doing the right thing – even if they’ll have to wait until the next Congress to get it passed veto-free.


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  2. That’s the spirit!

  3. I agree in fair pay. I also think the bill should set a limited time frame for back charges, its only practical.

    Along with this bump in pay I would also like to see the inclusion of women into the selective service.

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