Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Senator's Response

You may recall that I wrote my senator a letter of disapproval recently over his over his "no" vote on the Lilly Ledbetter act. I am highly unimpressed with his response, in fact it makes me just a little nauseous, but regardless, here it is.....

Dear 2nd class citizen who should shut up and do the same job for less pay,
(I may have taken a liberty or two in the greeting but the rest is his (or one of his minions) writing.
Thank you for contacting me regarding pay equity in the workplace. As the father of two daughters, I believe it is important to protect women’s rights, especially in the workplace, and I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.As you may know, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for employers to adjust an employee’s pay because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Additionally, this legislation requires that any pay discrimination claims brought under the Civil Rights Act be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory employment practice. In 2007, the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., upheld the 180-day statute of limitations for pay discrimination claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. I believe that victims of discrimination deserve their day in court; however, we must protect the rights of those who are discriminated against without creating a system that is subject to abuse. Unfortunately, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (P.L. 111–1), which was signed into law during the 111th Congress, is likely to jeopardize the right to a fair and speedy trial. P.L. 111-1 effectively eliminates the 180-day statute of limitation for discrimination claims, allowing employees to file claims for lost compensation decades after the act of discrimination occurs. As a former Texas judge, I know that justice often suffers when trials are delayed. The statute of limitations exists to ensure that trials are held while the event is still fresh in the memory and records of the victims of discrimination, the employers, and the witnesses. Finally, Congress must work to ensure that claims for discrimination are filed in a timely manner, while protecting the rights of employees who are unaware that they are victims of pay discrimination. For this reason, I cosponsored the Title VII Fairness Act (S. 166) which reaffirms the importance of a statute of limitations for filing discrimination claims, but also recognizes that, in some cases, a person may not know that they were a victim of discriminatory activity at the time. S. 166 was offered as an amendment to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and would have improved protections for employees against workplace discrimination. I am proud to have voted for this amendment, unfortunately, S. 166 was not included in the final version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind should S. 166 or other relevant legislation be considered during the 111th Congress. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator

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