01.15.09

ENZI CALLS FOR REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE TO FIGHT PAY DISCRIMINATION SAYS LEDBETTER BILL WOULD HELP TRIAL LAWYERS, NOT WORKERS

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today urged theSenate to reject the Ledbetter bill, and called for consideration of reasonable alternativelegislation to protect American workers.

“The Ledbetter bill is an unreasonable overreach that will benefit trial lawyers atthe expense of workers and small businesses,” Enzi said. “By eliminating the statute oflimitations, the Ledbetter bill will make it difficult to resolve pay discrimination casesquickly, fairly, and based on sound evidence.”

“With no statute of limitations, trial attorneys could file a lawsuit decades after anemployee leaves the workplace. By this time, evidence will have been lost, memorieswill have faded, and witnesses will have disappeared or passed away. This bill would bea gold mine for trial lawyers, but it would be crippling for millions of small businessesand their employees.”

Enzi urged his Senate colleagues to consider reasonable alternative legislation hehas cosponsored, S. 166, which would uphold the necessary statute of limitations, butwould extend the time limit for workers to file suit in instances where they cannotreasonably be expected to know they have been discriminated against.

“Discrimination in the workplace, or elsewhere, is simply not acceptable, and Irecognize that employees often do not know what other employees are earning,” Enzisaid. “Our reasonable alternative bill ensures that the clock doesn’t start running on thestatue of limitations until an employee discovers the possible discrimination. Our billgives employees ample time to take action, and it holds bad actors responsible fordiscrimination.”

Enzi said he was disappointed that Senate Democrats bypassed regular order bybringing the Ledbetter bill directly to the Senate floor, without opportunity for debate,amendment, or improvement in the HELP Committee.

“I am very disappointed that the Democrat leadership has decided to take up theseover-reaching, unreasonable bills in such a rushed manner,” Enzi said.

“Strong armtactics that cut out any meaningful legislative process and force votes on untestedlegislation will set a poor tone to begin the 111th Congress. You cannot have a fair billwithout a fair process. For the Democratic Majority to completely bypass Senate fairnessis an ominous sign that they do not intend to begin the 111th Congress in a bipartisanmanner. This isn’t the kind of change people were promised. This isn’t the bipartisanshippeople were promised. The campaign is over. Let’s get things done.”

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