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Public Statements

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, like all of my colleagues here on the floor and in the House of Representatives, I fully support efforts to end all forms of discrimination. I admire Ms. Ledbetter's bravery for standing up for her right to work in an environment free from discrimination.

I know what it is like. I sat in law school class and was told by my professor that I was taking up the place of someone who belonged there, a man. As a woman who has felt discrimination, I understand her frustration and I am pleased that Congress is discussing this important issue.

If this bill were an anti-discrimination bill, I would be happy to vote for it and would encourage others to support it. But this bill is not about discrimination. It is about the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is an institution in American jurisprudence that pertains to all cases and all causes of action. For instance, for torts the statutes of limitations is 2 years; for contracts, it is 6 years; for employment determination or discrimination, it is 6 months. We can't legislate change in the statute of limitations just because we don't like a particular Supreme Court ruling.

he statute of limitation requires plaintiffs to bring a claim or a cause of action within a reasonable time. And that is so witnesses don't disappear or die off, memories don't fade, and supervisors don't move on and documents are not discarded or destroyed.

That is why I cannot support the legislation before us today. H.R. 2831 would dismantle the statute of limitation for filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If enacted, this legislation would allow an employee to bring a claim against an employer years, even decades, after the alleged act of discrimination.

In addition, this legislation would discourage the prompt investigation and resolution of discrimination. I think everyone would agree that if there is discrimination at an individual's place of work, it should be investigated and addressed as soon as possible to ensure fairness and prevent further discrimination.

Unfortunately, because no hearings were held on this legislation, I think the majority is rushing it through the House with little discussion on the bill itself. We can only speculate as to what all of the ramifications of this bill might be. I know that the gentleman is probably going to say there was a hearing, but it wasn't directly on this bill. So I would encourage my colleagues to oppose this well-intentioned but misguided statute of limitation legislation.

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