U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made the following remarks today on the floor of the U.S. Senate regarding the Ledbetter bill (S. 181) to expand workplace discrimination lawsuits:
• “The new president promised that he would make it his first order of business to get the economy moving again, get people working again, and create new jobs. Yet, the first priority the new Democratic Congress has brought to the floor of the Senate without even being considered by a committee is a trial lawyer bailout.”
• “An employer needs to know that there is a limited amount of time in which a lawsuit can be brought. We call it the statute of limitations. You cannot sit in your backyard for 20 or 30 years with a cause of action in your pocket and then run up to the courthouse and say: Oops, I should have brought this 30 years ago, but I noticed now all the witnesses are dead, nobody is around to defend this; I am going to bring it now.”
• “Senator Hutchison’s amendment says let's expand the current law and say that an employee could bring the lawsuit not just within 180 days, as the Supreme Court and law now say, but whenever that employee could have known or reasonably should have known about the lawsuit. This gives the employee even more fairness than the law that exists today. On the other side of the aisle, the solution is, in effect, let’s abolish the statute of limitations and have never-ending lawsuits.”
• “If Senator Hutchison's amendment does not pass, you better get ready to hire a record keeper. You better get ready to pay some settlements to lawyers.”
• “I fully support Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has a proposal I hope we pass at 11:30 that is fair to employees and fair to small businesses.”
Alexander was a co-sponsor of an amendment offered by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) that would have substituted her alternative legislation (S. 166, the Title VII Fairness Act) for the Trial Lawyer Bailout Bill.
A full transcript of Senator Alexander’s remarks is available upon request.