By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act yesterday. I’ve written about this legislation before, and won’t repeat it today, except to say that this is a sign that the current Congress is willing to take action to protect employees’ rights, and a sign that Congress is willing to overrule the Supreme Court when it will not fully implement Congressional intent.
Here is an excerpt from President Obama’s remarks:
“Equal pay is by no means just a women’s issue — it’s a family issue. It’s about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition and child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on; households where one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves; that’s the difference between affording the mortgage — or not; between keeping the heat on, or paying the doctor bills — or not. And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month’s paycheck to simple and plain discrimination.
“So signing this bill today is to send a clear message: that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody; that there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces; and that it’s not just unfair and illegal, it’s bad for business to pay somebody less because of their gender or their age or their race or their ethnicity, religion or disability; and that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory, or footnote in a casebook. It’s about how our laws affect the daily lives and the daily realities of people: their ability to make a living and care for their families and achieve their goals.
“Ultimately, equal pay isn’t just an economic issue for millions of Americans and their families, it’s a question of who we are — and whether we’re truly living up to our fundamental ideals; whether we’ll do our part, as generations before us, to ensure those words put on paper some 200 years ago really mean something — to breathe new life into them with a more enlightened understanding that is appropriate for our time.”
— Pres. Barack H. Obama, in remarks at signing ceremony for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Jan. 29, 2009