McCain for Equal Pay? Um, No.

Slate's blog on legal issues.
April 24 2008 2:08 PM

McCain for Equal Pay? Um, No.

/blogs/convictions/2008/04/24/mccain_for_equal_pay_um_no/jcr:content/body/slate_image
Emily Bazelon Emily Bazelon

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

Last night, Senate Republicans killed the Equal Pay Bill, which would have undone the Supreme Court's bad deed in a case last term called 

Advertisement
.

Lily Ledbetter sued Goodyear for sex discrimination because she earned less than men in similar positions--a fact she proved in court. But on appeal, the Supreme Court found that Ledbetter's suit was too late, by setting the clock according to Ledbetter's first unfairly low pay check, rather than the ongoing low salary she continued to receive years later. It didn't matter when she found out she was being shortchanged--only when Goodyear started doing so.

John McCain said Wednesday that he supports "pay equity for women," but opposes the fix for Ledbetter's plight in the Equal Pay Bill because it "opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems." That has a nice anti-litigation ring, but does it make sense? As Rich Ford pointed out in Slate after the Supreme Court's decision, the clear lesson the case holds for employees is "Sue early and often. If you suspect your boss might be discriminating with regard to your pay, you can't afford to wait around until you're sure." The Equal Pay Bill might give rise to more meritorious law suits. But couldn't it also stave off some losers--Rich or anyone else, thoughts? And what does it mean to be for pay equity for women while opposing what's on offer to actually help achieve it?

(Cross posted on Slate's women's blog, XX Factor.)

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.