Lilly Ledbetter was an employee at an Alabama plant of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, plant from 1979 until 1998. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1998, alleging her supervisors gave her poor performance evaluations because of her sex.
In 2007, by a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found in favor of Goodyear.
President Obama recently signed a law that overturned that ruling. The new law will make it possible for employees to assert claims of discrimination in compensation virtually without any time limit. Depending on how the statute is construed, it could affect other discrimination claims as well. As a result, employers not only will face increased discrimination claims, but also difficulty defending against them. (Even more ominous is the law backdates any claims to May 2007, when the Court made its ruling).
So now what?
- Review your pay practices. Conduct a pay/compensation audit for your entire company to ensure your procedures meet the criteria of the Ledbetter Pay Act. This includes reviewing your past pay practices as well.
- Train and educate your management team. Everyone who conducts performance reviews needs to understand the ramifications of this act.
- Review your records retention policies.