Yesterday President Obama signs a bill that amends a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 originally signed into law by then President Lyndon Johnson. The new bill calls for equal pay for equal work. The President says “calling pay equity not a women’s issue, but a family issue”.
The equal-pay bill ends a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision saying employees only had 180 days to file pay-discrimination lawsuits and is expected to make it easier for workers to sue for decades-long discrimination.
In 1998 Lilly Ledbetter filed a lawsuit against her employer Goodyear Tire Rubber Co. in Gadsen, AL after discovering that the men who had the same position as her were making more than her. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled in favor of Goodyear with a 5 to 4 vote. They stated that Mrs. Ledbetter waited to long to sue.
Mrs. Ledbetter said, “I was initially humiliated, I felt degraded”.
It’s interesting to me that this wasn’t resolved during the Clinton or Bush Administrations. Obviously there were more important issues to contend with than equality.