Thursday, January 22, 2009


This is very good news:

A wage discrimination bill that heralds the pro-labor policies of the Democratic-controlled Congress and White House cleared the Senate Thursday and could be on President Barack Obama's desk within days.

The legislation reverses a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that narrowly defines 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 House is expected to act quickly to again approve the measure, sending it to Obama for his signature. The House passed a nearly identical version two weeks ago but then combined it with another bill that the Senate didn't consider.

I have bolded the part which made this bill necessary. Or in the words of the article:

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.

'Discovering the pay disparity' is tricky in this country, because Americans rarely discuss their earnings and firms keep that information secret. To expect possible victims of discrimination to file a claim within 180 days of the initial decision would have meant very few claims overall.

That might have been the Supreme Court's intention, of course.
Thanks to all of you who contacted your elected representatives in support of this bill.