Wednesday, April 23, 2008

McCain Now Opposes Equal Pay Remedy for Women

Sen. John Sydney McCain, III has announced that he opposes a bill that would allow women to sue to receive pay that is equal to that of their male co-workers. The bill "is named for Lilly Ledbetter, a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s plant in Gadsden, Ala., who sued for pay discrimination just before retiring after a 19-year career there. By the time she retired, Ledbetter made $6,500 less than the lowest-paid male supervisor and claimed earlier decisions by supervisors kept her from making more." Yahoo News

"The bill sought to counteract a Supreme Court decision limiting how long workers can wait before suing for pay discrimination. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 last year to throw out her complaint, saying she had waited too long to sue." Yahoo News

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that if a woman must file a discrimination claim within just months of the time when the discrimination began, otherwise she loses all right to file a complaint for her lifetime. So, if a woman began to receive unequal pay in 1980 and has been paid unequally ever since, she cannot file a complaint today because the filing deadline has already run. Her time to file has run out, even if she has only now discovered the discrimination.

There were a number of legal theories the Supreme Court could have adopted to preserve the woman's right to a claim and to give her a chance at equal pay. For example, the Court could have found that Congress intended for the filing period to begin to run when the woman discovered she was being unequally paid, rather than when the unequal pay secretly began. The Court could also have found that, when the discrimination is ongoing, each successive unequal paycheck is part of a continuing act of discrimination, and the clock on the filing deadline only begins to run when on the date of the last act of discrimination, e.g. the last unequal paycheck, not the first one.

Instead, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to exacerbate the problem of unequal pay by determining that if a company can pay a woman unequally until her filing deadline runs, then they can continue to pay her unequally for the rest of her life!

What an embarrassing day in the American injustice system. What an indictment of Sen. John Sydney McCain, III, who supports this absurd decision and opposes a Congressional remedy.

No comments: