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On Anniversary of Ledbetter Act, NWLC Commends President Obama for Supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act and Urges the President to Also Issue Fair Pay Executive Order

January 29, 2013

(Washington, DC) On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, restoring pay discrimination protections that had existed for decades prior to the Supreme Court 5-4 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) commends President Obama for his support of the Paycheck Fairness to make key improvements in the law, and also calls on the President to issue an executive order to ensure that contractors who do business with the federal government cannot retaliate against workers who discuss their own pay.

“President Obama made a major contribution to women’s ability to secure equal pay when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act four years ago today,” said NWLC Co-President Marcia D. Greenberger. “But important, unfinished business remains. Women are often in the dark when it comes to their being paid less, a problem exacerbated by employers who penalize their employees for discussing their pay. Even when women are able to prove discrimination, the legal remedies are narrow and insufficient. This means that there are too few incentives for employers to voluntarily comply with the law, and engaging in pay discrimination unfortunately becomes part of the regular way of doing business.”

Last week Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would give workers stronger tools to combat wage discrimination, bar retaliation against workers for discussing salary information, and ensure full compensation for victims of gender-based pay discrimination. Earlier today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) reintroduced the Fair Pay Act, which would require employers to provide equal pay for jobs that are equivalent in skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions and to disclose pay scales and rates for all job categories.

“We support the swift passage of these bills,” Greenberger said. And President Obama can also issue an executive order, which would enhance millions of Americans’ ability to learn about wage disparities and provide much-needed certainty that their jobs will not be at stake if they discuss their pay. Along with the needed legislation, it would make an important difference for working women and their families who need and deserve the law on their side."

“On this anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the urgency for fair pay is clear. We all have a stake in this—women and their families cannot and should not wait any longer.”

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For more information, visit: http://www.nwlc.org/our-issues/employment/equal-pay-and-the-wage-gap