Women Denied Equal|Pay Help in Texas Law

     AUSTIN, Texas (CN) – Gov. Rick Perry vetoed fair-pay legislation that would have made it easier for women to file gender discrimination lawsuits under Texas law.
     House Bill 950, which Perry refused to sign Friday, would have changed Texas law to mirror the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act.
     Congress passed that law to formally reset the statute of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits with every discriminatory paycheck after the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in the 2007 case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. that the statute of limitations for filing an equal pay suit begins on the date the pay was agreed upon, not the date of an employee’s most recent paycheck.
     Perry said he vetoed the Texas bill because he deemed it unnecessary.
     “Texas’ commitment to smart regulations and fair courts is a large part of why we continue to lead the nation in job creation,” he said in a statement. “House Bill 950 duplicates federal law, which already allows employees who feel they have been discriminated against through compensation to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”
     Without congressional intervention, the Supreme Court’s ruling would have prevented pay discrimination lawsuits from plaintiffs who did not discover the abuse until years after the discrimination began.
     Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, sponsored the Texas bill. She said it is necessary because the Texas Supreme Court ruled in August that state law currently does not provide the protections of the federal law.
     “H.B. 950 is needed under state law to provide uniformity between state and federal anti-discrimination laws so that employees and employers have consistent laws governing employment relations, in harmony with Section 21.001 of the Texas Labor Code,” Thompson said. “It is also needed to allow parties to proceed in a nearby state court, while at the same time avoid the increased expense of having to proceed in a federal court which may be far away.”

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