Act’s qualification necessary to fill legal loophole
President Obama signed his first bill into law Thursday.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is the latest in a long line of laws – beginning with the Equal Pay Act of 1963 – to prevent sex discriminate pay wages.
The new law defines the statute of limitations to file an equal-pay lawsuit as within 180 days after each issue of an unfair paycheck. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court had found the statute of limitations to be within 180 days after the date on which the pay was originally set during Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which was filed by the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act’s namesake.
While Ledbetter may never receive compensation from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., women across the nation will benefit from her actions.
Ledbetter was underpaid for nearly 20 years without knowledge of her male peers’ salaries. One could estimate this happens often in work settings, where polite conversation does not include the comparison of pay.
To many Americans the need for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act may not at first seem obvious.
After all, it is 2009. Shouldn’t laws like this be unnecessary at this point? Hasn’t this battle already been fought and won?
But as is the case with any legal system, loopholes exist that can be used to legalize unfair practices. And in 2007, arbitrary restrictions on the statute of limitations were used to hinder the just enacting of the law.
Obama’s choice to prioritize this issue should be very promising to Americans, who have for the last eight years habitually seen the law both legally and illegally usurped.