6. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Pro-Employee decisions. 2009 brought us two important pro-employee Supreme Court decisions. In Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville, the Court held that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision covers employees who answer questions during employers’ internal investigations. In Ricci v. DeStefano, the court found that disparate treatment of non-minorities trumps a disparate impact on minorities.
5. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. A mere 9 days after his inauguration, President Obama made the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the first piece of legislation he signed into law. The Ledbetter Act reversed the Supreme Court’s eponymous decision, which had held that in Title VII pay discrimination cases the statute of limitations begins to run when the pay-setting decision is made. This law provides that a new and separate violation occurs each time a person receives a paycheck resulting from “a discriminatory compensation decision.” Thus, each paycheck that reflects an alleged discriminatory pay decision will start a new and distinct limitations period. Unfortunately for employers, courts have been applying this law broadly by extending statutes of limitations for all sorts of employment decisions – promotions and demotions, for example.