Voting on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was set to occur on Wednesday, but is now going to happen on Friday of this week. Most followers of this legislation view it, along with the Paycheck Fairness Act (which will also be voted on on Friday), to be warm-up votes to the Employee Free Choice Act.
To recap, Lilly Ledbetter worked at an Alabama Goodyear tire plant for nearly 20 years before learning that she was not paid as much as men performing her job duties and won $3.8 million for the apparent discriminatory pay. But, the United States Supreme Court overruled the lower court and held that as the law is currently written, minorities have 180 days from the time their employer began paying them less than their counterparts in order to sue. Since Ms. Ledbetter waited 20 years to sue, she was precluded from recovering money for the alleged disparate pay practices.
Tomorrow the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on whether to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (and the Paycheck Fairness Act which I will write about over the weekend). The bill was voted on last year, too, and went the way EFCA votes went: passed in the House of Representatives, but died in the Senate. That was last year. Now there are enough Democrats in Senate to prevent the Republicans from blocking this bill as well as the other pro-labor bills like EFCA, the RESPECT Act, the Patriot Employer Act, and the Flexible Working Families Act.
Both the Fair Pay Act (and the Paycheck Fairness Act) are touted as gender equity laws, but that is a misnomer – just like how there is no choice in the Employee Free Choice Act. Liberals use an often quoted but rarely defined statistic that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. As stated by Allison Kasic:
This statistic compares the wages of the median full-time working man and the median full-time working woman. It tells us nothing about the existence or non-existence of wage discrimination. The wage gap ignores a myriad of other relevant factors including education level, years in the workforce, and type of occupation. Once these other factors are taken into account, the wage gap shrinks.
The fall out of this legislation is enormous. Ms. Kasic correctly states that the Fair Pay Act would allow a former employee – from 40 years ago – bring a lawsuit against a company long after that employee has moved on from the company. Likewise, Drew Greenblatt the owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products, a small business that makes wire baskets, is scared that his employment insurance premiums will increase as a result of the myriad of unknown lawsuits that could be asserted decades later. Without a doubt, the passage of this will make the cost of doing business increase exponentially.
Of course I will update you on both the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act after Congress votes.