Republicans Offer Pay Discrimination Suit Limit Alternative

June 27, 2008 ( - An influential Republican U.S. Senator has proposed a bill that would start the legal time limit for which employees can file pay discrimination cases at the time when the worker has enough information to suspect the discrimination has occurred.

A statement from   Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said the Title VII Fairness Act was intended to be an alternative to a Democratic measure eliminating the time limits entirely – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – which the Senate rejected in April (See U.S. House Passes Measure Lifting Pay Lawsuit Time Limit ). 

“We want to provide additional protections under the law for employees who could not know they are being discriminated against,” Enzi said in the statement. “Recognizing that employees often do not know what other employees are earning, our bill ensures that the statute of limitations does not begin until an employee has sufficient information to warrant suspicion of pay discrimination.”

The Democratic bill, Enzi said, “would have made it much more difficult to resolve claims quickly and fairly, and would have put an enormous and unnecessary burden on employers.”

Under current law, employees must file employment discrimination claims within either 180 days or 300 days of the descrimination, depending on the state in which the case is filed. 

“Our bill preserves the incentive to resolve claims quickly, but provides a reasonable exception for employees who do not know they are being treated unfairly,” Enzi said. “Discrimination in the workplace, or elsewhere, is simply not acceptable.  A fair statute of limitations ensures that employees who have faced discrimination receive prompt justice.”