Paycheck Fairness Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act First Bills to Pass House
In an outstanding victory for women's rights, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act were the first bills to pass the House in the new legislative session. The Paycheck Fairness Act passed with a 256-163 vote and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed with a 247-171 vote.
The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House in the last Congress, but was never sent to the Senate floor. It will deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and by barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages.
This Ledbetter Act passed the House in the previous Congress, but Republicans filibustered the bill and prevented a vote in the Senate. It corrects the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Rubber Co., Inc. Supreme Court decision (see PDF) that gutted the ability of women workers to sue for wage discrimination.
Ledbetter worked for Goodyear for 19 years before discovering that she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts with the same or less experience. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the complaint had to be filed within 180 days of the initial salary decision even if the victim is unaware of the discrimination until much later.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that "equal pay is an issue of fundamental fairness...but as families grapple with difficult economic times, equal pay for equal work is often about daily survival for millions of families," according to the Associated Press.
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. . . .