New Fair Pay Law Applied to Tenure Case

May 7, 2009

A federal judge has applied a new federal law on when people can file claims of discriminatory pay by employers to a tenure suit against Jackson State University, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported. The new law is named for Lilly Ledbetter, who lost a suit on pay bias not on the merits, but based on when she brought the action. The new law extends the time in which plaintiffs may sue. Applying the new law to a tenure case (which affects pay) doesn't change the standards for demonstrating that discrimination took place, and those standards are typically tough for plaintiffs, given the traditional deference extended by courts to decisions made by colleges and universities. In the case against Jackson State, for example, the judge dismissed several claims, although applying the Ledbetter law kept the case alive. There has been no ruling on the merits of the case.

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