The issue of unfairly low wages for women workers is certainly not a new issue in the United States (and indeed in the rest of the world). This year there was a case that hit the U.S. Supreme Court with regard to this issue once more.
Goodyear was accused of discrimination of a female employee because her wages were lower than those of her male co-workers. This is not a new scenario by any means and unfortunately, due to the complicated ins and outs of the U.S. legal system, no relief was found for the plaintiff in this case.
The court decision here focused on the timing of the issue. Way back in 1964, the Civil Rights Act addressed such matters as discriminatory pay. It said however that a plaintiff must file charges within 180 days of a decision that showed discrimination. The woman in this year’s case had already been employed by Goodyear for quite some time and so, the 180 day limit was in effect.
Even though it was argued that the decision by Goodyear each and every payday to pay this woman less than her male counterparts was a new “discriminatory decision”, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that it was not so.
This case illuminates the sorely overdue need for changes to U.S. labor laws that continue to allow for discrimination to occur in the workplace. Women’s groups and equal rights activists have been highlighting these examples for years and years but the fact remains that we still indeed live in a country that believes it is okay to pay one worker less for the exact same work than another worker.
Labor laws and equal rights issues such as these will continue to be challenged on the legal level in any way that plaintiffs and activists can find in order to keep the matters in view of the American people. Most people know that it is completely unfair to pay workers differently based on their sex, their race or other factor that does not affect their work.
Because of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many labor issues were addressed and changed over the years since. While many remain unfinished and still in the process of moving ahead (such as this Goodyear case) some 43 years after they were addressed by this Act, the United States Supreme Court will be forced to deal with every aspect of each and every challenge until such discrimination is once and for all wiped from our landscape.
While the U.S. legal system is continually bogged down by personal injury suits and frivolous claims for millions of dollars for a pair of dry cleaned pants, major issues such as equal pay for equal work remain as unfinished business. There are major changes on the horizon in labor law within the United States. The question is, how far away is that horizon?