Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fair Pay Act of 2009 - About Time, Too!

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 into law today! Yay!

In my other life, I did work as a software analyst for a tech company. As I was considering whether to stay in the company or not, I learned that I was paid significantly less than my colleagues even as we were doing exactly the same work. At that time, I had yet to complete my graduate degree. My project manager told me, they were paid more because they had advanced degrees. I still remember feeling crappy about it but it also made my decision to leave easier. No, I did not take my employer to court; I went back to school to complete my degree.

The new law amends title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and modify the operation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, and for other purposes.

So President Obama’s first piece of legislation signed into law has real meaning for me. I’ve been there, they’ve done that. The Court ruled that employees subject to pay discrimination like Lilly Ledbetter must file a claim within 180 days of the employer's original decision to pay them less. The new law means that complaints can now be filed 180 days after any discriminatory paycheck. I won’t recover anything from my former employer since gone bankrupt but this would make employers think twice before pulling these kind of tricks on others.

More info here and here. The blog post here also includes links to the SCOTUS’ majority and minority opinions.


Jaime said...

So if the fair pay act has passed, can junior officer FSOs use it to get the locality pay that other FSOs and departments get? Just curious.

DS said...

Hi Jaime,

This act is a separate and different matter from the overseas pay gap and impacts only the pay issues caused by discrimination under Title VII and in age and disability cases.

The one you are referring to involving locality pay for FSOs is called the "Foreign Service Overseas Pay Equity Act of 2008." That has not been passed as far as I know. Here is AFSA's piece that you might find useful: