1/10/2009

Elections have consequences: Trial lawyers will be very busy in labor markets

These are great. After all, it was so horrible that the Supreme Court followed the letter of the law and said that you couldn't bring a lawsuit decades after when the violation was said to have occurred. Also, won't it be great for the courts to get deeply involved in terming how much workers should get paid. If you don't think that you are getting paid enough, move. Get another job. Anyway, the Left wing Times has the story here:

The House voted on Friday to give women powerful new tools to challenge sex discrimination by employers who pay women less than men for the same or substantially similar work.

The action shows how Congress, working with President-elect Barack Obama, intends to make a swift, sharp break with civil rights policies of the Bush administration.

“In the first week of the new Congress, this is the legislation we are putting forward: pay equity, fairness to women in the workplace,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. “These are our priorities. This Congress has heard the message of change in the election.”

The House passed two related bills on Friday. One, approved 247 to 171, would give workers more time to file lawsuits claiming job discrimination.

The bill would overturn a 2007 decision by the Supreme Court that enforced a strict 180-day deadline, thwarting a lawsuit by Lilly M. Ledbetter, a longtime supervisor at the Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Ala. Three Republicans voted for the bill.

The other bill — passed 256 to 163, with support from 10 Republicans — would make it easier for women to prove violations of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which generally requires equal pay for equal work. . . .

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10 Comments:

Blogger Harry Schell said...

The Ledbetter law is particularly heinous as it elevates alleged pay discrimination to murder by ending a statute of limitations on when a person can file.

This is absurd in the scheme of priorities in a civil society.

Democrats are paying off the loyalty of the trial bar. Blago is no different than other politicicans, just less skillful at cloaking the favors he grants.

1/10/2009 11:16 AM  
OpenID forthesakeofscience said...

The technical reason of this bill is that each new pay check is an act of discrimination. That's true. It's unfortunate, however, that we need those sorts of reasons. The better reason for this bill is that it's absurd to force a person to bring forth a lawsuit on an issue such as this. When the Republicans killed this bill the first time around, they were rewarding corporations for being able to hide their transgressions. Of course, it's no surprise that the Party of Evil would value soulless corporations over human beings.

1/11/2009 2:01 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear forthesakeofscience:

You can't have case where the supposed actual act of discrimination occurred decades earlier. She claims that her current salary is lower than it should be because something happened a long time ago, not that additional people more recently decided to underpay her. Do you understand the problem that creates for maintaining evidence? For getting testimony? Here is a simple solution: if you don't think that you are being fairly treated, get a job with someone else. If you really believe that companies are paying a whole class of people less than they are worth, you can make a lot of money by hiring them. They will produce as much or more for a lower wage and you can make a lot of money.

1/11/2009 11:57 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

If you think this is bad Dr. Lott, may I suggest a day in court whereupon you witness what happens to those accused of Domestic Violence?

When it comes to pass, that a person can no longer defend themselves, against a false accusation, and conviction is assured, there is no justice.

What about this particular problem that you pointed out? Could it be that this too, is a guaranteed conviction?

This too, smacks of gender based inequality of justice. If accused, these nasty men must be punished, and rules of evidence be damned!

To hide behind so called 'rules', deprives a defendant of any means of presenting a valid case against their accusers, and this occurs on a daily basis.

As far as the economic reasons go, I agree with your answer sir, but the important matter here is the loss of rights because of gender.

This is the crux of the problem, and Pelosi understand this. This is what she wants. This is what she needs to have people surrender their power to her so she can get more votes, Constitution be damned!

I can see the path that this legislation is leading us to. It is the same path that denys others of so many other rights.

What penalties shall be incurred by those so convicted? Do they lose their rights to a management level position? Do they lose their pay, their reputation, and or their right to seek employment elsewhere? Perhaps Mr. Lautenberg might put his two cents worth in on this...

1/12/2009 4:59 PM  
OpenID forthesakeofscience said...

1) The company is being sued, not necessarily the individuals.

2) The current individuals at company which spurred this bill were aware they were underpaying their employee when they hired her replacement at a higher wage anyway.

3) If there is not enough evidence because of the time period that has lapsed, then the company should win.

4) Each act of pay is discrimination.

5) It's absurd to force an individual to sue within six months. In this particular case (and many others), Ledbetter had no idea when the discrimination began. The Republicans would like to reward a Goodyear plant for being effective at discrimination.

It seems that you care more about potential costs than principles.

1/13/2009 2:39 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear forthesakeofscience:

"1) The company is being sued, not necessarily the individuals."

So what difference does this make for my point? If something is decades old, how old is the evidence? Do you have any understanding why there these time limits even for crimes like rape? Witnesses memories fade. Mistakes are made in recalling details.

