Daily Labor Report® is the objective resource the nation’s foremost labor and employment professionals read and rely on, providing reliable, analytical coverage of top labor and employment...
By Chris Opfer
Aug. 19 — Donald Trump’s power to nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices if elected to the White House is a threat to women workers, equal pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter and two union officials said.
Ledbetter, a former Goodyear tire plant supervisor who discovered she was making less than her male colleagues after 20 years on the job, lost her pay discrimination case in a divided 2007 Supreme Court decision. Congress later passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to tweak time limits on federal pay bias claims.
“It’s very critical who we vote for in this country because it could determine our lives for years to come,” Ledbetter told reporters in a conference call Aug. 19. Ledbetter, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and Theresa King, president of the Florida Building and Construction Trades Council, said the next president will likely have the chance to nominate at least one new high court justice.
The comments came near the same time that Trump announced the resignation of campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The GOP nominee trails Clinton by four points among registered voters nationwide, according to an Aug. 18 Pew Research Center survey.
Trump campaign representatives didn't immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s request for comment. During an Aug. 15 campaign stop in Altoona, Pa., the GOP nominee said the next president may have the opportunity to appoint as many as five justices to the high court.
“If it’s Hillary, you’re going to have super-left-leaning judges,” Trump said at the event. “You’re going to have a country that’s destroyed probably forever.”
The Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Inc., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), that the clock begins to run on pay discrimination claims when the alleged unlawful practice occurs, even if an affected worker doesn’t yet know about it. Ledbetter has said she became aware that male managers were making more money than her several years into her job when someone left an anonymous note in her mailbox.
President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law less than two years after the decision. The law amended federal pay discrimination statutes to clarify that each new paycheck issued according to a discriminatory practice is an unlawful act that restarts the time limits for filing a lawsuit.
Obama, Ledbetter and a slew of congressional Democrats have said lawmakers should also pass separate legislation designed to make it easier for workers to sue for wage discrimination. The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1619, S. 862) would protect workers from retaliation for inquiring about or sharing pay information, require employers to prove pay differences are based on a “bona fide factor other than sex” and would allow for uncapped punitive damages in cases of willful discrimination.
Republicans and the employer community largely oppose the measure. They’ve argued that it’s a boon for trial lawyers that won’t help close the pay gap between men and women workers.
Ivanka Trump said during the Republican Convention that her father would likely look at the pay bias issue. The AFL-CIO’s Shuler blasted the GOP nominee, however, for later saying on the campaign trail that he would expect his daughter to leave her job if she was being discriminated against.
“The women that we talk to in the real world—who face discrimination every day—don’t have the option to just leave their jobs,” Shuler said. “They shouldn’t have to.”
Shuler said AFL-CIO members will be going door to door in Florida and other states to stump for Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Ledbetter said her case might have turned out differently if considered by a different set of judges.
Two of the justices that sided with Ledbetter in her case—John Paul Stevens and David Souter—have since retired. Souter was replaced by Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan filled Stevens' seat.
Antonin Scalia, who joined with the majority to find that Ledbetter’s claims were time-barred, died in February. Merrick Garland, Obama’s pick to replace Scalia on the court, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)