The California State Senate has passed a law to shield workers in the state from a US Supreme Court decision that severely limits employees' ability to sue for equal pay. In May, the Court ruled 5-4 in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Co. that wage discrimination complaints could only be filed within 180 days of the initial discriminatory salary decision. The California fix specifies that the time period for filing a complaint restarts with each discriminatory paycheck.
"The Courtís decision ignores the reality of the workplace where salaries are often hidden ... [It] encourages employers to hide information and will likely lead to more unlawful discrimination," said California Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), the bill's sponsor. "This legislation will ensure that the Supreme Courtís flawed decision does not apply to state laws that affect a worker's right to equal pay."
The bill makes California the first state to introduce its own version of the federal Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bipartisan bill to clarify federal discrimination law in the wake of Ledbetter. The Act passed the House in July and awaits approval in the Senate, where it is titled The Fair Pay Restoration Act.
The California bill must still pass the State Assembly and be signed by the governor. It has the support of women's rights, civil rights, and labor groups but faces opposition from the state Chamber of Commerce.
Media Resources: Assemblymember Dave Jones Press Release 9/7/07; Washington Post 8/14/07; Feminist Daily Wire 7/25/07
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .