Determining the Reach of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

June 2010

Copyright © 2010 by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Los Angeles Lawyer. Posted with permission. 

In January 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extends the time period in which employees may sue employers for discriminatory compensation practices. The LLFPA appears to apply exclusively to discriminatory pay, but recent decisions have construed the legislation more expansively. Several U.S. district courts are finding the LLFPA applicable to any employment decision that ultimately affects an employee's pay, such as allegedly discriminatory denials of promotions, negative performance evaluations, and unfavorable job assignments. According to these cases, employees may presumably sue and recover two years of back pay for discrimination that occurred years or decades before, so long as the discriminatory practice results in the employee experiencing an adverse impact on pay within the two years preceding the filing of an administrative charge of discrimination.

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David Martinez


Member of the Executive Board;
Member of the Firm's Diversity Committee;
Pro Bono Chair, Los Angeles Office

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