Issue of the Day: Plaintiffs Find Little Relief in Court as Discrimination Persists
Project America - Issue of the Day: Plaintiffs Find Little Relief in Court as Discrimination Persists

Published Saturday, February 28th, 2009

With the new Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the new rules make it easier for workers to sue over pay discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age and disability by extending the legal deadline to file suit in federal court. Yet, just because plaintiffs have found standing does not mean that the courts will reverse years of consistent 85% losses in federal courts. For a comparison, in civil cases Plaintiffs lose at a rate of 49%, according to a study published by Harvard Law and Policy Review. The odds are so bad that some lawyers are reluctant to even try cases. In fact, job discrimination case filing declined 40% from 1999-2007, attributed to a lack of minorities on the bench, difficulties proving job discrimination, and companies settling credible claims, leaving frivolous lawsuits to get dismissed.

In 2007, the ratio of earnings of women who worked full-time year-round was 78% of that for corresponding men. The real median earnings of men 25 and over who worked full time, year-round climbed between 2006 and 2007, from $43,460 to $45,113. For women 25 and over, the corresponding increase was from $33,437 to $35,102. In 2006, the average earning for men and women over the age of 15 was $32,265 and $20,014 respectively. These increases in earnings follow three years of annual decline in earnings for men; over the same time period, women experienced a slow but steady increase.

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