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AARP Cites ‘Breakthrough’ as President Signs Ledbetter Fair Pay Act After Congressional Approval

January 29, 2009

Contact: Dave Nathan, AARP, 202-434-2560, dnathan@aarp.org

Washington, DC – AARP praised President Obama and Congress for their expeditious handling of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, calling the legislation an “important breakthrough” in the fight against discrimination.

The bill was signed into law today by the President in the first signing ceremony of his Administration. With bipartisan cooperation, the new Congress demonstrated its resolve to protect against discrimination in the workplace, advancing the legislation within the past three weeks. The House gave final approval Tuesday.

AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond thanked the President and Congress for their swift handling of the bill, calling it an “important breakthrough in the fight against discrimination, not only for women but for older and disabled workers as well.”

“The Ledbetter Act sets a standard for the cause of equality in the workplace,” LeaMond added.

Even though the Ledbetter case addresses sex discrimination, the legislation also applies to cases involving claims under federal age discrimination and disability discrimination laws.

The bill was drafted after what AARP has called “misguided reasoning” in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. decision which involved a long-time employee who had been paid much less than her male colleagues. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that a 180 day filing limit for discrimination began with her first discriminatory paycheck, rather than starting after each discriminatory payment.

The new law allows workers to file suit up to 180 days after any paycheck that they believe is discriminatory.

AARP argued that the law was needed to appropriately reflect workplace realities in providing proper redress to victims of discrimination.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 34.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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