Most members of Congress realized the glaring unfairness of expecting employees to know and formally complain about wage discrimination within 180 days of their employers’ decision to discriminate against them, the upshot of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. But the majority support in the Senate last week was insufficient to put the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to a vote, with senators including Kansas Republicans Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, to their discredit, among those standing against the bill. Similarly, when the law passed the House last summer, it did so without the votes of Kansans Todd Tiahrt, Jerry Moran and Nancy Boyda.
Opponents, mostly Republicans, say the bill would invite lawsuits – a phony argument, as columnist Clarence Page explains on the Opinion pages today. In fact, because salary comparisons are impossible for most American workers to obtain, what the failure to pass the bill invites is more wage discrimination.