Spreading Good News (Post 537 – Lilly Ledbetter and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009)

The goal of Spreading Good News is for readers to:

GET INSPIRED and/or GET MOTIVATED and/or GET INFORMED and/or GET AWE-STRUCK and/or GET A BREAK FROM ALL THE NEGATIVE NEWS and to tell readers about our good, short books and our online store.












The Candle-Lighter Award and the Sunshine Award

Thank you very much to www.living4bliss.wordpress.com for presenting me with the Candle-Lighter Award and the Sunshine Award.  I truly appreciate the recognition!

Both of these awards are for a blog or post that is positive and brings light into the world.

I started this “Good News” blog in July 2010 because I was tired of and disgusted by all the negative news and information.  I wanted to give people positive news and information.  I’m having a great time looking for, receiving, and posting these pieces!  Stay tuned!!

RULES for the Candle-Lighter Award

Whenever you see a blog or post you think brightens the world, give the blogger the Candle-Lighter Award.

Recipients can accept or decline. What does the recipient have to do?  Simply accept and nothing more!  You can paste this image on your blog, if you wish, and you are done!  If you wish to honor someone else with a Candle, pass it on, anytime and as many times and to as many people as you wish.

Come on and help me brighten up all our lives!



We all should know more about the contributions that women have made in order to make this world a better place.

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I will be Spreading Good News with frequent posts of informative, educational, entertaining pieces about the contributions of women.

I hope you enjoy this piece!

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH:  Lilly Ledbetter and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009


Lilly Ledbetter’s Personal Life and Family
Lilly McDaniel was born in April 1938. She married Charles Ledbetter and together they had two children: Vicky and Phillip Charles, who both married and had children of their own. At this writing, Lilly has four grandchildren.

Her husband, CSM Charles J. Ledbetter (U.S. Army ret.), was a highly-decorated veteran.  Sadly, he passed away December 11, 2008 at the age of 73 and did not live long enough to see President Obama sign The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 into law on January 29, 2009.

Now 70, Lilly lives in Jacksonville, Alabama, on a small pension and, like many Americans, worries about losing her home.

Lilly Ledbetter, A Humble, New American Icon
Lilly Ledbetter was employed by Goodyear Tire and Rubber for nineteen years before she discovered that she was paid far less for the same work as her male peers were being paid.  She filed a lawsuit against Goodyear, and after a long legal battle, her case was ultimately decided by the U. S. Supreme Court; she lost.

The Supreme Court stated she had taken too long to file a complaint.  This decision, which made it easier for employers to get away with wage discrimination practices, would become a hotly contested legal issue by both Democrats and Republicans: McCain had “Joe the Plumber” and Obama had “Lilly Ledbetter.”

A Hard Worker Despite Tough Conditions
From 1979 to 1998, Lilly worked tirelessly at a Goodyear plant on an overnight shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., where she was subjected daily to sexual discrimination and harassment.  She received a “Top Performance Award” in 1996, but her raises never matched her performance and were not in line with those given to men.

In 2007, she testified before Congress about her EEOC complaint about a supervisor who demanded sexual favors if she wanted good job performance reviews.  He was reassigned, but asserting her rights only made things worse and led to isolation, further sexual discrimination, and retaliation against Ledbetter.

Lilly’s Anonymous Angel
Lilly signed a contract with her employer that she would not discuss pay rates with other workers. She had no way of knowing that she was being underpaid until just before her retirement when a source that remains anonymous today, slipped a note into her mailbox.  The note listed the salaries of three men doing the same who were being paid $4,286 to $5,236 per month. Lilly was only making $3,727 per month.

When she filed a complaint with the EEOC, she was subsequently assigned to lift heavy tires.  She was in her 60s at the time, but she continued to perform the tasks her ruthless employer required of her.

Why What She Did Mattered
Lilly had no idea she was being underpaid. She was prohibited from asking about or talking about pay wages.  She did not have tangible evidence—until she was ready to retire 19 years into her employment—that she was being cheated.

Ultimately, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that to have legal standing, a person must file a complaint within 180 of the first discriminatory pay practice—even if they did not know about it until much later.  This allowed employers to get away with underpaying workers based on color, sex, or other discriminatory reasons, as long as workers did not know about it and take immediate legal action.

A Selfless Cause
Ledbetter played an important role speaking to politicians, Congress, and even Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in an effort to persuade the need for change. John McCain and Sarah Palin both agreed with the U. S. Supreme Court decision (McCain did not support fair pay acts that would legislate equal pay for women). McCain also made negative statements about Ledbetter’s cause and even deemed the proposed legislation a “trial lawyer’s dream.”

Ledbetter, a humble woman, challenged laws that did not protect workers from discrimination, even though she herself would never directly benefit from her efforts.

