On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (Ledbetter Act) into law. The Ledbetter Act extends statutes of limitation for most federal anti-discrimination laws, allowing an employee to file suit for discriminatory decisions made long ago if the employee's pay is still affected by the results of the decision.

Although recovery of back pay is limited to two years, other remedies also are available, including punitive damages, emotional distress damages and injunctive relief. Injunctive relief may include a court order to reinstate or promote an aggrieved employee.

The effect of the Ledbetter Act, whether intended or not, is that employers may now be held liable for employment decisions made years or even decades earlier, if the effects of those decisions are still reflected in employees' compensation.