"2) The current individuals at company which spurred this bill were aware they were underpaying their employee when they hired her replacement at a higher wage anyway."

Do you understand the differences between a claim and the evidence?

"3) If there is not enough evidence because of the time period that has lapsed, then the company should win."

It doesn't work that way. Suppose that the managers who made these discriminatory decisions are dead but the complainant wasn't? How does the company rebut some of the claims even if they are made up? Even if they are based in part on supposed conversations that took place?

"4) Each act of pay is discrimination. 5) It's absurd to force an individual to sue within six months. In this particular case (and many others), Ledbetter had no idea when the discrimination began. The Republicans would like to reward a Goodyear plant for being effective at discrimination."

You repeat yourself and aren't responding to my points.

1/14/2009 1:41 AM  
OpenID forthesakeofscience said...

1) My point here was in reference to this: "She claims that her current salary is lower than it should be because something happened a long time ago, not that additional people more recently decided to underpay her."

I took that to mean you believed it wrong to sue on the basis that it is not the fault of the current people at Goodyear.

At any rate, it doesn't matter because if the evidence is poorly maintained, the case will fail. The principle of the matter is what concerns me, not the superficial, shallow ordeal of the court costs.

2) The jury decided it was good enough evidence. Beside that, if I own a business, it is presumed I am aware of the pay of my employees. The plant managers clearly understood her position deserved more pay when they decided to, well, give it more pay.

3) What if a manager started discriminating two months ago but died one month ago? Who cares? The jury is instructed to adhere to certain standards. If you're on a jury and come across such a case, you can decide the plaintiff's testimony isn't good enough.

4) and 5) These are clearly separate points. The first deals with the technical reason the Democrats have for this bill. The second has to do with the motivation behind the bill. Those are distinct ideas.

What points would you like me to address that I have not? You offered a 'solution' of 'if you don't like it, leave'. Insofar as that can be considered a point, it's a bad one. It solves nothing. It's good for the soulless businesses you seem to praise, but it does nothing to bring any justice to the individuals involved in cases of discrimination.

1/15/2009 2:49 AM  
Blogger EW said...

Dr. Lott is correct that this law is swaying the balance in the opposite direction. The concept is equal pay for equal work. I think forthesakeofscience is confusing equal work with equal job titles.

The point to make is that you know what your salary is before you accept a job. You can choose to not accept or try to negotiate a higher salary or just take what they offer. Nobody forces anybody to take a job for less pay than they want. You also have the option to leave if you are not happy with your compensation. I've done it several times and have found a great place to work with the salary that I desired.

America should be about standing up for yourself, taking personal responsibility and not blaming others for a percieved injustice.

1/15/2009 10:41 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear forthesakeofscience:

There is a reason why we just don't let juries decide cases when the evidence is very old. Presumably we wouldn't have statute of limitations and just let the jury decide if the evidence is convincing, but we don't do that in this country (or at least we haven't in the past). I don't understand what you mean about "failing" to keep good evidence. Memories fail. Do you want people to record all conversations that they have no matter how inconsequential they might seem?

One question: Are you for getting rid of the statute of limitations for all crimes?

1/15/2009 11:12 PM  
OpenID forthesakeofscience said...

EW - What a load. First, my argument largely does rest upon 'equal pay for equal work'. It isn't simply that I think Ledbetter should have been paid equally because she had the same job title as the next person in her position. It sounds like you're assuming Ledbetter was not doing equal work. As far as anyone here knows, she was. The jury decision speaks to that notion. Even if you were correct about Ledbetter not doing equal work, you are setting up a strawman. My point is equal pay for equal work - and not rewarding companies for being sneaky enough. Ledbetter is just the specific example here.

Second, your argument is that unequal pay for equal work is okay because people should be aware they are being discriminated against. If they aren't aware, then tough, right? Then, it seems, you are in favor of allowing companies to get away with being able to hide their discriminatory acts for a long enough period. So people should be aware of discrimination despite the fact that their company is actively trying to hide that discrimination. If the company is successful for six months, then congratulations to them, right? Do you eat babies, too?

John - If there is uncertainty in the quality of the evidence, that is an issue which should be addressed by the courts and jury. Provided the evidence is not sufficiently convincing, the lawsuit should fail. If it does not fail and the evidence is of poor quality, well, let's punish ten innocent people rather than let one guilty man suffer, no? What a world.

"One question: Are you for getting rid of the statute of limitations for all crimes?"

It depends on the nature of the crime, the type of evidence, whether the crime is criminal or civil, etc. Blanket statements tend to need more wiggle room than conservatives would like.

1/18/2009 2:06 AM  

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