Parker Griffith's Huntsville office phone number is 256-551-0190; his Morgan County office phone number is 256-355-9400; his Muscle Shoals office phone number is 256-381-3450; and his Capitol Hill office phone number is 202-225-4801. Or e-mail Parker Griffith.
Bobby Bright's Montgomery office phone number is 334-277-9113 and his Washington, DC office phone number is 202-225-2901. Or e-mail Bobby Bright.
As a previous commentor said, "If equal pay for equal work isn't a real issue, I don't know what is." No kidding. The bills Bright and Griffith voted NO on are about basic fairness in the workplace. And mind you, they weren't voting with the Blue Dog caucus or anything like that -- they were freelancing on this one. Only 5 Democrats voted NO on the Lilly Ledbetter Act and only 3 Democrats voted NO on the Paycheck Fairness act. More information on the bills our new Congressmen opposed below the fold.
Ledbetter would put in place a six-month statute of limitations for women to sue their employer over pay discrimination. The six months would expire from the time the employees received their last pay check.
It would overturn a separate statute of limitations imposed by a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that stated the six-month period dated from when the employer first decided to pay the female employee less than her male counterparts.
It is named after Lilly Ledbetter, an employee with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) in Alabama, who after nearly 20 years discovered her employer was giving better compensation to her male colleagues.
She sued, and the case made it to the Supreme Court, which ruled against Ledbetter in 2007.
The second bill would stiffen penalties for employers engaging in gender-based pay discrimination, and provide protection to employees who share salary information with colleagues.
Lilly Ledbetter is an Alabama grandmother who became a crusader for equal rights relatively late in life.
She spent nearly 20 years working in a tire plant before an anonymous note informed her that her male colleagues were being paid far more money for the same work.
Eventually, Ledbetter sued her employer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., for pay discrimination. She won $3.8 million from a jury. A judge reduced the award to $360,000 and a federal appeals court overturned the verdict altogether.
But what really elevated Ledbetter's cause to the national stage was a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that sided with Goodyear.
For years, Ledbetter had no idea she earned less than her male counterparts, [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg said. "In our view, this court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination," Ginsburg said, urging Congress to amend civil rights law to allow for lawsuits like Ledbetter's.
Lilly Ledbetter was in a Catch-22 situation -- the Supreme Court said she waited too long to file the complaint, that she only had 6 months from the time the pay discrimination first occurred. Unfortunately, she didn't even find out she was being paid thousands less than her male counterparts until the discrimination had been going on for many years. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a clarification of the law to reflect the original intent -- giving women redress when they have been the victim of unequal pay, no matter how long it takes them to find out about it.
The right wing spin on these laws is that they are "gold for trial lawyers." Seems to me that employers who are treating their employees in a fair and even-handed way have nothing to worry about. The way to avoid EEOC complaints from employees is to make sure your business is doing the right thing to start with.