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A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Claire O’Brien, (202) 675-2312;

ACLU Calls For Passage Of Equal Pay Legislation On Anniversary Of The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Paycheck Fairness Act Is Next Step For Equality In The Workplace

today's one-year anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a
landmark law in the fight for paycheck equality, the American Civil
Liberties Union calls on leaders in the Senate to pass the Paycheck
Fairness Act (S. 182), the next step in ensuring equality in the
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was a critical piece of legislation that
corrected the impact of a 2007 Supreme Court decision that sharply
limited workers' opportunities to challenge wage discrimination and
undermined civil rights law that had been in place for decades. While
this was a huge step forward, the battle for equal pay for equal work
continues. While the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act gives employees back
their day in court to fight for equal pay, it is the Paycheck Fairness
Act that provides the legal tools they need to close the wage gap. The
Paycheck Fairness Act would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by taking
several important steps toward remedying pay discrimination, including:
  • requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differentials are based on factors other than sex;
  • prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about their employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages;
  • permitting reasonable comparisons between employees within clearly defined geographical areas to determine fair wages;
  • strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and
  • authorizing additional training for EEOC staff to better identify and handle wage disputes.
Paycheck Fairness Act is essential to making sure all women get the pay
that they deserve," said Lilly Ledbetter. "Had it been law when I was
working, I would have had the right to ask my employer where my wages
stood in relation to my co-workers without retaliation. The Paycheck
Fairness Act will be the hammer behind the nail put into place by the
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It is critical for women working today
and into the future to get the Paycheck Fairness Act passed."
already passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support
in early 2009, the Paycheck Fairness Act is now making its way through
the Senate, shepherded by 35 co-sponsors. Senator Christopher Dodd
(D-CT) indicated that the Senate plans on a hearing on the bill in the
next six weeks and that leadership will bring the bill to the Senate
floor later this year. The ACLU calls on the Senate to take swift
action on the Paycheck Fairness Act and allow women to bring home the
pay they have rightfully earned.
year after the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and nearly
five decades after the Equal Pay Act, American women are still waiting
to see pay equity become a reality," said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU
Legislative Counsel. "With growing support in the Senate, the time for
the Paycheck Fairness Act has finally come. We urge the Senate to move
this bill forward - women in the workplace have waited long enough for
fair pay."
Paycheck Fairness Act is an important and reasonable approach to
finally closing the wage gap," said Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting
Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "In this economic
climate, it's never been more important to ensure women get the pay
they deserve. We need concrete and immediate action to improve the
economic security of working families; the Paycheck Fairness Act is the
next step on the path to pay equity."
The ACLU's letter to the Senate in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act is available at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666