Recently, I wrote to my Congressman and Senators regarding the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Thanks to my Congressman, but NO THANKS to either of my obstructionist Republican Senators, the bill passed both houses and was signed into law by President Obama. My letter to my representatives appealed to them to support the Fair Pay Act which made it not easier, as the media was reporting, but POSSIBLE for someone who is being discriminated against to file for redress of grievance to the Court. Previous laws which set statutes of limitations did not address the possibility that someone might be unaware for years or decades that they were discriminated against at their place of employment. This law addresses that oversight.
That's the simple fact. Just as laws have been amended to fix the problem that arises with statutes of limitations in criminal cases where a victim is unable bring charges at the time of a crime for whatever reason, this law simply amends statutes of limitations so that people who are unaware that they are being paid less have further opportunity to file for redress. It doesn't help those that don't find out until after they leave a place of employment, though. So, it could have been even tougher.
Unfortunately, at least one of my Senators was either unable to grasp the concept of an amendment to a statute (in which case, he is not competent to hold the office) or he is being purposely obtuse. You decide. The text of his reply to me explaining his NO vote on this bill is pasted below:
Thank you for taking the time to write regarding pay discrimination. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.
In 2007, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, Inc., a case that involved questions about the timeliness of claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This section of the law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Court held that the plaintiff had not filed suit in a timely manner of 180 days of her pay being set.
In response to this ruling, multiple bills were introduced in Congress to supercede the Ledbetter decision. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (S. 181). This bill clarifies that every paycheck from an earlier discriminatory pay decision constitutes a violation of the Civil Rights Act. Under this bill, as long as an employee files his or her charge of discrimination within 180 days of any discriminatory paycheck, the charge would be considered timely.
This legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 61-36. It also passed the House and was recently signed into law by President Obama (PL 111-1). I voted against this bill because it would eliminate long standing statutes of limitations in place to ensure disputes are resolved in a timely and fair manner. As a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, I remain committed to supporting anti-discrimination and equal employment laws.
Now isn't that a typical Republican thing: to say "I support anti-discrimination and equal employment laws"--but forget to add "Only when I have to avoid looking like a heel and only if they are very WEAK and not constructive."
The question I have for Mr. Roberts is how can you solve a dispute in a timely manner when you don't even know that you have a dispute for years and years? How many years was Lilly Ledbetter paid less than her male co-workers before she found out that she was being paid less due to her gender? So, she's just out of luck because some arbitrary statute of limitation says it's okay for her employer to discriminate against her as long as she doesn't know about it? Mr. Roberts, have you ever heard the phrase "spirit of the law?"
Allow me to explain. Anti-discrimination laws protect people like me and my two daughters from employers who believe they can pay me less because I don't have a penis. That is "the spirit of the law." (Its intention is to protect me from wage discrimination.) But at every single place I have ever worked there have been policies in place that provide that workers are not allowed to discuss salary and wage information with other employees on threat of termination. So, if it is the intention of the law to protect me and my daughters from asshats who think they can get away with paying us less because they don't value the vagina, an employer can break the law with impunity by preventing us from finding out they are doing it. And that's okay with you, Mr. Roberts? You don't have a problem with that, Mr. I-sit-on-the-Committee-that-considers-and-writes-the-laws-that-are-supposed-to-protect-you?
Answer this, Senator Roberts: How is it FAIR to me that I am being paid less, in violation of the law, but I am not allowed access to the information that would reveal this information to me, and, if I do find out somehow, I can't file for redress or monetary damages unless I know about it when I take the job? WOMEN AREN'T STUPID, MR. ROBERTS. If they KNEW they were being screwed over, they wouldn't take less pay in the first place. But you believe it is unfair for me to be able to address the issue when I find out about because of some loophole like a statute of limitations?
Folks, Senator Roberts has a wife and two daughters. I guess it's okay for whoever is currently employing his wife and two daughters (assuming that they actually WORK for a living) to pay them less due to their inferior private parts as long as they don't know about it or can't find out about it in time to file for redress under the statute of limitations.
Can someone tell me why this doesn't disqualify him from sitting on the Senate Committee????
SENATOR PAT ROBERTS--Discriminatory Asshat of the Day Sphere: Related Content