Lilly Ledbetter Case: Goodyear Tire And Rubber

Submitted By lindamanning
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Pages: 5

The case started with a woman named Lilly Ledbetter, who devoted 20 years of her life working for a company called Goodyear Tire and Rubber which was located in Gadsden, Ala. Lilly worked very hard as a salaried employee in the position of supervisor area manager. Lilly worked the 7 pm to 7 am shift, and often times she experienced sexually harassment and was discriminated against. For example, in 2007 Lilly testified that a supervisor whose name was not mentioned, asked her for sex in return for a good performance evaluation. This was also a case of Quid pro quo. This is “Sexual harassment in which the employment outcomes are linked to the individual granting sexual favors” (Mathis & Jackson, 2014, p. 88). It appeared that Lilly was a top performance because she received an award from the company in 1996. Lilly worked for years before she was made aware of the unfairness in pay. Her informant brought it to her attention that she was receiving far less salary than that of 15 men who worked with her during the same identical work. “While she was making $3,727 per month ($44,724 per year), the men were making $4,286 to $5,236 per month” (Twarog, 2009). Lilly received lower pay during her career back to 1979. She filed a discrimination sue in 1998. Early on, Lilly was not aware of the discrimination because of the company’s rule of not discussing wage rates with other employees. The company made it very clear upon hiring Lilly that she was not to discuss pay with anyone outside her family.
Lilly reached out to the EEOC in March of 1998 in light of her disparate treatment by Goodyear. She asked the EEOC about salaries, and from there she filed a formal charge of pay discrimination in July 1998. This violation comes under Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1960 and, of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Lilly’s employer, Goodyear responded by retaliating against her. She was given a new job assignment of lifting tires. Lilly filed a suit that went to trail and was favored by the jury. Lilly was awarded $3.3 million which was later reduced to $ 300,000. Unfortunate for Lilly, Goodyear appealed the decision of the lower court to the U.S Supreme Court, and with a majority decision in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that Lilly was not entitled to any money because of statute of limitation of 180 days after getting her first discriminatory paycheck. In making this decision, the Supreme Court fail to consider the fact that the company had a gag rule on discussing pay, so there was no way Lilly could have known of this discrimination at the time that it started happening. Fortunate for Lilly, a Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg strongly disputed the majority’s judgment. Justice Ginsburg from the bench made her opposition clear, the majority was not just mistaken, but extremely erroneous in its decision. Justice Ginsburg with no uncertainty, presented the fact that disparate treatment in pay often happens, such as in Ledbetter’s case, in small augmentations; brings one to suspect that discrimination that is at work develops only over time. She state that comparing job profiles to the salaries of people with comparable skills and experience is often concealed from employees. “Particularly when the employee is trying to succeed in a predominantly male work environment, is unfavorable to making waves” (Twarog, 2009). Justice Ginsburg stated that it was very possible that discrepancies this small could go overlooked in a federal case. As a major challenge to Congress, Ginsburg wanted the decision to be reversed. She called it a “Court’s parsimonious reading” (Twarog, 2009) of the federal law against discrimination in the workplace. In 2007 several Democratic members of Congress acted on behalf of what Justice Ginsburg purposed and introduced the Lilly Ledbetter Fain Pay Act. The 180 days statute of limitation for pay discrimination was reset based on each new discriminatory paycheck. As with all bills, this one also came up against great resistance from