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.
Thus, employees, who learn after several years that they are paid less than others as a result of discrimination, are no longer barred by a statute of limitations that began to run with the first discriminatory paycheck. The Ledbetter Bill reflects workplace realities, where employees generally do not know whether they are being paid less than others, and may only learn of the discrepancy years later.
The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12) which passed the House with a vote of 256-163 amends the Fair Labor Standards Act by placing the burden on employers to prove that pay discrepancies between women and men performing the same work are based upon legitimate non-discriminatory business reasons.