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I was recently intrigued by a question in a marketing piece from one of the major carriers for employment practices liability: “Who is Lilly Ledbetter and how is she helping you sell EPLI?”

For those who don’t know, Ledbetter worked as a supervisor for Goodyear Tire from 1979 until 1998. Just before retirement, someone anonymously gave her information that compared her salary with salaries of three male co-workers.

Ensuing developments revealed that at retirement she was earning $3,727 monthly compared to 15 male co-workers who earned between $4,286 and $5,236. She sued, claiming pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

In the ensuing court cases, Ledbetter won her case in district court and was awarded $3 million (later reduced to $300,000). But as anticipated, Goodyear appealed, and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the lower court ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 ruled in favor of Goodyear as well.

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