Saperstein: “In these trying economic times, equitable pay is not only a right, but a vital step in enabling women and minorities, the most frequent victims of discrimination, to pull themselves out of poverty.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2009 – In response to the signing into law of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We applaud today’s overdue enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which places the law firmly on the side of victims of wage discrimination. This legislation is essential to ensuring that women and minorities receive fair pay in the workplace.
As Jews, we are inspired by our tradition, which commands that, “You shall not defraud your neighbor, nor rob him; the wages of he who is hired shall not remain with you all night until the morning” (Leviticus 9:13). In these trying economic times, equitable pay is not only a right, but a vital step in enabling women and minorities, the most frequent victims of discrimination, to pull themselves out of poverty. When the Supreme Court ruled in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. that all wage discrimination cases had to be filed within 180 days of the first discriminatory pay check, Justice Ginsburg wrote in her dissent that “this court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.”
Thanks to enactment of this bill, the values espoused by Justice Ginsburg have carried the day and the Court’s specious reasoning has been repudiated. We congratulate Congress, the President, and above all, Ms. Ledbetter, for their determination to right this injustice.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.