Everyone knows if you're a woman you make less than men for the same job. It's been a persistent problem of sexual discrimination in this country and yesterday the Supreme Court voted to uphold the practice. In a 5-4 vote they overturned a ruling on the grounds that the time to sue (statute of limitations) had expired and the woman didn't have a right to sue for back pay.
Instead of taking the initiative and establishing the legal inequities and objections to this discrimination the Court decided the case on very narrow legal grounds. Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor in a Goodyear plant in Alabama and was paid significantly less than her male co-workers performing the same work. At one point the difference was over $6,000/year. Lower courts awarded her relief in the form of damages. The Supreme Court over turned those decisions and, in essence, authorized such systemic discrimination.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman sitting on the Court, wrote a blistering dissent:
"In our view, the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination."
People in the workplace are often hesitant to file suits for wrongdoing, discrimination, and other issues for fear of retribution. Such fears are very well considered. 25% of employees involved in union organizing efforts are routinely fired for this activity even though it's illegal. Many employers refuse to pay overtime, make people work "off the clock" and so forth. Afraid to press the case for fear of getting fired they often wait to take legal action.
By establishing the fact one must sue within 180 days or whatever other time period laid out in law, the Supreme Court has just undone decades of progress in protecting workers and women from exploitation. It is imperative that Congress rewrite these laws to protect people.