Within the past week, both the California State Senate and the State Assembly passed an equal pay bill that will now be sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill (see PDF) clarifies time frame for submitting claims of unequal pay and discrimination, beginning at the date of each unlawful payment or act. These parameters for discrimination claims have been in place in California for decades, according to the California Progress Report.
The California bill is important because it clarifies that the reasoning behind the US Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Rubber Co., Inc. (see PDF) is an incorrect model for interpreting state labor laws, according to an editorial in the Los Angeles Times. The Ledbetter decision virtually eliminated an employee’s legal recourse against wage discrimination after the statute of limitations has ended, even if the discrimination is ongoing. On the federal level, Republican filibusters are holding up the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 in the Senate, but if passed this bill would correct the US Supreme Court decision in the Ledbetter case.