not long after he became the first bi-racial president of the united states, barack obama faced widespread criticism regarding his commitment to the plethora of issues facing black communities. on tuesday, president barack obama will sign two executive orders specifically designed to close wage gaps impacting an individual's race and gender.
one requires contractors doing business with the federal government to include race and gender information when reporting all compensation data. the other prohibits contractors with federal contracts from retaliating against employees who share compensation information. this is important, because in some instances, employees were unaware they were paid less than their peers, which is discriminatory.
in one of the highest-profile cases involving such discrimination, lilly ledbetter sued the goodyear tire and rubber company for paying her substantially less than male managers in the same role over her career with the company. she worked there over two decades.
in 2007, the supreme court ruled ledbetter missed the window for suing in the case because she hadn't filed her suit within 180 days of receiving her first paycheck. however, she didn't learn her male colleagues earned substantially more than she did until many years after the fact - which made it impossible for her to have adhered to such requirements.
the supreme court ruling against ledbetter would eventually lead to the passage of the lilly ledbetter fair pay act of 2009, the first bill obama signed into law after taking office. an amendment to the civil rights act, the statute resets the clock regarding fair-pay lawsuits. as a result, future plaintiffs aren't limited to the 180-day window.
many employers discourage and often prohibit employees from discussing their salaries and wages with one another. ledbetter worked for a private company: their personnel will not be directly affected by the executive orders. still, this action is a much needed step in amending historical wrongs among hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying folks.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.