Thank you Justice Ginsburg

Regarding the decision in a pay discrimination case: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Inc., No. 05-1074 (5/29/07):

You (and your three colleagues: Justices Stevens, Souter, and Breyer) did your best.

In our view, the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination, she [Justice Ginsburg] said.

In short, the law needs changing because it is difficult to know that one is being paid less than a similarly situated employee of another gender.

Pay disparities often occur, as they did in Ledbetter’s case, in small increments; only over time is there strong cause to suspect that discrimination is at work, she [Justice Ginsburg] wrote.

The majority opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, encourages an adversarial employment relationship (one a typical employee with bills to pay cannot afford) because one would have to be persistently suspicious that their employers are committing pay discrimination against them in order to satisfy the 180 day deadline.

[Lilly] Ledbetter’s policy arguments for giving special treatment to pay claims find no support in the statute and are inconsistent with our precedents. We apply the statute as written, and this means that any unlawful employment practice, including those involving compensation, must be presented to the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] within the period prescribed by statute.

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