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Kia Franklin

Ledbetter Law a soon to be reality!

I have been away from the blog all day and just itching to write this post! So... it's not exactly "breaking news" at this point in the day, but for those who somehow missed the big news, the Senate passed Ledbetter last night! Now it goes back to the house and then onward to the desk of Pres Obama for signage. Good stuff! The AP reports:

The US Senate passed a major wage discrimination bill, moving one step closer to presenting the legislation to President Barack Obama so that it may signed into law.

The bill, adopted by a 61 to 36 vote, would facilitate judiciary procedures for an employee discriminated against on the basis of age, sex, race, religion or country of origin.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act reverses a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that had narrowed to 180 days the time period during which an employee can file a claim of wage discrimination after the original pay-setting decision.

Under the proposed legislation, employees would have 180 days from receiving a discriminatory paycheck to file their claim.

Everyone is celebrating. From Alliance for Justice:

Alliance for Justice commends the Senate for its passage of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, S.B. 181, legislation that will protect the rights of millions of working Americans. Alliance for Justice also applauds Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for their efforts to ensure that the bill’s essential protections remained intact as it worked its way to final passage.

From the National Women's Law Center:

The Senate passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a long-awaited victory for women’s rights, removing a critical hurdle in restoring the ability of victims of wage discrimination to fight for equal pay for equal work...

NWLC even posted video footage of Ledbetter's reaction to the news here.

While this news is certainly reason to celebrate, it's absolutely not reason to close up shop early. The work to restore fairness to the workplace is far from done. Nan Aron of AFJ had this to say:

“While we celebrate today’s victory, much work remains to be done to achieve full workplace equality. I urge the Senate to act quickly on the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that will put us even closer to realizing the full promise of the Equal Pay Act.”

The folks at Public Citizen issued a poignant press release making the connection between what this legislation does and the importance of passing the Arbitration Fairness Act, without which many employees would still be prevented from bringing employment discrimination claims to court. An excerpt from their press release:

More congressional action is needed because of U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have held that discrimination claims under the Civil Rights Act can be sent to arbitration, said Graham Steele, a Public Citizen civil justice lobbyist.

"There is something inherently unjust about requiring employees to give up their right to a fair hearing in court as a condition of taking or keeping a job," Steele said. "Congress is making a clear statement that victims of employment discrimination are entitled to the full protection of the Civil Rights Act. But to ensure that the law applies to everyone, Congress must put a stop to forced arbitration."

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 12:26 PM, Jan 23, 2009 in Arbitration | Civil Justice | Civil Rights | Discrimination | Labor/Employment | Legislation | Pro-Civil Justice Reforms
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