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December 04, 2011

Accepting a lower paying position to avoid layoff

Accepting a lower paying position to avoid layoff
Almond v Kansas Unified School District, USCA, 10th Circuit, Docket #10-3315

Former employees of the Kansas Unified School District #501 alleged that they had suffered wage discrimination as the result of their having been offered, and their accepting, new positions with lesser pay within the District rather than being laid off as the result of a District-wide downsizing effort.

As they had not filed their claims until several years after the alleged pay discrimination took place, federal district court ruled that their action was untimely.

While the case was pending Congress enacted the "Ledbetter Act"* specifically aimed at addressing "discrimination in compensation" claims in which members of a protected class receive less pay than similarly situated colleagues.

Although the employees contended that their claims included “Ledbetter Act” violations, the Tenth Circuit concluded that because the employees had not alleged an unequal pay for equal work claim, the Ledbetter statute of limitations did not apply to their cause of action. Accordingly, said the court, the pre-Ledbetter rules applied and under those rules their claims were untimely.

* The Ledbetter Act came in response to the Ledbetter case. Lilly Ledbetter proved that her supervisors gave her poor performance reviews because of her gender — and that these reviews, in turn, caused her employer to pay her less than similarly situated male workers. Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 550 U.S. 618.

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