Lis and the Single Girl: Battle of the Sexes — the Salary Gap

E-mail Lis

Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!

Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.

Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!

* Scroll to the bottom for disclaimer information

I don't think my salary is the same as my male colleagues' — how long do I have to find out for sure and sue?

I'd call this question an “inconvenient truth.” You'd think that living in the 21st century, this question would be a no-brainer ... that obviously, if you're making less than your male colleague, you'd have the legal right to get paid the same, right? Not exactly.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. The jobs don't need to be identical, but they need to be “substantially” equal. It's the job's content, not title, that determines whether they are substantially equal. So, we have that going for us. Additionally, in 1964, Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act was passed, making it unlawful to discriminate against any individual because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin in matters of employment. Ironically, gender was only added to Title VII by conniving lawmakers in hopes of spoiling its chances for passage. Fortunately, the effort failed and Title VII was passed.

These acts seem to suggest that there's no way our boss can get away with pay discrimination, but like everything in the law, it's always gray. Here's the problem — less than three months ago, the Supreme Court dismissed a discrimination suit by Lilly Ledbetter, a longtime Goodyear supervisor who was paid thousands of dollars a year less than her male counterparts. The High Court ruled 5 to 4 that Ledbetter, the sole female supervisor at the tire plant, couldn't collect because too much time had elapsed, as Ledbetter's claim was not within the 180 day statute of limitations as specified by Title VII.

The court held that Ledbetter would've had to complain of the illegal pay differential years before she actually found out about it. Let me ask you a question: Does that seem reasonable to mandate filing suit within 180 days or risk losing the claim? I didn't think so. It took Ms. Ledbetter almost 20 years to realize she earned $6,000 less a year than her male colleagues!

If you're thinking the same thing I am, this ruling is a disgrace and throws us back into an era circa 1950. Justice Ginsburg agrees with us and in a furious dissent, she argued that the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination … Title VII was meant to govern real world employment practices and that world is what the court ignores today.”

My suggestion is start getting your paperwork, paychecks and patience together — you can help each one of us make our point that we're not going to be thrust back to a time where we're supposed to stay home and cook! We're going to work and get paid for it equally.

• Have a question for Lis? E-mail her and check back tomorrow for another edition of "Lis and the Single Girl."

• CLICK HERE for yesterday's entry!


• Equal Pay and Compensation Discrimination

• Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions And Answers

• Over Ginsburg's Dissent, Court Limits Bias Suits

Women in the Labor Force

* Disclaimer

The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.

• E-mail Lis With Your Legal Questions!

Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.