Thursday, April 3, 2014

Former Wal-Mart Employee can Proceed with her Sex Discrimination Case--15 Years Later

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed one woman's sex discrimination claims against Wal-Mart to (finally) move forward.  The decision is Odle v. Wal-Mart Stores (5th Cir. Mar. 31, 2014).  Odle was one of the original plaintiffs in the class action Dukes case against Wal-Mart, but then former employees like were excluded from the class of current employees, and then the Supreme Court decertified the national class.  Odle's claims arise from her termination in 1999-- 15 years ago!--but as she promised, "she will not go away."

April 3, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Class Action v. Arbitration for Equal Pay-Sex Discrimination Case against National Jewelry Stores

From NYT, Women Charge Bias and Harassment in Suit Against Sterling Jewelers.  Twelve women filed 

suit against Sterling Jewelers, parent of 12 chains in the United States, including Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers. Sterling, the largest retail jewelry company in the United States by sales, is accused of gender discrimination in its pay and promotion practices since 2003.


And the accusations go further, portraying a workplace where sexual harassment and vulgar behavior left some plaintiffs feeling violated.


If the class is certified, about 44,000 current and former Sterling sales employees, from store managers to sales associates, would be offered the chance to join the plaintiffs’ case, seeking back pay and punitive damages.

While the group would not be as big as the 1997 gender case against Publix Supermarkets, which included more than 100,000 women and was settled for $81.5 million, it would eclipse the 2004 gender case against Boeing, which included 29,000 women.


Even if the women are certified as a class, they must pursue their case against Sterling privately. According to company policies, employees must deal with cases through arbitration, not the courts.

April 1, 2014 in Equal Employment, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Obama Urges Raise in Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers to help Low-Income Women

From Reuters, White House Urges Higher Pay for Tipped Workers

The White House said on Wednesday raising the minimum wage for workers who receive tips would disproportionately benefit low-income women and help close the gender pay gap in which men earn higher pay than women.

The federal minimum wage for workers who receive tips is $2.13 an hour - well below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Even though employers are required to make up any shortfall between the tipped minimum and the standard minimum if gratuities fall short, one in 10 workers earn less than the minimum wage, the White House said.

"This provision is difficult to enforce," the White House Council of Economic Advisers said in a report. The president has asked Congress for an 18 percent, $41 million increase in funding for Department of Labor Wage and Hour division investigators to hold employers to the law.

March 29, 2014 in Equal Employment, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0)

Female Correctional Workers and the Challenge to Employment Law

Brenda Smith (American) and Melissa Loomis (American), have posted After Dothard: Female Correctional Workers and the Challenge to Employment Law, 8 Fla. In'tl U. L. Rev. 469 (2013).

This article examines a profession where women have made great strides - corrections. Using an equality framework, corrections and other non-traditional professions were the first target of the feminist movement in the 1970s. By and large, feminists were successful in creating greater porosity for women in law enforcement, emergency services, corrections, and the military. While women have entered these traditionally masculine spaces, they still suffer from an achievement gap. They are still underrepresented in leadership positions and marginalized in these settings; are still the targets of discrimination based on race, gender, and perceived sexual orientation; and are less likely than men to hold these positions and be married. 

Women's entry into correctional spaces has had several unintended consequences. First, it has complicated the experiences of other marginalized groups in those institutions. In particular, women's progress in correctional institutions has increased female inmates' exposure to supervision by male staff, which places them at greater risk for sexual victimization. Second, it has diminished privacy of both male and female inmates in custodial settings. Third, it has resulted in female correctional employees' disproportionate involvement in prohibited intimate contact with male inmates and youth in custody. These sexual interactions have resulted variously in termination, resignation, prosecution, procreation, and litigation; complicating feminist theories of power, consent, and equality. Finally, it has complicated key employment law jurisprudence. 

March 29, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Simple Truth on the Gender Pay Gap

Though nothing's simple, AAUW provides more detail in The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap.

You’ve probably heard that men are paid more than women are paid over their lifetimes. But what does that mean? Are women paid less because they choose lower-paying jobs? Is it because more women work part time than men do? Or is it because women tend to be the primary caregivers for their children?

AAUW’s The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap succinctly addresses these issues by going beyond the widely reported 77 percent statistic. The report explains the pay gap in the United States; how it affects women of all ages, races, and education levels; and what you can do to close it.

