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Hare Strongly Supports Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Hare Strongly Supports Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Says Equal Pay for Equal Work is a Fundamental Right

Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, today voted in favor of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which would rectify a recent Supreme Court ruling that made it harder for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims.

"The Supreme Court's decision in Ledbetter versus Goodyear was a setback for fundamental equal rights," Hare said. "I am pleased that the House stood up for America's workers today by essentially invalidating this misguided ruling and returning the law to its original intent."

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would clarify that every paycheck or other compensation resulting, in whole or in part, from an earlier discriminatory pay decision constitutes a violation of the Civil Rights Act. As long as workers file their charges within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck, their charges would be considered timely.

"Mrs. Ledbetter's pay discrimination case was dismissed—not because she wasn't being discriminated against—but because the Supreme Court believed she filed her claim too late," Hare said. "American's civil rights should not have an expiration date."

While Ledbetter filed her charge within 180 days of receiving discriminatory pay, the court ruled that, since Ledbetter did not raise a claim within 180 days of the employer's decision to pay her less, she could not receive any relief. Employees in Ledbetter's position would be forced to live with discriminatory paychecks for the rest of their careers under this Supreme Court decision.

The Supreme Court decision ignored the realities of the workplace—where employees generally do not know enough about what their co-workers earn, or how pay decisions are made, to file a complaint precisely when discrimination first occurs. In fact, Ledbetter filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as soon as she received an anonymous note alerting her to pay discrimination.

"When the Supreme Court sanctions discrimination through technicalities or misinterpretation, it's Congress' job to clarify the intent of the law," Hare said. "We started that process today. All Americans deserve equal pay for equal work regardless of their gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, or disability."

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