President Barack Obama’s bragging claim that he guaranteed equal pay for women by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 isn’t true, says Victoria Toensing, a partner at diGenova & Toensing law firm.
“He seems not to be aware that for nearly half a century we have enjoyed the protection of two laws requiring equal pay,” she writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece
. “The 1963 Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act combined to settle the matter in law.”
While Obama has called the Ledbetter Act “a big step toward making sure every worker receives equal pay for equal work," Toensing says, “It was a teensy step. It merely changed how the statute of limitations is calculated.”
The Equal Pay Act requires that suits filed under it be initiated within two or three years, depending on whether the discrimination is intentional.
The Civil Rights Act requires that complaints be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days after an intentional discriminatory act.
The Ledbetter Act loosens those requirements. But, “Lilly Ledbetter could have successfully sued under both statutes — if she had the relevant sufficient evidence and had followed the rules,” Toensing writes.
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