WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama’s signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act drew praise from three Jewish groups.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism all lauded the new law, the first Obama has signed since his inauguration. The legislation overturns a 2007 Supreme Court decision which rules that workers must file a wage discrimination lawsuit within six months of the first instance of discrimination.The new law restores the old interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which considers each paycheck a new act of discrimination and allows lawsuits within six months of when the discrimination is discovered — no matter when the discrimination originally started.
"It is unfortuante that in this era, legislation was necessary to ensure that two individuals performing the same work are paid the same amount, said Andrea Weinstein, the chair of JCPA, an umbrella group bringing together the synagogue movements, several national organizations and more than 100 local Jewish communties across North America. "However, we are pleased this law has finally become a reality."
"Enactment of this law is the first step in the road to ensuring equal pay for women and others victimized by workplace discrimination," said the president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Nancy Ratzan. The next step, she said, is passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has been approved by the House of Representatives but still awaiting action in the Senate. That legislation would strengthen the 1963 Fair Pay Act by, among other provisions, requring employers seeking to justify unequal pay bear the burden of proving that its actions are job-related and prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with co-workers.