Ledbetter Testifies in House Hearing; Committee Calls for Title VII Action
Lilly Ledbetter, the plaintiff in a wage discrimination case against the Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company, spoke yesterday before the House Committee on Education and Labor, highlighting the difficulties employees face when reporting incidents of discrimination in the workplace. The Supreme Court recently ruled against Ledbetter, and members of the House and Senate have vowed to correct Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with legislation.
Ledbetter began her testimony with details of her case, including the legal decisions that ended in the Supreme Court last month. She then spoke of the implications of wage discrimination, which can have lasting effects. "The truth is, Goodyear continues to treat me like a second-class worker to this day because my pension and social security is based on the amount I earned while working there," Ledbetter stated. "Goodyear gets to keep my extra pension as a reward for breaking the law."
In addition to experiencing wage discrimination, Ledbetter testified that she had also been a victim of sexual harassment. In the early 1980s, one of her supervisors implied that if she did not go to a motel with him she would receive a poor evaluation. She was able to resolve the issue with her supervisor through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Her complaint, however, led to an increasingly hostile work environment. After this incident, Ledbetter said she "got a taste of what happens when you try to complain about discrimination."
During the hearing, committee chair Rep. George Miller (D-CA) recognized the injustice in the 5-4 Supreme Court decision, calling it, "a painful step backwards for civil rights in this country." He and other Democratic committee members referenced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent, calling on Congress to rectify the decision through legislative means. "A slim majority of the Supreme Court shunned reason in order to satisfy its own narrow ideological agenda. Reason -- and justice -- demand a different result," Miller said.
Media Resources: Testimony of Lilly Ledbetter 6/12/07; Rep. Miller Statement on Ledbetter v. Goodyear 6/12/07
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .