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Public Statements

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend for yielding.

Lilly Ledbetter went to work in a factory in Alabama. She was one of the best at her job as a supervisor. She routinely won awards for being best at what she did. Late in her career, when she retired, she found out that she was systemically paid about 30 percent less than the men next to whom she worked. She filed suit in Federal court. The company said she wasn't underpaid because she was a woman, she was underpaid for other reasons. A jury of her peers heard her case and the employer's case, and she won unanimously.

The case went up through the United States Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court, in the case that now bears her name, unfortunately, said that because she didn't file suit when she didn't know that she had been discriminated against, she couldn't recover. So because the employer was successful at hiding the discrimination for a period of time, she couldn't recover.

Lilly Ledbetter could be any one of our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, or neighbors. What was done to her is an affront not only to her, but to the law. Women should not confront this law as a trap to deny them their rights. The law should not be a vessel of injustice. And we should not wait to pass this bill, put it on President Obama's desk, and make it the law of the land today.


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