NAM Says "Fair Pay" Act is Overly Broad

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) expressed deep concern Tuesday about U.S. House-passed legislation that would make it more difficult for employers to rectify cases of discrimination and pave the way to endless litigation against businesses.

The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 (H.R. 2831) is intended to reverse a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which upheld statutory language that lawsuits alleging discrimination must be filed within a reasonable time frame (currently 180-300 days).

"Our members are committed to preventing discrimination of any kind in the workplace, but allowing people to file claims for things that happened years in the past won't resolve or prevent further discrimination," said Jason Straczewski, NAM director of employment and labor policy. "If discrimination is occurring, then employers have a genuine concern for rectifying the situation. Filing a complaint years after an incident works against this process, making it harder for a company to take action to prevent future problems."

Straczewski also stressed that reasonable time constraints on filing ensures that witnesses and information regarding a case is still available. "Essentially, this legislation would open the door to lawsuits that employers cannot defend - where witnesses are unavailable and data is not obtainable. In a case like that, no one wins," Straczewski added.

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