Statement on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

i thank the gentleman. mr. speaker, when the supreme court wrongly decides a case, TimeCode: 13:10:38.8 as they do from time to time, particularly when congressional -- is at issue, the united states congress should act to remedy it. that's what this carefully legislation, the lilly ledbetter act of 2007 is TimeCode: 13:10:56.8 designed to do. i thank the gentleman from new jersey, mr. andrews, and i thank the ranking member as well for what they do on this committee. make no mistake, the court's 5-4 decision on may 29, on ledbetter versus goodyear was TimeCode: 13:11:13.4 wrongly decided. the merits of lilly ledbetter's wage discrimination claim seemed beyond doubt. a federal jury agreed that she was discriminated against, the equal employment opportunity commission agreed with ms. ledbetter's claims. TimeCode: 13:11:29.6 although the bush administration switched its position once the case got to the supreme court. most importantly lilly ledbetter was paid less than all of her male counterparts -- all of her male counterparts. even those who had less TimeCode: 13:11:47.7 seniority. this was clearly not a case where her performance was suspect. goodyear gave her a top performance award in 1996. the fact is the court majority TimeCode: 13:12:00.9 took an extremely cramped view of the title 7 of the civil rights act, holding ms. ledbetter and claimants like her must file their paid discrimination claims within 180 days of the original TimeCode: 13:12:16.3 discriminatory act. even if the discriminatory act continues every week, every biweek, every month, that they would have to look back to the original first check. there are at least three serious problems with the TimeCode: 13:12:30.7 flawed analysis, unlawful discrimination of ms. ledbetter did not begin and end with the goodyear original decision to pay her less than they paid her male counterparts. in fact, every paycheck that lilly ledbetter received after TimeCode: 13:12:45.8 goodyear's decision to pay her less was continuing manifestation of good year's illegal discrimination. as justice ginsberg said, each paycheck was infected, and i quote, by the original decision to unlawfulfully discriminate. TimeCode: 13:13:03.3 secondly, the court dismissed the realities of the workplace far too casually. detecting pay discrimination is not easy. sometimes it may take years town cover. each of us in this body knows what the other member of the TimeCode: 13:13:18.3 body makes. but that is not true in almost every workplace in america. why? because people generally do not talk openly with their co-workers about their salaries, raises, and bonuses. in the fact, many employers strive to keep such information confidential. TimeCode: 13:13:36.2 just consider ms. ledbetter did not become aware that she had been discriminated against until she received an anonymous letter alerting her to the discrimination. third, mr. speaker, the court majority ignored its own holdings that congress intended TimeCode: 13:13:54.4 title 7 -- madam speaker, excuse me. the majority ignored its own holdings that congress intended title 7 to have a broad, remedial purpose to make persons whole for jersey suffered on account of unlawful TimeCode: 13:14:09.5 employment discrimination. finally, let me say that those who claim that this bill eliminates the statute of limitations are incorrect. under this bill, as we thought the law was for 30 years, an employee must still file a TimeCode: 13:14:25.2 charge within the statutory filing period after receiving a discriminatory paycheck. madam speaker, this bill is fair, it is just, and it exorts with the intent of this -- come ports with the intent of -- comports with the intent of TimeCode: 13:14:43.3 this congress. i urge my colleagues to support this bill. to make sure that what congress intended is, in fact, what the law remains. i thank the gentleman from new jersey for yielding.