Friday, October 3, 2008

Crap, It's Friday

Today was my last day of my week of Crappy Hour with Megan. Check it out as we wonk out on health policy.

Also, I have a piece up at RH Reality Check on where the candidates stand one economic issues that are important to women, like equal pay:

Last year the Supreme Court ruled that Lilly Ledbetter wasn't entitled to a dime after nearly 20 years of pay discrimination because she didn't file her lawsuit within six-months of the first discriminatory paycheck, making it far more difficult for women to sue for pay discrimination and signaling a huge setback for women's pay equality. This April, the Senate voted on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, something that would essentially reverse the Supreme Court's decision by making each new paycheck subject to a discrimination lawsuit. This is after decades of the pay gap remaining stagnant. But Republican presidential candidate John McCain didn't show up for the vote. Instead, he said that women "need more education and training" on the campaign trail. He also said that the legislation would create "problems" with current lawsuits.

His running mate, Sarah Palin, said something similar in a recent interview with Katie Couric. Even though Palin is "absolutely for equal pay for equal work," she also believes that the legislation, again, which simply would change the law back to what it was for years before the Supreme Court's decision, "was gonna turn into a boon for trial lawyers who, I believe, could have taken advantage of women who were many, many years ago who would allege some kind of discrimination. Thankfully, there are laws on the books, there have been since 1963, that no woman could be discriminated against in the workplace in terms of anything, but especially in terms of pay. So, thankfully we have the laws on the books and they better be enforced."

But here seems to be the problem. Pay discrimination is an incredibly difficult thing to prove, and gathering evidence of discrimination often takes far longer than six months. Women are often unaware that they are being discriminated against for years. In Ledbetter's case, she had no idea that she was making less than her male co-workers until someone left an anonymous note in her locker. Because other benefits figure into your salary, like Social Security and retirement, Ledbetter is continuing to pay for a decision made years ago. The only way to better enforce the laws, it seems, is to make sure that discrimination can be challenged in court.
Read the rest of it here.

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