Lately it seems legislators and judges are more concerned with the welfare of large corporations than the individuals who work for them.
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is the latest example.
FROM the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court limited workers’ ability to sue for pay discrimination Tuesday, ruling against a Goodyear employee who earned thousands of dollars less than her male counterparts but waited too long to complain.
The 5-4 decision underscored a provision in a federal civil rights law that sets a 180-day deadline for employees to claim they are being paid less because of their race, sex, religion or national origin.
Without a deadline, Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court, employers would find it difficult to defend against claims “arising from employment decisions that are long past.”
Alas, Justice Alito, it takes a long time for workers to even realize that they are victims of discrimination. Sometimes it takes years for an employee to figure that out, not to mention how much time it take for a worker to get up the nerve to take on his or her company…knowing full well they will either be fired or treated so badly they will want to leave once they make such a claim.
In this case the woman in question, Lily Ledbetter, a longtime supervisor at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s plant in Gadsden, Ala., suspected that she was being paid far less than her male counterparts but things don’t happen overnight.
The AP goes on to quote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who seemed to understand the Catch 22 workers face:
Ginsburg said in court Tuesday for the dissenters, “In our view, this court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.” She noted that Ledbetter’s pay started out comparable to what men were earning but slipped over time.
Ginsburg said Ledbetter faced an impossible choice: sue early and probably lose a half-baked case, or wait until the evidence is strong enough to win and be told she sued too late. Siding with Ginsburg were justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.
Debra Friedman, a lawyer with the Cozen O’Connor law firm who represents management, said Ginsburg put her finger on a problem for women and others who are covered by civil rights law. “Pay discrimination is difficult at times to discover until it’s too late,” Friedman said, though adding she believed the court correctly interpreted the law.
I’m not sure I get why so many people in power feel compelled to protect the rights of a corporation over the rights of employees.
Do corporations have any rights?
This from the Center for Corporate Policy:
The U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and subsequent Amendments do not explicitly mention corporations. Nevertheless, under U.S. law corporations have obtained substantial rights through key court decisions that have established particular legal doctrines and provided corporations some of the same rights as human beings.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, the trend continues.