Senate Passes Legislation Lautenberg and Menendez Cosponsored to Give Women Equal Pay

Senate Passes Legislation Lautenberg and Menendez Cosponsored to Give Women Equal Pay

Washington - The Senate today approved legislation Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) cosponsored to give women and other victims of workplace discrimination equal pay for equal work. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 -- named after a woman who worked for Goodyear Tire Co. for two decades and sued her employer after she discovered she was paid less than her male counterparts for similar work -- would reverse a Supreme Court decision that said Ledbetter filed her suit too late.

"A woman makes only 78 cents for every dollar a man makes and a recent study showed the pay gap widening in New Jersey. In these times of recession, with many families relying solely on a mother's income, this persistent inequality is making things harder for families across the country. It is time women receive the same pay as their male counterparts and that we eradicate all pay discrimination," said Sen. Lautenberg.

Sen. Menendez said: "Equal pay for equal work should be an absolute given under any circumstances, but it is even more important with so many people struggling in this economy. Pay discrimination is a relic of an outdated and unconscionable way of thinking and should have been abolished long ago. This is a momentous and long overdue step, and I am proud to have strongly supported it."

Ledbetter sued her employer in 1998 when she found out her employer was engaging in pay discrimination. But she did not learn of the discrimination until years later because Goodyear Tire Co. employees were not allowed to discuss their salaries. A jury awarded Ledbetter more than $3 million in damages but the Supreme Court overruled that decision because it said she waited too long to file her case. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would give women and other victims of pay discrimination 180 days after the last discriminatory paycheck to file suit.

The measure is sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and cosponsored by 53 Senators. The legislation passed by a vote of 61 to 36.


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