Lilly Ledbetter, the plaintiff in the landmark Ledbetter v. Goodyear U.S. Supreme Court case and the inspiration for The Fair Pay Act of 2009, will recount her incredible story of struggle and triumph for equity in the workplace at the UW School of Law on Wednesday, March 3 at 4:30 PM in William H. Gates Hall Room 138. Ledbetter will be joined by law professor Eric Schnapper, who has handled more than 70 Supreme Court discrimination cases, including his most recent victories in Crawford v. Metro Nashville and CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries.
In November 1998, after early retirement from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company union plant in Gadsden, Alabama, Ledbetter sued claiming pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. She had started at Goodyear with the same pay as her male counterparts but by retirement, she was earning anywhere from $600 to $1400 less per month compared to the 15 men in similar positions.
The Supreme Court ruled that employers cannot be sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act over race or gender pay discrimination if the claims are based on decisions made by the employer 180 days ago or more. The effect of the Court's holding was reversed by the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, the first piece of legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama. The bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new discriminatory paycheck.