March 22, 2014 in Equal Employment, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Hetero-Bias" Lawsuit

Perhaps the story could have originated only from a preppy New York City day school.  

A highbrow Manhattan prep school is getting down and dirty to fight a former employee who claims he was fired for being straight.

The Trinity School on the Upper West Side called ousted coach Gregory Kenney a two-timing cad after he alleged in a lawsuit that he was fired by lesbian boss Pat Krieger in 2012 because he’s heterosexual.


School officials insist that Kenney wasn’t ostracized for his traditional lifestyle. But they don’t let things lie there.

In court papers filed last month in response to the teacher’s Manhattan civil suit, they say Kenney’s colleagues “overheard him lying to his wife about staying late for work events, only to attend bars with other women who were not his wife.”

March 5, 2014 in Equal Employment, LGBT, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Irony of How Title VII Came to Include Sex Discrimination

From Slate, The Accidental Feminist:

Fifty years ago this week, on Feb. 8, 1964, Rep. Howard W. Smith, a segregationist Democrat from Virginia, stood on the floor of the House to propose an amendment to the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the bill, which the chamber had been debating for a week, was written to ban employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, and national origin. To the list, Smith added one more category: sex.

The House, which counted just a handful of female members, erupted in laughter. “I am serious,” Smith drawled. “It is indisputable fact that all throughout industry women are discriminated against.”

In that moment Smith helped catalyze the modern feminist movement—even though, or perhaps because, his motives were hardly feminist.

February 22, 2014 in Equal Employment, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Saudi Arabia's first female EIC

Somayya Jabarti, editor, Saudi Gazette

From the Guardian UK:

A woman in Saudi Arabia has been appointed editor-in-chief of a national newspaper, the first female journalist to be promoted to such a public position in a country with an appalling record on women's rights.

Somayya Jabarti, a former deputy editor, has become the new boss at the helm of the Jeddah-based English daily Saudi Gazette, the paper's departing head has announced.

February 21, 2014 in Equal Employment, International, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Still the Old Boys Network in Selecting ADR Neutrals

Andrea and  have posted ....  Their conclusions:

1.  First, the type and subject matter of the dispute clearly impacts neutral selection. As detailed in the paper, certain practice areas are far more male and certain others are quite female.

2.   Second, it appears to matter how the neutral is selected in mediation. Networking resulted in only 29% women while provider lists resulted in an increased percentage of 47%.

3.   Finally, arbitration and mediation are not the same for gender integration. Arbitration seems to hold steady at 20% regardless of selection process and even decreases further in panel arbitrations.

February 17, 2014 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

After the JD Women Lawyers Face Gender Disparity at Work

From the ABA Journal, Twenty-four percent of JDs who Passed the Bar in 2000 Aren't Practicing Law.  But the real headline should be the demonstrated gender disparity.

Women fared more poorly then men in terms of pay and law-firm advancement, according to the preliminary results. Women working full-time earned 80 percent of the pay reported by their male counterparts. The difference was most pronounced among law grads who were working in business and not practicing law; women working full-time in that sector earned only 67 percent of the pay of their male counterparts.

February 11, 2014 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

NY's Omnibus Women's Equality Act

New York State Assembly Passes Omnibus Women's Equality Act.

The Women’s Equality Act codifies Roe v. Wade, ensuring that a woman can get an abortion within 24 weeks of pregnancy, and protects providers from prosecution.  It also closes loopholes in equal pay laws, extends protections against sexual harassment to all workplaces, allows the recovery of attorney fees in harassment cases, ends employment discrimination based on whether a woman has children or is pregnant, stops housing discrimination toward victims of domestic violence, and strengthens order of protection laws and human trafficking laws in the state.

February 8, 2014 in Abortion, Equal Employment, Violence Against Women, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Still the Old Boys Network in Selecting ADR Neutrals

From the ADR Prof Blog:  Andrea Schneider (Marquette) and Gina Brown have posted Gender Differences in Dispute Resolution Practice: Reports on the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Practice Snapshot Survey, reporting their results from  study conducted for the ABA.   Their conclusions:

1.  First, the type and subject matter of the dispute clearly impacts neutral selection. As detailed in the paper, certain practice areas are far more male and certain others are quite female.


2.   Second, it appears to matter how the neutral is selected in mediation. Networking resulted in only 29% women while provider lists resulted in an increased percentage of 47%.


