Every employment lawyer knows that employees can sue over pay discrimination years after it happens. There’s a three-year deadline under the Equal Pay Act, a four-year deadline under 42 U.S.C. 1981, and a 180-day or 300-day deadline (depending on the state) under Title VII. Moreover, these deadlines can be extended when appropriate under a doctrine known as “equitable tolling.”
Yet in today’s Wall Street Journal, radical law professor Catharine A. MacKinnon has an editorial entitled “Obama Is the Way Forward for Women,” which falsely claims that “the Supreme Court held in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., that plaintiffs must sue as of the first unequal paycheck.” (In reality, the Supreme Court merely enforced the Title VII deadline in that case; the plaintiff in Ledbetter could have sued instead under the Equal Pay Act, which had a longer deadline. Moreover, the plaintiff waited to sue until long after she suspected discrimination).
Uninformed reporters for the New York Times and other newspapers have parroted similar claims in the past.
Professor MacKinnon is not exactly a reliable source, having made all sorts of wacky claims over the years. She has claimed that “marital sex is sexual harassment is rape” and that “heterosexuality is the eroticization of dominance and submission,” as well as claiming that men are a “group sexually trained to woman-hating aggression.” That radical mindset may have helped her get tenure (given the ideological tilt of the academy), but it doesn’t go over well in the real world.