Linda Greenhouse’s Sloppy Reporting

Linda Greenhouse’s Sloppy Reporting

Letter to the Editor in The Harvard Law Record
March 19, 2009
Originally published in The Harvard Law Record

Former New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse recently made a false claim at HLS that exemplifies her sloppy reporting.

She
claimed the Supreme Court’s 2007 Ledbetter decision, which held that a
worker’s claim of discrimination was time-barred, failed to understand
that people often learn “of pay disparities long after they started.”
Nonsense.

The Ledbetter ruling expressly left open in
footnote 10 the possibility that people who learn of discrimination
years later can sue under an exception to deadlines known as the
“discovery rule.”

But the plaintiff in Ledbetter didn’t even claim she could benefit from such a rule.

Why?
She admitted in her deposition that she knew of the pay disparity years
before she filed her discrimination complaint, way back in 1992.

But
Greenhouse falsely reported on May 30, 2007 that Ledbetter lost because
she “learned of her fate,” “too late,” at the end of her career.

The
Supreme Court also noted that Ledbetter could have sued instead under
the Equal Pay Act (which has longer deadlines for suing).