The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder for many workers to sue their employers for discrimination in pay, insisting in a 5-to-4 decision on a tight time frame to file such cases. The dissenters said the ruling ignored workplace realities.[...]
The court held on Tuesday that employees may not bring suit under the principal federal anti-discrimination law unless they have filed a formal complaint with a federal agency within 180 days after their pay was set. The timeline applies, according to the decision, even if the effects of the initial discriminatory act were not immediately apparent to the worker and even if they continue to the present day.
Six months?! I'm speechless.
Fortunately (if somewhat futilely) Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read part of her dissent aloud (itself an unmistakable sign of anger), and the tone of her opinion showed how bitterly she differed with the majority. She asserted that the effects of pay discrimination can be relatively small at first, then become far more serious as subsequent raises are based on the original low pay, and that instances of pay inequities ought to be treated differently from other acts of discrimination. For one thing, she said, pay discrimination is often not uncovered until long after the fact.
The majority’s holding, she said, “is totally at odds with the robust protection against workplace discrimination Congress intended Title VII to secure.” She said the majority “does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.”
“This is not the first time the Court has ordered a cramped interpretation of Title VII, incompatible with the statute’s broad remedial purpose,” she wrote.