Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What's the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?

A female employee is hired by an employer in 2009 and receives 24 paychecks, each reflecting a discriminatory pay practice by the employer because of his disability. How long of a period does the she have to file a complaint with the EEOC alleging pay discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The answer is governed by Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Public Law No. 111-2, 123 Stat. 5. The Ledbetter Act was drafted to overturn the Supreme Court's May 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

The new law adds a provision to Title VII, which provides:

"unlawful employment practice occurs, with respect to discrimination in compensation in violation of this title, when a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted, when an individual becomes subject to a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, or when an individual is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from such a decision or other practice."

So, the law treats each and every discriminatory paycheck as a new discrimination, thus re-starting the 180-day clock (300 days if the charge is also covered by state or local fair employment laws).

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