On January 29, made a real difference in the lives every American women currently in the workforce. With the signing of his first bill into law as President, Barack Obama approved equal-pay legislation, sending “a clear message that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody.” Known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the law was named after an Alabama woman, now 70 years old, who discovered upon approaching retirement that after a 19-year career as a supervisor at a tire plant her male colleagues were earning much more than she was.
While a jury found her employer, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company plant in Gadsden, Ala., guilty of pay discrimination, a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court threw out the case, ruling she should have filed her suit within 180 days of the date Goodyear first paid her less than her peers.
After the ruling, Congress did attempt to pass a law that would have overturned the decision while President George W. Bush was still in office. The White House, however, opposed the bill saying it would encourage lawsuits. Opponents further argued that employees could delay filing their claims in the hope of reaping bigger rewards. With a new Congress, the bill was passed, which restarts the six-month clock every time the worker receives a paycheck .
During his campaign for the White House, Mr. Obama told Ms. Ledbetter’s story over and over again, saying the bill not only honors Ms. Ledbetter, but also honors his own grandmother, “who worked in a bank all her life, and even after she hit that glass ceiling, kept getting up again” as well as for his own daughters, “because I want them to grow up in a nation that values their contributions, where there are no limits to their dreams.”
While it is unfortunate that as a result of the legislation Ms. Ledbetter will never see any money, she gained much personal satisfaction as she witnessed the signing in the State Dining Room.After the ceremony, Ms.Ledbetter said, “Goodyear will never have to pay me what it cheated me out of. In fact, I will never see a cent. But with the President’s signature today, I have an even richer reward.”
My hats are off to you, Lily Ledbetter for making a real difference!!!
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