Just months ago, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, reversing the Supreme Courts decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 127 S. Ct. 2162, 2172 (2007). A 7-2 majority of the Court has now denied the legislation a far-reaching construction urged by the plaintiffs and in the process reaffirmed settled law regarding the retrospective application of discrimination laws.
The question presented in AT&T Corp. vs. Hulteen, 556 U.S. ___, No. 07-543, 2009 WL 1361539 (May 18, 2009), was whether an employer necessarily violates [Title VII] when it pays pension benefits calculated in part under an accrual rule [that was lawful when adopted] that gave less retirement credit for pregnancy leave than for medical leave generally. AT&T, 2009 WL 1361539 at *2. The Court held that no violation occurred because the benefit calculation rule in this case is part of a bona fide seniority system under §703(h) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U. S. C. §2000e2(h), which insulates it from challenge. Id.