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Bet You Wish You Hadn’t Made All Those Lawyer Jokes Now, Eh?

By Jesse Taylor
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 3:42 EDT
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imageThe Lilly Ledbetter Act has been passed by Congress, and is on its way to becoming President Obama’s first major piece of legislation signed into law. But the doors opening to pay equality aren’t all wine and roses, oh no:

Republicans said the bill was unfair to employers. They will be exposed to “decades-old discrimination claims that they have no ability to defend,” said Representative John Kline, Republican of Minnesota.

If only companies had access to people who understood the legal system and could help them say that they didn’t do things they’re accused of. Alas, they’re left to wander in the wilderness, having their money randomly taken from them by whomever comes along and says they were discriminated against or lost a leg or needs a new goat.

Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican of California, said businesses could be held liable “even if the individual responsible for the alleged discrimination is no longer with the company, or perhaps not even living.”

It’s funny. If you ever look at suits brought under color of law (known as “law-suits”), the entities sued in such cases are usually the companies, not the individual hiring managers. This is for two reasons. The first is that the managers act on behalf of the company, and the decisions they make are inherently approved by the company, which ultimately does all the paying of the wages and whatnot. The second is that it’s a lot more fun to say you’re suing Burger King than Gerald Wiesmueller, Assistant Manager/Night Cashier.

The problem isn’t so much their opposition to the suits as their complete and total ignorance of the legal system or even the apparent lack of interest in those copies of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney they got for their DSes. There’s something almost ridiculously scary about people who make laws not even understanding how people are sued. Although, to be fair, McKeon does have a great bit on Justice Alito’s wizard sleeve.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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