Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Women's de-lib redux

Back in May, Liberal Beagle posted about a Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that a woman could not sue for two decades' worth of pay discrimination because the 180-day statute of limitations had expired.

Yesterday, the House considered a bill that would change the law so that the 180-day clock is restarted each time a paycheck is issued that's affected by discrimination.

Under current law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court ruling, the worker has 180 days from the initial discriminatory decision. Given the difficulties of discovering and proving pay discrimination in most workplaces, this is a very high bar to clear.

The bill passed on a nearly party line vote, but the Bush Administration has promised a veto. The National Association of Manufacturers also opposes the bill, saying that employers "would be forced to defend against an avalanche of decades-old, frivolous claims." House Republicans characterized the bill as a give-away for trial lawyers.

Honestly, this bill sounds like common sense to me. It's not as if employers would be asked to defend claims from people who hadn't worked for them in years -- only employees who had received a paycheck within the last six months would be eligible. It doesn't seem reasonable for an employer to be completely off the hook for good just because they've managed to hide discrimination from an employee for six months.

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