President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act today providing women with a critical tool to challenge discriminatory pay practices. The new Act significantly extends the statute of limitations for pay discrimination allowing an employee to receive back pay for discriminatory compensation for up to two years from the date of the charge. The act is named after Lilly Ledbetter of Alabama who sued Goodyear when she became aware she was paid substantially less than her male counterparts over a 19 year period. After winning a decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned her case claiming she should have filed suit within 180 days of the first time she was underpaid. The Fair Pay Act essentially restarts the clock each time an employee is paid.
Elizabeth Trenbeath, President of Snelling Staffing of the Midlands, explains when unlawful discriminatory practice occurs.
“Under the new law the unlawful discriminatory practice-it states here-it occurs in three ways: It occurs when the discriminatory pay decision is made, Secondly, it occurs each time the employers pays wages, benefits and compensation based on the discriminatory pay decision, And then thirdly, when anybody is affected by the discriminatory pay.”
Trenbeath also wants to encourage employers, especially small businesses, to keep good records to protect themselves from employee suits.
“I also want to encourage all companies to maintain all payroll records for four years after an employee is terminated in order to defend a claim and make sure that they keep four years of employee records.”
To file a claim, contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at www.eeoc.gov.