President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 on January 29, 2009. This act was Obama’s first bill signed into law. The bill had passed the Senate on Thursday, January 22 by a vote of 61 to 36.
President Obama stated before the signing, “Lilly Ledbetter did not set out to be a trailblazer or a household name. She was just a good hard worker who did her job — and she did it well — for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work. Over the course of her career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits — losses that she still feels today.”
“I intend to send a clear message: That making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone. That there are no second class citizens in our workplaces, and that it’s not just unfair and illegal — it’s bad for business — to pay someone less because of their gender, or their age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability,” the President said.
The bill was opposed by both SHRM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who claim it could have unintended consequence years from now, while supporters point out that the consequences only apply to employers who practice discrimination based on sex.