(Adds bill details, Hoyer comment, background, byline)
By Kevin Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON Jan 7 The U.S. House of
Representatives plans to vote on Friday on two bills to combat
workplace sex discrimination, including legislation named after
an Alabama woman who lost a pay equity case at the U.S. Supreme
Court because she waited too long to file a lawsuit, a senior
lawmaker said on Wednesday.
The Lilly Ledbetter bill -- blocked in the Senate last year
by Republicans -- has been a key project of U.S. labor unions,
which played a big role in November in helping Democrats make
gains in Congress and capture the White House.
Ledbetter, after 19 years on the job, sued her employer
when she discovered she was the lowest-paid supervisor at the
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co GT.N plant where she worked,
despite having more experience than several male co-workers.
A jury found she was the victim of unlawful discrimination.
But an appeals court said she waited too long to sue.
In May 2007, the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court
and gave businesses a win by ruling discrimination lawsuits
must be filed within six months of the act of discrimination.
The Ledbetter legislation would reverse the Supreme Court
decision by saying that workers must file a discrimination
lawsuit within six months of each new discriminatory paycheck.
"On Friday we intend to do two bills that deal with pay
equity and also with the ability to address pay
discrimination," House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of
Maryland told reporters in a briefing.
He said the Supreme Court ruled imposed "an unduly
restrictive requirement on employees."
He said the bill is based on the "very fair" idea that
"every week that someone is paid in a discriminatory fashion,
that is a new discriminatory event."
The other bill set to come before the House for a vote
would strengthen parts of the 1963 Equal Pay Act and "close the
loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility
for discriminatory pay," said a summary of the bill.
(Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)