Gender discrimination refers to unbalanced treatment or viewpoints on individuals based on their gender. It arises from variances in social, political or economically structured gender roles. There are various laws that are related to gender discrimination and attempts to protect people from discrimination. Such laws include; Civil Rights Acts of 1964: Title VII which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in employment and Equal Pay Act of 1963 which support equal payment of workers regardless of gender. However, some of these nation’ laws affect the operation of the business. For instance, in the article ‘Civil Rights,’ Hands Bader tries to bring out some misconceptions about Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Ms. Ledbetter claimed that she was being paid less compared to her fellow male co-workers (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 2006). She stated that she had only learned about the unequal payment after nineteen years. However, Ledbetter lost her pay discrimination case in the Supreme Court since her lawsuit was termed to be untimely because she had filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Gender discrimination has no place in the modern day work environment; all employees in the same career level should be paid equally regardless of their gender. According to Ms. Ledbetter case, she should have sort for justice no matter the changes. The principles of utilitarianism theory should have guided Ms. Ledbetter in seeking alternative means to seek justice. The choice of principles would be guided by the following facts. First, this case clearly showed that challenging discrimination was going to be costly for employees especially those who are unable to secure the promised protection from retaliation in the Title VII (Brake and Grossman, 2007). Secondly, Ledbetter created a dilemma for employees who made complaints to their employers frequently and therefore such employees had higher risk of loosing their jobs.
According to utilitarianism philosophical theory, it is the consequences or the results of an action, law or policy that determines whether that process is good or bad. Under the law, employers found guilty of gender discrimination should face a consequence; heavy penalty of paying back the workers. According to Furchtgott-Roth (2010), it is important for employees in the same job group to be paid equally as this has numerous benefits to both parties. This can be facilitated well through the Fairness Act which requires the government to collect more information about workers pay by race and sex with the main aim of leveling their wages.
Ms. Ledbetter filed her case under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Supreme Court termed her lawsuit to be untimely. The court pointed out that it would have been better if Ms. Ledbetter had pressed the case under the Equal Pay Act which had a longer deadline. It is important to note that the law that Ms. Ledbetter used to press her case had bad consequences and that is why she lost her pay-discrimination case. Consequently, it is important for the government to pass laws and policies that promote equality and have good consequences on the life of the people. This is mainly because the language of utilitarian emphasizes on choosing of laws, policies and actions that produce the largest amount of “good”.
- Bader. H. (2013). Misconceptions about Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.Engage, 13(3), 26-30. Retrieved from http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/detail/misconceptions-about-ledbetter-v-goodyear-tire-rubber-co
- Brake, D. L., & Grossman, J. L. (2007). Title VII’s protection against pay discrimination: The impact of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.Regional Labor Review, 10(1), 28-36. Retrieved from http://www.hofstra.edu/pdf/academics/colleges/hclas/cld/cld_rlr_fall07_title7_grossman.pdf
- Furchtgott-Roth, D. (2010, September 28). Testimony on the gender pay gap [Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee]. Retrieved from http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/2a1f8ad4-f649-4ad3-a742-268d946962db/furchtgott-roth-testimony.pdf
- Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. 550 U.S. 618 (2006). Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/05-1074.ZO.html