Lilly Ledbetter, the woman who fought to change federal law regarding pay discrimination based on gender continues to expand her cause. Ms. Ledbetter believes the persistent wage difference between men and women is a human rights issue.Ledbetter worked at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company plant as a supervisor in Alabama. After discovering that she earned between $1,500 and $500 less per month than her male counterparts, she sued the company for discrimination in 1998. The jury from the trial court level ruled in her favor; however, the United States Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled against her. The issue decided by the Supreme Court was whether Ledbetter was within the 180 day statute of limitations to bring an equal-pay lawsuit. The trial court ruled the time period to bring the suit within starts at the date of the most recent paycheck. The Supreme Court disagreed and ruled the date begins when the pay was agreed upon.
The New York Times is reporting that Wal-Mart was warned of their vulnerability to a sex discrimination lawsuit and urged to do more to prevent one more than 6 years before the current class-action gender discrimination lawsuit was filed against them. The current case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, is the largest class-action lawsuit in history. It was filed by seven women in 2001 on behalf of all current and former female employees of the company. The lawsuit claims widespread patterns of pay and promotion disparities between women and men employed by Wal-Mart.