On January 22, 2009, the Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by a vote of 61-36. In our January 9, 2009 blog posting, we reported that the Senate had passed the identical bill.
The House of Representatives has just passed legislation making it less difficult for employees to sue for wage discrimination. The Ledbetter Bill (H.R. 11) passed by a vote of 247-171 and specifically overturns a Supreme Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Co., Inc., which held that the statute of limitations for filing a wage discrimination case does not begin to run each time a paycheck is issued. The Ledbetter Bill changes this by permitting the statute of limitations to begin anew with each discriminatory paycheck.
Last fall, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), filed a pregnancy discrimination claim against Bloomberg LP based upon complaints received from three employees. Since that time, the number of women charging Bloomberg LP with pregnancy discrimination has increased to 72. According to New York Magazine, that number constitutes about one in seven of the employees who became pregnant in the last six years. Although Bloomberg LP referred to the initial filing as a “publicity stunt,” the increase in the number of employees alleging sexual discrimination renders that characterization extremely difficult to sustain.
The House of Representatives, reacting to congressional findings, has passed, 247- 178, the Paycheck Fairness Act– which aims to amend the Fair Labor and Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex. Reacting to findings that pay disparities between sexes have large negative effects on the economy and labor resources, the Paycheck Fairness Act will, if enacted, work toward removing the artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages.
Mauricia Grant, a former employee of NASCAR, filed suit alleging 23 specific instances of sexual harassment, as well as 34 instances of racial and sexual discrimination.
According to Grant, she complained to her supervisors of the discriminatory treatment on multiple occasions, but her complaints were ignored. She alleges in her complaint that her supervisor even participated in the discriminatory conduct. At a press conference, Brian France, NASCAR’s CEO, faulted Grant for allegedly not following internal harassment complaint procedures.
The civil action seeks $225 million in damages.