LCCR Letter Urging Support for H.R. 2831

Media 07.25,07

Recipient: US House of Representatives

July 25, 2007

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we urge you to vote in favor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 (H.R. 2831) to correct the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of Title VII regarding when a pay discrimination claim is timely filed.

H.R. 2831 is necessary to ensure that victims of workplace discrimination receive effective remedies. Title VII requires individuals to file complaints of pay discrimination within 180 days of “the alleged unlawful employment practice.” In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, decided on May 29, 2007, the Supreme Court held that the 180 day statute of limitations should be calculated from the day a pay decision is made, rather than from when the employee is subject to that decision or injured by it. The Court’s decision in this case was a sharp departure from precedent and would greatly limit the ability of pay discrimination victims to vindicate their rights. Congress must make clear
that a pay discrimination claim accrues when a pay decision is made, when an employee is subject to that decision, or at any time they are injured by it.

As Justice Ginsburg pointed out in her dissent in Ledbetter, Congress has stepped in on other occasions to correct the Court’s cramped interpretation of Title VII. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 overturned several Supreme Court decisions that eroded the power of Title VII. As Justice Ginsburg sees it, “[o]nce again, the ball is in Congress’ court.” We agree and urge you to act expeditiously and reaffirm that civil rights laws have effective remedies.