In May 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a winning decision for HR professionals in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The Court held that employees must file a pay discrimination charge under Title VII within the 180/300 day time period, and emphasized the same arguments that SHRM presented in its "friend of the court" brief.
In its ruling, the Court stated that Ledbetter should have filed an EEOC charge within 180 days after each allegedly discriminatory pay decision was made and communicated to her. Thus, Ledbetter could only use the paychecks issued within 180 days of her EEOC filing date as a basis for her pay discrimination claim.
In the days following the issuance of the decision, several congressional leaders announced plans to either introduce or support legislation to overturn the Ledbetter decision. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) has said he will introduce a bill to expand the timeframe within which a discrimination claim can be filed.
Title VII requires an aggrieved individual to file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days of an alleged violation in a "non-deferral state, and within 300 days in a deferral state." A deferral state has a state agency responsible for enforcing state law prohibiting race, sex, national origin, and religious discrimination. By contrast, a non-deferral state does not have an agency with enforcement authority over discrimination claims. In this case, Ledbetter had 180 days to file because she filed her claim in Alabama, a "non-deferral" state.
As a result of the Ledbetter decision, employees will no longer be able to file stale pay discrimination claims. Also, reinforcement of the 180/300 day timeframe will improve the ability of both employees and employers to accurately reconstruct the facts of the alleged violation.