WASHINGTON (April 24, 2008) — Senate Republicans blocked Democratic efforts to move to a vote a bill to reverse a Supreme Court decision limiting pay discrimination lawsuits that involved a retired Goodyear employee.
The bill arose from the lawsuit filed by Lilly Ledbetter, a retired supervisor at Goodyear's Gadsden, Ala., plant, who sued the tire maker after discovering she was being paid substantially less than men in the same job.
A jury awarded her $3.8 million, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the award was invalid because Ledbetter had not filed suit within 180 days of the first discriminatory pay action, as required under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The bill would have established that the 180-day clock started running with each reduced paycheck, not just the first one.
Labor and civil rights groups, including the United Steelworkers, supported the bill as simple fairness, but business interests such as the Rubber Manufacturers Association said the bill would open a Pandora's box of future litigation.
The White House threatened to veto the bill if passed, but congressional Democrats are likely to try to revive the bill and make it an issue in the upcoming elections.