3.   Finally, arbitration and mediation are not the same for gender integration. Arbitration seems to hold steady at 20% regardless of selection process and even decreases further in panel arbitrations.


February 4, 2014 in Equal Employment, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Philadelphia Enacts Pregnancy Accommodation Law

In Philadelphia, it is now unlawful for an employer to deny a pregnant employee access to water, bathroom breaks, or any other reasonable accommodation that does not present an undue hardship to the employer.

On January 20, 2014, Mayor Nutter signed into law an amendment to the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance that makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail to provide reasonable accommodations to employees for needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. It is enforced by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

February 4, 2014 in Equal Employment, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lilly Ledbetter Says President Should do More for Equal Pay

From the Washington Post:

Lilly Ledbetter was the plaintiff in the discrimination case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the namesake for the first bill President Obama signed into law. She is the honorary public policy chair for AAUW of Alabama.

Nearly five years ago, newly elected President Obama committed to equal pay for women by signing the bill that bears my name, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act . I joyfully joined the president for the occasion, my mind racing ahead to what this action would mean for American women everywhere....

Since that bill was signed, the president has recommitted to equal pay on all the biggest stages, including in his inaugural and State of the Union addresses. It’s great to be reminded that he shares my values. Yet his pledge when he signed the bill — that it was just the first step toward closing the pay gap — has gone largely unrealized.

January 21, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Addressing Women's Economic Vulnerability in Retirement

Joan Entmacher and Amy Matsui (both of the National Women's Law Center) have published Addressing the Challenges Women Face in Retirement: Improving Social Security, Pensions, and SSI, 46 John Marshall L. Rev. 749 (2013).

It is a truth universally acknowledged (or it should be) that women are more economically vulnerable than men in retirement. On average, women’s lifetime earnings are lower than men’s, and divorce, single parenthood, and widowhood have a particularly detrimental impact on women’s economic security. Thus, women reach retirement with lower Social Security benefits, smaller pensions and retirement savings, and fewer assets than men. However, women actually need more assets to achieve retirement security because they generally live longer than men, face higher health care costs, and spend more years alone. In 2011, almost 11 percent of women 65 and older lived in poverty compared to about six percent of men 65 and older, and about one in five older single women and older Black and Hispanic women were poor.2 For these reasons, addressing America’s retirement crisis requires policy solutions that specifically address the challenges women face in retirement, especially low-income women, women of color, and single older women.


January 18, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The New Sex Discrimination is Not like the Old

Zachary Kramer (Arizona) has posted The New Sex Discrimination, 63 Duke L. J. ___(2014)

Sex discrimination law has not kept pace with the lived experience of discrimination. In the early years of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, courts settled on idea of what sex discrimination looks like — formal practices that exclude employees based on their group membership. The problem is that sex discrimination has become highly individualized. Modern sex discrimination does not target all men or all women, nor does it target subgroups of men or women. The victims of modern sex discrimination are particular men and women who face discrimination because they do not or cannot conform to the norms of the workplace. These employees have been shut out of a sex discrimination regime that still expects employees to anchor their claims to a narrative of group subordination.

This paper proposes a new regime for sex discrimination law. The model for the new sex discrimination regime is religious discrimination law. Unlike other areas of employment discrimination law, religious discrimination law offers a dynamic conception of identity and a greater array of different theories of discrimination. Sex discrimination law can and should work this way, too. On a broader level, the paper recalibrates sex discrimination law’s vision of equality. Difference is universal; no two people are the same, and this is a good thing. Thus the central task of sex discrimination law should be to better recognize — and in turn protect — the distinctive ways in which employees express their maleness and femaleness. It is these differences, after all, that shape the way employees experience modern sex discrimination.

January 11, 2014 in Equal Employment, Theory, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Women in Poverty from a Lifetime of Discrimination

Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) and Malcolm Sargeant (Middlesex Business) have posted, It's Complicated: Age, Gender and Lifetime Discrimination against Women: The US and UK as Examples.   

  • [W]omen workers suffer from multiple disadvantages during their working lives, which result in significantly poorer outcomes in old age when compared to men.
  • The poverty rate of women 65 or older is nearly double that of their male counterparts.
  • Older women of color are especially disadvantaged.
  • This is because of one, what the authors call "gender-based factors" like gender stereotyping and women’s traditionally greater roles in family caring activities.
  • Two, because of "incremental disadvantage factors" that are less overt and produce disadvantage that increases incrementally over time. 



January 7, 2014 in Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)