In Lilly’s Own Words
In an April 22, 2008 blog post, Lilly wrote the following entry:  “I am in Washington this week, going from Senate office to Senate office to build support for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act—legislation that bears my name.  I would never have guessed this is what I would be doing at this point in my life!  I worked hard at Goodyear, and was good at my job.  But with every paycheck, I got less than I deserved and less than the law says I am entitled to.”

“It [the Supreme Court decision] was a step backward, and a terrible decision, not just for me, but for all the women who may have to fight wage discrimination.”

Lilly Ledbetter Cannot Benefit From the New Law, But Other Women Can
Lilly Ledbetter’s case against Goodyear cannot be retried, and the new law she helped to pass will not get her restitution from Goodyear.

Lilly reports at age 70 she still lives “paycheck to paycheck” (her retirement wages are based on the discriminatory wages she was paid).  “I will be a second-class citizen for the rest of my life.  It affects every penny I have today.”

But as she headed to Washington, D.C., for the signing of the new law bearing her name, she enthusiastically stated, “I’m just thrilled that this has finally passed and sends a message to the Supreme Court:  You got it wrong.”

Time Line of Legal Events in Lilly Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
1979 – November 1998:  Lilly worked as an area manager for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company at its Gadsden, Alabama, plant.

March 1998:  Ledbetter submitted a questionnaire to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), inquiring about salaries.

July 1998:  Submitted formal EEOC charge.  Two key claims asserted by Ledbetter:  a Title VII pay discrimination claim and a claim under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), 29 U. S. C. §206(d).

After she filed a complaint, Ledbetter, then in her 60’s, was reassigned to lift heavy tires; clearly an act of retribution by Goodyear.

The District Court allowed some of Ledbetter’s claims, including her Title VII pay discrimination claim to proceed to trial. But the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Goodyear on several of her claims, including her Equal Pay Act claim.

November 1998: Ledbetter retired early and filed suit “asserting, among other things, a sex discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

A jury awarded Ledbetter about $3.3 million, but the amount was later reduced to around $300,000.

November 2006 – May 2007: Goodyear appealed to the U. S. Supreme court which overturned the lower court’s ruling in favor of Goodyear.  In a 5-4 vote, it was decided that Ledbetter was not entitled to compensation because she filed her claim more than 180 days after receiving her first discriminatory paycheck. (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U. S. 618; R048; No. 05-1074; Argued 11/27/06; Decided 05/29/07.)

January 2009:  The battle continued, with several bills being introduced to change the law.  On January 29, 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Barack Obama.


What are your thoughts on this piece?


NOTE FROM JOYCEIf you enjoyed and/or learned from this blog, please leave a comment and send the link to others.  Thanks!!

If you’re interested in reading all about “My Breast Cancer Journey,” those posts start with post #334.


~ Joyce Fields



Joyce is an author who has written seven books.  If you enjoy this blog, you will, undoubtedly, enjoy all her books.  Her sister, Anita, is also an author.

BE INSPIRED!  You can read about and order their books AND order merchandise from their online store at this link (or click the “BE INSPIRED!” button above):


Thanks for your interest AND support!!

Contact Joyce at goodshortbooks@yahoo.com.



I visit these blogs and leave comments regularly.  I think you will enjoy them all!

http://www.lenasledgeblog.com  Books, reviews, give-aways, interviews.

http://living4bliss.com  Believing Life Is Set up for Success (BLISS)

http://goss-coaching.com/author/gosscoaching  A professional writer and wellness coach helping people connect thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and action to create optimal health and a vibrant life.

http://www.thebirkineffect.com  Musings of a “want it all” 21st century woman

http://www.thesweetsensations.com  A baking, entertainment, and lifestyle blog.  Fantastic recipes and food photography, too!

http://www.pennilessparenting.com  A rich life on minimum wage.  Plus fabulous, healthful recipes!

http://www.rumpydog.com  I’m a dog with a unique perspective on human life.

About Line of Serenity (Joyce Fields)

As a thought leader for today's generation, I choose to be part of the solution and am doing things that positively impact people's lives. In addition to being a happy, married (since 1967!) woman, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, I have over 40 years' experience in "Corporate America": Stenographer, Secretary, Supervisor, Analyst, Office Manager, Executive Assistant. I am also a professional proofreader and the author of 10 books (mostly non-fiction)--http://www.GoodShortBooks.com).
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Spreading Good News (Post 537 – Lilly Ledbetter and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009)

  1. living4bliss says:

    Hooray for Lilly. Thank you for standing up for fairness even if you did not directly benefit.

    It shocks me how politicians can fight so hard for the right to be unfair.

    Thank you for enlightening me once again.

  2. rumpydog says:

    I remember the Lilly Ledbetter case. I’m from Alabama, so it hit close to home. And it hurt when she lost her case. Many women I know from home got treated that way. And some still do.

  3. My partner and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s