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Pay Equity

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Supreme Court

If a House-passed bill becomes law, you may need to consider retaining all employee records indefinitely. On July 31, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2831, the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act," by a vote of 225 - 199. If enacted into law, the bill would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and greatly expand the time period for filing a pay discrimination claim by linking it to every time an employee receives a paycheck or pension payment from an employer.

SHRM opposes H.R. 2831 because it could keep employers liable for actions taken decades earlier. SHRM believes this indefinite liability for employers runs contrary to Congress's intent in establishing the statute of limitations in the Civil Rights Act back in 1964.

The Supreme Court's Ledbetter decision held that former Goodyear employee Lilly Ledbetter had not brought a discrimination claim within the time period provided by the statute of limitations in current law. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act gives employees the right to file an employment discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission within either 180 or 300 days of the alleged unlawful practice, depending upon whether an employee's home state has a fair employment agency.

H.R. 2831 would change Title VII by allowing an employee to file a charge within 180 days of receiving compensation -- such as a paycheck or pension payment -- from an alleged discriminatory employer. This means the statute of limitations would start and restart with every check.

For further information on the legislation, please contact SHRM Manager of Labor and Employment Legislation Michael Layman.


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