Supreme Court limits discrimination claim.

“Workers can’t sue under a federal job-bias law to claim they are underpaid because of gender or race discrimination that occurred years earlier, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled. The justices, voting 5-4, rejected a $360,000 award to Lilly Ledbetter, an Alabama Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. worker who said that almost two decades of discrimination meant her salary was 15 to 40 percent lower than what her male counterparts earned.”

UPDATE: Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority:

“Ledbetter should have filed an EEOC charge within 180 days after each allegedly discriminatory pay decision was made and communicated to her.” Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas joined Alito’s opinion. Lower courts were divided on the issue.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s only woman, took the unusual step of reading a summary of her dissent from the bench as she sat next to Alito. She said the majority “does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.”

UPDATE II: More from Scott Lemieux.