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Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 is enacted, fixing damage done by a 2007 Supreme Court decision

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 signed into law 1-29-09

Below I have reproduced the entire Act. But you might want to read the Act on the Library of Congress site here: (S. 181 ENR) Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

Here is a brief summary of why the LLFPA was enacted:

The LLFPA was enacted to amend the discrimination laws in order to render the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter v. Goodyear decision obsolete.

Background: A couple of years ago the US Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in a pay discrimination case. The case was Ledbetter v. Goodyear, decided by the US Supreme Court on May 29, 2007.

In the Ledbetter v. Goodyear case, the Supreme Court decided that Lilly Ledbetter had waited too long to bring her pay discrimination case, even though the discriminatory pay practice was continuing (through her current paychecks).

The Court reasoned that the illegal conduct did not consist in Lilly merely feeling the effects of pay discrimination (through her current paychecks), but rather, the illegal conduct consisted of the original decision by management to pay her less than males. And the decision to discriminate was made years ago. Accordingly, Lilly waited too long to file her charges and the 300-day statute of limitations had run out, and her case could not be brought in court.

Outrage ensued, and Congress took action, resulting in the LLFPA.

The LLFPA changes the law to give people like Lilly a new statute of limitations when they currently feel the effects of earlier pay discrimination, but limits their backpay to two years:

(1) The LLFPA clearly provides that a new act of illegal compensation discrimination is deemed to occur whenever the person feels the effects of an earlier act of compensation discrimination. For one example, each new paycheck starts a new statute of limitations. Here is the list of the things that will now start a new statute of limitations for compensation discrimination:

  • when an individual becomes subject to a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice
  • or when an individual is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice
  • including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from such decision or other practice.

(2) The LLFPA appears to limit the backpay remedy for compensation discrimination to two years prior to the filing of a charge of pay discrimination.

Here’s the two year limit provision: “… including recovery of back pay for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge, where the unlawful employment practices that have occurred during the charge filing period are similar or related to unlawful employment practices with regard to discrimination in compensation that occurred outside the time for filing a charge.” You can read it for yourself below.

Other than the provisions I have just summarized, the LLFPA contains what we might call “housekeeping” provisions that apply the new law to all the various big discrimination statutes.

Below is the entire text of the what I believe to be the version of the Lilly Ledbetter Act that was signed by the President.

I got the text from the Library of Congress site here: (S. 181 ENR) Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

S. 181

AT THE FIRST SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,
the sixth day of January, two thousand and nine

An Act

To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and to modify the operation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), significantly impairs statutory protections against discrimination in compensation that Congress established and that have been bedrock principles of American law for decades. The Ledbetter decision undermines those statutory protections by unduly restricting the time period in which victims of discrimination can challenge and recover for discriminatory compensation decisions or other practices, contrary to the intent of Congress.

(2) The limitation imposed by the Court on the filing of discriminatory compensation claims ignores the reality of wage discrimination and is at odds with the robust application of the civil rights laws that Congress intended.

(3) With regard to any charge of discrimination under any law, nothing in this Act is intended to preclude or limit an aggrieved person’s right to introduce evidence of an unlawful employment practice that has occurred outside the time for filing a charge of discrimination.

(4) Nothing in this Act is intended to change current law treatment of when pension distributions are considered paid.

SEC. 3. Discrimination in compensation because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Section 706(e) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–5(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(3)(A) For purposes of this section, an unlawful employment practice occurs, with respect to discrimination in compensation in violation of this title, when a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted, when an individual becomes subject to a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, or when an individual is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from such a decision or other practice.

“(B) In addition to any relief authorized by section 1977A of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1981a), liability may accrue and an aggrieved person may obtain relief as provided in subsection (g)(1), including recovery of back pay for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge, where the unlawful employment practices that have occurred during the charge filing period are similar or related to unlawful employment practices with regard to discrimination in compensation that occurred outside the time for filing a charge.”.

SEC. 4. Discrimination in compensation because of age.

Section 7(d) of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 626(d)) is amended—

(1) in the first sentence—

(A) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively; and

(B) by striking “(d)” and inserting “(d)(1)”;

(2) in the third sentence, by striking “Upon” and inserting the following:

“(2) Upon”; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(3) For purposes of this section, an unlawful practice occurs, with respect to discrimination in compensation in violation of this Act, when a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted, when a person becomes subject to a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, or when a person is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from such a decision or other practice.”.

SEC. 5. Application to other laws.

(a) Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.—The amendments made by section 3 shall apply to claims of discrimination in compensation brought under title I and section 503 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12111 et seq., 12203), pursuant to section 107(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 12117(a)), which adopts the powers, remedies, and procedures set forth in section 706 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–5).

(b) Rehabilitation Act of 1973.—The amendments made by section 3 shall apply to claims of discrimination in compensation brought under sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791, 794), pursuant to—

(1) sections 501(g) and 504(d) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 791(g), 794(d)), respectively, which adopt the standards applied under title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 for determining whether a violation has occurred in a complaint alleging employment discrimination; and

(2) paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 505(a) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 794a(a)) (as amended by subsection (c)).

(c) Conforming amendments.—

(1) Rehabilitation Act of 1973.—Section 505(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794a(a)) is amended—

(A) in paragraph (1), by inserting after “(42 U.S.C. 2000e–5 (f) through (k))” the following: “(and the application of section 706(e)(3) (42 U.S.C. 2000e–5(e)(3)) to claims of discrimination in compensation)”; and

(B) in paragraph (2), by inserting after “1964” the following: “(42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) (and in subsection (e)(3) of section 706 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e–5), applied to claims of discrimination in compensation)”.

(2) Civil Rights Act of 1964.—Section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–16) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(f) Section 706(e)(3) shall apply to complaints of discrimination in compensation under this section.”.

(3) Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.—Section 15(f) of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 633a(f)) is amended by striking “of section” and inserting “of sections 7(d)(3) and”.

SEC. 6. Effective date.

This Act, and the amendments made by this Act, take effect as if enacted on May 28, 2007 and apply to all claims of discrimination in compensation under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.), title I and section 503 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that are pending on or after that date.


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