House takes up pay discrimination

U.S. Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Today, the House is expected to pass a pair of civil rights bills. They're designed to give workers more power to sue over alleged pay discrimination. Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: One bill is called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. She's the former Goodyear Tire worker who sued because her male colleagues got paid more for doing the same work. In 2007, the Supreme Court threw out her case, saying she should have sued within 180 days of getting her first discriminatory paycheck.

The House bill would reverse that and start the clock ticking anew every time an employee gets paid.

Marsha Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center:

Marsha Greenberger: Now, it is so difficult for anyone to get justice or remedy for pay discrimination. By restoring the law to where it was, it will increase the litigation.

And more lawsuits is something Randel Johnson of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says businesses can ill-afford.

Randel Johnson: Any time you have increased litigation costs, that's got to be paid for from somewhere, and that's going to come out of the bottom line.

With Congress and the White House in Democratic hands now, business lobby groups will find themselves fighting off more worker-friendly legislation in coming months, including a bill to make it easier to organize labor unions.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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