Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson released the following statement on the four-year anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:
"Four years ago, President Barack Obama signed his first bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, into law. The passage of this bill signified the progress we have made in fighting gender-based pay disparities, and restored an employee's legal right to challenge pay discrimination. Discriminatory pay directly affects a family's prosperity, especially those families with women as heads of household, and leads to reduced retirement security. The Ledbetter Act protects women in the workplace, and moves our country forward to a day when women will be paid what they rightly deserve.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. The Institute of Women's Policy Research found that this wage disparity will cost women anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million over a lifetime in lost wages.
These figures highlight the importance of passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and close loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay. The Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit retaliation from employers against employees who share their salary information with their coworkers. It would also require employers to show that unequal pay is job-related and consistent with a business necessity.
The Paycheck Fairness Act is a necessity in order to properly combat wage disparities. I will continue to work with my Democratic colleagues to urge House Republicans to bring this legislation to the floor."
The Lilly Ledbetter Act was named for Lilly Ledbetter, a victim of sex-based pay discrimination who was denied a remedy by the Supreme Court in 2007, in a 5-4 decision. The Supreme Court held that a suit for pay discrimination must be filed within 180 days of the employer's initial decision to pay an employee less. The bill restores longstanding prior law, which states that a pay discrimination charge must be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck.