Actions That Changed the Law

Lesson Duration

Author:  Linda Weber, Annenberg Classroom

In 1998 when Lilly Ledbetter filed her complaint of wage discrimination against the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. with the EEOC, her goal was to get equal pay for equal work because that was the law. She had no idea that her decision would eventually involve all three branches of government and result in a law with her name on it—the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.This lesson is based on a video that tells the law-changing story behind the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Students gain insight into the lawmaking process, consider how statutory decisions made by the Supreme Court can prompt better laws, and learn about the rights and responsibilities they will have when they enter the workforce.


  • Assess their level of civic knowledge related to the making and changing of laws.
  • Reconstruct the chronology of events and decisions that resulted in a change to the law.
  • Gain insight into the way the three branches of government function.
  • Relate political activism and engagement to the quality of laws in the U.S.Gain appreciation for the power that one politically active and engaged citizen can have in a constitutional democracy.
  • Become informed about their rights and responsibilities as young applicants and employees with respect to employment discrimination.
  • Make real-world connections.


The Annenberg Foundation is a private family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. The Foundation and its Board of Directors are also directly involved in the community with innovative projects that further its mission to advance the public well-being through improved communication. The Foundation encourages the development of effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.