Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

DEFINITION of 'Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act'

A law signed by Congress on January 29, 2009, that restored worker protections against pay discrimination. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act allows individuals who face pay discrimination to seek rectification under federal anti-discrimination laws. The law clarifies that discrimination based on age, religion, national origin, race, sex and disability will "accrue" every time the employee receives a paycheck that is deemed discriminatory.

BREAKING DOWN 'Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act'

The act is named after a production supervisor at a Goodyear tire manufacturer in Alabama who filed a lawsuit in 1998 stating that her pay reflected sex discrimation. Ledbetter's appeal was eventually rejected by the Supreme Court, but the ruling ignited legal groups, who saw the court's decision as a setback for women and civil rights. This led to the formation of a bill that bore Ledbetter's name.

One unfortunate area of pay discrimination historically has been the pay gap between men and women. As of 2009, it is estimated that on average, women are paid only 78 cents for each dollar men are paid for comparable work. The gap becomes wider when examining pay data for women of color, according to the National Women's Law Center. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was considered a positive step in advancing the fair treatment of workers.