WASHINGTON — The House is expected to pass a bill this week aimed at making it easier for victims of pay discrimination to file lawsuits against employers, paving the way for President Obama to sign the first bill of his presidency.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would reverse a Supreme Court decision and allow employees to sue as long as they filed a lawsuit within 180 days of any paycheck deemed discriminatory. The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in a case involving Ledbetter, a former Goodyear Tire & Co. employee, that alleged victims of wage discrimination must file a complaint within 180 days of their first paycheck or lose the right to sue. As a result, Ledbetter lost $300,000 awarded to her by a lower court for pay discrimination over more than 20 years at Goodyear.
“This bill is a victory for American workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Today, Republicans and Democrats united around ensuring that hardworking individuals across this country should be paid fairly and that they will have a fair shot to fight back when they are not.”
The symbolism of a wage-discrimination bill marking the first of Obama’s tenure in the White House was not lost on labor groups that see it as a critical element of their agenda and a possible prelude to a much larger battle in Congress over legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize a union.
“We are in a new era now, where the concerns of working people are at the front and center of the administration,” said Mark Levinson, chief economist at UNITE HERE, the main apparel and textile union that also represents hotel and restaurant employees. “It doesn’t mean we will get everything we want or win all of our battles, but the politics have changed in a major way, and this is an example.”
The business community, concerned the act would open the floodgates to legal action against employers, lobbied vigorously against it.
Rob Green, vice president of government and political affairs at the National Retail Federation, said the bill is much more overarching than the Supreme Court decision in the Ledbetter case.
“The way the legislation is structured there is a likelihood that it could be years or decades before discrimination cases are filed [by one employee], and there is a great deal more exposure for employers of all types when you have the potential for open-ended opportunities for lawsuits regardless of their merit,” Green said.
The House passed the bill earlier this month but combined it with a second wage-discrimination bill before sending it to the Senate. The Senate narrowed the scope of the bill it passed on Thursday night to just the Ledbetter language, and now the House must pass it again.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast