Congress Expands Employer Liability For Discriminatory Pay Practices

On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (the “Ledbetter Act”). The Ledbetter Act amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make clear that an unlawful employment practice occurs “when a discriminatory compensation decision . . . is adopted, when an individual becomes subject to a discriminatory compensation decision . . ., or when an individual is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision . . ., including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from such a decision.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e), as amended (emphasis added). The compensation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (the “ADEA”), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were similarly amended. Significantly, the Act’s effective date was made retroactive to May 28, 2007.

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