We now know what will be the first bill that President Obama will sign into law. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed through the Senate yesterday. The Senate voted 61-36 — with all 16 female senators voting “yea” for the measure. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a wage discrimination bill that heralds the pro-labor policies of the Democratic-controlled Congress and White House. The House passed the bill earlier this month.
This legislation reverses a terrible 2007 Supreme Court rightwing ruling that narrowly defined the time period during which a worker can file a claim of wage discrimination, even if the worker is unaware for months or years that he or she is getting less than colleagues doing the same job. It has been a priority for women's groups seeking to narrow the wage gap between men and women.
The Ledbetter bill would clarify that every paycheck resulting from discrimination would constitute a new violation, extending the 180-day statute of limitations for filing a claim. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision denying Ledbetter's complaint, ruled that a worker must file a claim within 180 days of the initial decision to pay a worker less, even if the worker did not discover the pay disparity until years later.