On Friday evening, the world lost a titan of the law. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after serving more than 27 years as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Her legacy is honored by those from both sides of the political aisle in the legal industry and beyond.
You can find round-ups of famous quotes and opinions from Justice Ginsburg all over the news and Internet right now. We at myHRcounsel want to highlight just a few of her most notable legal opinions involving labor and employment law. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Lilly Ledbetter sued her employer, Goodyear, for gender discrimination when she learned she had been paid less than her male counterparts over the course of her career. While the majority of the Court didn’t get to the merits of the case due to late timing of Ledbetter’s Title VII action against Goodyear, Justice Ginsburg delivered a scathing dissent, stating “the court does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination, “ and called on Congress to act to rectify the Court’s reading of Title VII. Congress did act accordingly two years later when it passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which states that each discriminatory paycheck resets the 180-day limit in which to file a claim.
A few years later, Justice Ginsburg once again dissented from the majority of the Supreme Court in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case. In this case, the Court held that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that employers cover the cost of certain contraceptives violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and certain closely held, for-profit corporations are exempt. Justice Ginsburg wrote that this ruling disadvantages those employees “who do not share their employer’s religious beliefs.” The ACA contraceptive mandate issue continues to loom. This past summer, in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court allowed for the Trump administration to expand exemptions for employers with religious or moral objections to the contraceptive mandate under the ACA. Justice Ginsburg penned a dissent, in which she claims the “Court leaves women workers to fend for themselves.”
Whether she was in the majority or minority, Justice Ginsburg championed women’s and worker’s issues and rights. Her legacy will live on beyond her many years of service, and you can expect to see traces of her influence on labor and employment law well into the future.
This blog article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.