Governor Kay Ivey has signed a bill aimed at stopping employers from paying employees different salaries for the same work based on race or sex.
Alabama now becomes the 49th state to now have equal pay laws on the books. The bill sponsor says this isn’t a pervasive problems, but she has heard from several people that pay discrimination in Alabama exists.
Lilly Ledbetter is the namesake for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, passed by Congress in 2009. Ledbetter sued a Goodyear tire plan in Gadsden for wage discrimination decades ago.
“Equal pay for women and minorities is not just their problem. It’s a family affair, and therefore, it becomes the state and the nation’s too,” Ledbetter said.
Ledbetter was happy to hear that her home state now has equal pay legislation on the books. She says when people are paid better, that’s good news for the economy.
“It also helps the family to have better education, better healthcare, better food,” Ledbetter said. “They can grow and they can raise their families.”
Representative Adaline Clarke led the charge for this legislation to pass the legislature.
“They have a right to file pay discrimination suits when and if they exist,” said Representative Clarke from Mobile.
Under this law, a person has two years after the act of discrimination to file a lawsuit.
“I have had several people tell me they feel like they have experienced discrimination,” Clarke said.
Any employer who violates this would have to pay the employee back the money he or she is owed with interest.
The law takes effect September 1.