Statement on the Passage the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

The Center for American Progress Action Fund applauds Congress for passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Jessica Arons, Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program, noted, “It is fitting that one of the first bills President Obama will sign into law ensures that women, as well as other victims of discrimination, will once again get a fair day in court.”

The Ledbetter Act corrects a 2007 decision by the Supreme Court that required Lilly Ledbetter to bring her pay discrimination claim within 180 days of receiving her first unequal paycheck, even though she did not know she was being paid unfairly until much later. Congress has now clarified that every discriminatory paycheck, and every other act of new or continued discrimination, starts the clock running again each time. Ledbetter was deprived of full compensation for the money she should have earned, but hopefully under this law no one will be denied justice again.

We urge the Senate to finish the work that has begun and quickly pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will improve enforcement of our fair pay laws and further narrow the gender pay gap. In the meantime, we will celebrate Congress’s action to protect the rights and financial security of women and their families in these tough economic times.

More from CAP and CAPAF on equal pay:

Report: Lifetime Losses: The Career Wage Gap from the Action Fund

Video: Standing in the Way of Fair Pay

Column: Fair Pay Is Critical as the Recession Deepens by Heather Boushey