Equal Pay Victory For Women in Third Circuit

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Mary Lou Mikula’s Title VII pay discrimination claim yesterday, dismissing a previous ruling that her claim was invalid on the basis that it was not timely. The Court relied heavily on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the ruling. The Ledbetter Act corrects the Roberts Supreme Court decision that gutted the ability of women workers to sue for wage discrimination.

Mikula’s suit originated when she managed the police grants budget for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and was paid several thousand dollars less than a male colleague. Mikula requested numerous times that her pay be raised to match that of her male counterpart, which according to the Jackson Lewis law firm, was approximately $7,000 dollars per year higher, yet her employer ignored her requests in 2004 and 2005.

When Mikula filed a gender discrimination complaint with her employer’s Human Resources department, she was informed her claim was unfounded and filed a lawsuit in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania the following year. When the case was dismissed, the National Women’s Law Center petitioned for an appeal. The petition (see PDF) stated, “the panel decision is not only inconsistent with the Fair Pay Act’s plain text, it also undermines the very purpose of the Fair Pay Act and Title IIV more broadly.”

Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a press release, “Today’s decision is a victory for Ms. Mikula and for all those who have been denied equal pay. The decision implements the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as Congress intended, restoring the ability of victims of wage discrimination to challenge this practice in court.”


Press Release 9/11/09, NWLC Website 9/11/09, Jackson Lewis Law Firm 6/12/09

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