Enzi Calls for Reasonable Alternative to Fight Pay Discrimination

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today urged the Senate to reject the Ledbetter bill, and called for consideration of reasonable alternative legislation to protect American workers.


“The Ledbetter bill is an unreasonable overreach that will benefit trial lawyers at the expense of workers and small businesses,” Enzi said.  “By eliminating the statute of limitations, the Ledbetter bill will make it difficult to resolve pay discrimination cases quickly, fairly, and based on sound evidence.” 


“With no statute of limitations, trial attorneys could file a lawsuit decades after an employee leaves the workplace.  By this time, evidence will have been lost, memories will have faded, and witnesses will have disappeared or passed away.  This bill would be a gold mine for trial lawyers, but it would be crippling for millions of small businesses and their employees.”


Enzi urged his Senate colleagues to consider reasonable alternative legislation he has cosponsored, S. 166, which would uphold the necessary statute of limitations, but would extend the time limit for workers to file suit in instances where they cannot reasonably be expected to know they have been discriminated against. 


“Discrimination in the workplace, or elsewhere, is simply not acceptable, and I recognize that employees often do not know what other employees are earning,” Enzi said.  “Our reasonable alternative bill ensures that the clock doesn’t start running on the statue of limitations until an employee discovers the possible discrimination.  Our bill gives employees ample time to take action, and it holds bad actors responsible for discrimination.”


            Enzi said he was disappointed that Senate Democrats bypassed regular order by bringing the Ledbetter bill directly to the Senate floor, without opportunity for debate, amendment, or improvement in the HELP Committee.


“I am very disappointed that the Democrat leadership has decided to take up these over-reaching, unreasonable bills in such a rushed manner,” Enzi said.  “Strong arm tactics that cut out any meaningful legislative process and force votes on untested legislation will set a poor tone to begin the 111th Congress.  You cannot have a fair bill without a fair process. For the Democratic Majority to completely bypass Senate fairness is an ominous sign that they do not intend to begin the 111th Congress in a bipartisan manner. This isn’t the kind of change people were promised.  This isn’t the bipartisanship people were promised.  The campaign is over.  Let’s get things done.”