[In the General Motors (GM) case] … to [outlaw] sex and race discrimination [experienced by individuals or a group], the courts would have had to recognize a new minority classification, African American females. The court opposed the creation of any new classifications proposing that, “the creation of new classes of protected minorities, governed only by the mathematical principles of permutation and combination, [would] clearly raise[*] the prospect of opening the hackneyed Pandora’s box.” If the women had been able to show that they had been victims of discrimination because they were black or because they were women they would have had a case, but because GM was not discriminatory against white women nor black men, the women had no legal case.
Lilly Ledbetter’s eight year battle started with a little note she found in the women’s bathroom at work. The note ranked her salary alongside the much higher salaries of three male tire-room managers, and Ledbetter was shocked to see that her male peers were making $14,000 and more per year than she was. “I’d worried about being paid less than the men who were doing the same work I was,” Ledbetter records in her memoir, but she never had evidence to prove her suspicions (5). Armed with this alarming new information, Ledbetter took action and sued Goodyear for pay discrimination.