From the Editor: Celebrating Women's Impact on Our Industry
It was 89 years ago when women finally won the long fight for the right to vote. It is hard to imagine that we were ever denied that right. It is even harder to imagine that there may still be people out there who think that women don’t deserve this right … but there are. Our society has come a long way, but women’s fight for equality is not over. It’s been 46 years since former President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal to pay employees less on the basis of sex, but women still make just 78 cents for every dollar that men make, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2007 data).
Significant battles continue to be fought to protect women against unfair treatment. In January, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which enables an employee to file a pay-discrimination charge up to 180 days after receiving a discriminatory paycheck. Previously, the law required that a charge be filed within 180 days of the employer’s initial decision to pay an employee less (usually translated to mean: when she was hired). This issue was brought under public scrutiny when Lilly Ledbetter, a 20-year Goodyear employee, received an anonymous note, just months before her retirement, informing her that she had been discriminated against in the form of lower pay; she filed suit, but the Supreme Court ruled that her charge was “time-barred”—not valid because the discriminatory actions regarding her pay were made more than 180 days prior to the complaint filing, even though she filed the charge immediately after discovering the fact that she was being paid less than men in the same position.
It may seem like a technicality, but it is a technicality that will no longer prevent women from winning otherwise valid cases of compensation discrimination.