Ledbetter Bill: Setting the Record Straight

Last night during the final Presidential debate you may have heard the reference to a little known piece of legislation called the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In responding to a question on abortion issues and judges, Senator Barack Obama briefly discussed the Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber and the legislation that was introduced days after the decision.

In the Ledbetter Decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed current law by confirming prior Court decisions to uphold time limits in filing discrimination charges. This timely filing of charges is important to promptly investigate real instances of unlawful discrimination in the workplace.

Senator Obama references efforts to “overturn” the decision in the Senate, referring to the legislation introduced as “an effort to provide better guidance to the courts.”

In reality the scope of bill that was considered in the Senate, commonly referred to as the ‘Ledbetter Bill’, goes far beyond the issues raised in the Ledbetter decision and removes an important incentive to prompt identification and resolution of potential discrimination claims.

Although, Senator McCain didn’t fully respond to Senator Obama’s points on this issue, he was correct when he explained that the Ledbetter Bill was a “trial lawyer’s dream.”

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