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Your Legal Corner - Client Alert Blog

Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Opens Doors to Discrimination Plaintiffs

Written By: Melissa C. Marsh, Esq., California Attorney, January 2009 Add to Favorites
Wage discrimination just became more expensive. On January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to clarify that a separate unlawful act occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to a discriminatory practice or compensation decision. Each paycheck, in other words, is a separate violation. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the plaintiff (Lilly Ledbetter) learned that she earned significantly less than her male colleagues. Although a jury found Goodyear liable for gender based pay discrimination, the United States Supreme Court reversed holding that an employee must bring a lawsuit for pay discrimination within 180 days of the employer’s original discriminatory pay-setting decision, even if the unfair pay continues.

Under the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, employees may now bring a claim for pay discrimination to recover back pay for up to two years preceding the filing of a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Since each paycheck constitutes a new separate violation, an employee suffering from unequal pay is no longer barred from filing a discrimination lawsuit after 180 days. It should also be noted that the Act permits a pay discrimination claim to be based not only on gender, but also age, disability, race, color, religion, and national origin.

The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act takes effect retroactively as if enacted on May 28, 2007. As such, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will apply to all claims of wage discrimination pending on or after May 28, 2007 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or Sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


Tags: discrimination, fair pay, ledbetter
Posted In: Employment Law News 


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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.