The passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was caused by one woman’s sex discrimination lawsuit against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Lilly Ledbetter worked at the organization for almost twenty years and received regular wage increases. However, in the late 1990s, she failed to get a raise three years in a row. After having received an anonymous note informing her that men at the company were paid more than she, Ledbetter decided to file a lawsuit. According to Wilson (2021), a jury ruled in favor of Ledbetter upon considering the imparity alongside the evidence relating to Ledbetter’s Goodyear career. In its turn, the organization filed a motion to set aside the judgment, stating that the woman should not have been allowed to challenge the long-standing wage decisions, but the district court dismissed it. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the decision and the case was referred to the Supreme Court (Wilson, 2021). The Supreme Court ruled that a worker loses their right to file a wage discrimination claim if they do not do it within 180 days of an employee’s salary decision.
Dissatisfaction with this decision was what prompted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act’s passage. Several members of Congress co-sponsored a bill for similar occurrences to not take place again in the future. The Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was signed by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009 (Wade & Fiorentino, 2017). In accordance with it, employers are required to intensify their efforts so that their pay practices are not discriminatory and ensure that they maintain records necessary to confirm the fairness of wage decisions. It makes a difference due to helping protect workers against pay discrimination and allowing those who face it to seek justice under federal law. In my opinion, while there is no way to completely eliminate pay disparities, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act plays a major role in attempting to do that.
Wade, M., & Fiorentino, S. (2017). Gender pay inequality: An examination of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act six years later. Advancing Women in Leadership Journal, 37, 29-36.
Wilson, V. (2021). The limitations and alternatives to expanding the Equal Pay Act under Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga. University of San Francisco Law Review, 56, 339-356.