The Los Angeles Times (1/9, Oliphant) reports, “Democrats in Congress are pushing legislation that would undo a controversial 2007 decision by the Supreme Court that tossed out a workplace discrimination suit brought by a female supervisor at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co” because she was barred by a statute of limitations. Lilly Ledbetter, the plaintiff in that case, said, “This ruling just doesn’t make sense in the real world.” Darren McKinney of the American Tort Reform Assn said, “Provisions in the bill would also promote a new wave of inherently difficult-to-defend-against class-action lawsuits, which could actually help drive more American jobs overseas.”
The AP (1/9, Abrams) reports, “Congressional Democrats are wasting no time in promoting labor rights issues they argue have been thwarted during eight years of the Bush administration” and “two pay discrimination bills on the House floor Friday could be among the first that labor-friendly Barack Obama signs into law when he becomes president later this month.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “It is of the highest priority to us.”
The Chicago Tribune (1/9) reports, “The first bill that lands on Barack Obama’s desk after he becomes president this month could provide him with an opportunity to make an immediate mark in the realm of civil rights.” However, “the enhanced potential for damages is one reason that business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are lined up against” one of the bills. “The Chamber also opposes the Ledbetter bill” because according to the Chamber’s Randel Johnson, “Statutes of limitations are there for a reason.” He added that suits “should be filed while ‘the facts are somewhat timely.'”
The Wall Street Journal (1/9, Trottman, Maher) reports, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a campaign Thursday to drive through two bills targeting pay discrimination, the first of an anticipated series of efforts in a broad Democratic push to tilt the balance of power in favor of workers.” The “push came on the eve of the Friday hearing of Rep. Hilda Solis, the nominee for labor secretary who’s expected to be an advocate for union organizing and tougher enforcement of safety and wage laws.” However, “her agenda will be fought by the business lobby, as well as Republicans expected to ask Ms. Solis tough questions about how she might boost enforcement and penalties directed at employers and what her stand is on the Employee Free Choice Act.” CQ (1/9, Demirjian) also covers the story.
From the American Association for Justice news release.