President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law this morning, making it easier for employees to challenge pay discrimination in court.
The law reverses a damaging Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. that restricted an employee’s ability to file claims to 180 days from the date that the first discriminatory pay decision was made. This law makes clear that each discriminatory paycheck is a separate act of discrimination that can be challenged in court.
The law “reestablishes the law’s incentive for employers to correct discriminatory pay practices. Employers will no longer have the free pass to continue to discriminate against their employees without ever having to worry about being held accountable,” said Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement.
Obama was joined at the signing by Lilly Ledbetter, after whom the law is named. Ledbetter worked for Goodyear for almost 20 years before learning that she had been paid less than her male colleagues. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that Ledbetter had filed her discrimination complaint too late and could not receive damages from her employer.