On January 29, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act was the first bill signed into law by President Obama. As discussed in prior blog entries, the new law gives a employee or former employee the right to file a charge of discrimination within 180 days (or 300 days in some states, including Ohio) of their most recent paycheck. The Act overturns a U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that the statute of limitations started to run as soon as an employee received his or her first unfair paycheck. Under the new law, each new paycheck alleged to be discriminatory extends the statute of limitations for an additional 180 (or 300) days.
The new law will significantly impair the ability of companies to defend claims about old pay decisions in federal court, especially for those employers who have forgotten or have not retained documentation as to why a given pay decision was made in the first place.