House Democrats Prepare Ledbetter Bill to Overturn Supreme Court on Equal Pay for Women

Good for the women of the House.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Good thing there's a woman in—er—running the House. Otherwise, pay equity legislation would probably not make it to the top of Congress's legislative docket. But that it did, with the House of Representatives planning votes on Friday on two bills designed to control workplace gender-based pay discrimination.

The much-ballyhooed Lilly Ledbetter bill would reverse a Supreme Court decision, which, on a technicality of sorts, required pay inequity plaintiffs to file legal complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before they even were aware they were being discriminated against. The case arose when the former Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant supervisor Ledbetter filed a complaint because men in similar situations were getting pay raises that she was being denied.

The second bill would strengthen parts of the 1963 Equal Pay Act and close loopholes that have apparently allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay.

The Ledbetter bill passed the House already last year, and Ledbetter herself addressed the Democratic Convention in Denver last summer. But the measure died in the U.S. Senate. Bets are on that this time it's a winner.

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