Thursday, January 8, 2015

Military Attorney Investigated After She Complains of Sexual Assault Policy on Social Media

WaPo, Air Force Captain Dissents from Military Sexual Assault Policy, and Commanders Take Notice

With just a few weeks left in her Air Force career, Capt. Maribel Jarzabek decided to vent a little. She posted a few messages on a U.S. senator’s Facebook page, supporting the lawmaker’s push to overhaul the military justice system for sexual-assault cases.

 

Not long afterward, Jarzabek received an e-mail from a higher-ranking officer, informing her that she was under criminal investigation. The allegations? That she had wrongfully advocated “a partisan political cause” and expressed opinions online that could undermine public confidence in the Air Force.

 

Jarzabek is a military lawyer assigned as part of a new program to represent victims of sexual assault. Although the Defense Department has promoted the program as a success story and part of a broader campaign to crack down on sex crimes within the armed forces, Jarzabek had grown disillusioned and said she felt the Air Force was papering over deeper problems.

 

January 8, 2015 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Anti-feminist Origins of "Having it All"

NYT, The Complicated Origins of Having it All

The popular thinking is that the term went from empowering to delusional, running up against the hard truths of reality to get worn down to the spurious fantasy underneath. Feminists, according to this narrative, were the ones who promised women they could have it all — rewarding career, loving partner, cheerful brood — and then couldn’t deliver. Conservatives have been particularly enamored of this story. “Feminist groups like to pretend that women can have it all without sacrificing time with families,” Carrie L. Lukas, a managing director of the Independent Women’s Forum, wrote in her 2006 book about feminism. The Federalist peddled a similar argument: “Women ask about having it all because they were told they could have it all . . . by women like [Gloria] Steinem.”

 

The idea that feminism was the source for such a pernicious ideal has become so widely assumed that even Patricia Ireland, a former president of the National Organization for Women, seemed to subscribe to a variation of this notion. “Twenty years ago, it was a triumphant phrase and also a demand,” she told William Safire in 2001 for a column in this magazine, but “the phrase has come to carry with it a sense of being overwhelmed.” Hence the sad fate of the Career Bogeywoman, her soul sucked dry by her high-powered job, her children barely nourished by the dregs of maternal instinct that managed to survive her outsize ambition.

 

Once you start digging into the origins of the phrase, however, this narrative begins to unravel. “Having it all,” at least as it applies to women and work, has a relatively limited pedigree. Ruth Rosen, a scholar who has written extensively about the history of feminism, told me that you can’t find much archival evidence of the phrase before the tail end of the 1970s — and even then, it wasn’t so much a feminist mantra as a marketing pitch directed toward the well-heeled “liberated” consumer. In 1980, two years before Brown’s book, Joyce Gabriel and Bettye Baldwin published “Having It All: A Practical Guide to Managing a Home and a Career”; true to its promise, Gabriel and Baldwin’s book offers straightforward tips on how a working mother might make the most of her scarce time. (“Strive to do two things at once,” the authors advise, like letting your nail polish set while you blow-dry your hair.) Women’s magazines and Madison Avenue might have been selling the concept, but it was after Brown’s book landed on the best-seller list, Rosen says, that the phrase gathered real cultural momentum, becoming shorthand for having kids and a career.

January 8, 2015 in Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Scholar Argues Technology May Moot Right to Abortion

Legal Scholar Calls for "Fetal Rescue Programs" to End Abortion Debate

Suppose technology advanced to the point at which a pregnancy could be terminated at any stage, with the extracted zygote, embryo, or fetus then transferred to an artificial womb where it could gestate to term. Could states then constitutionally mandate “fetal rescue programs” as a way to potentially eliminate legal abortion?

 

While the premise may sound like something right out of a Margaret Atwood novel, it is not some feminist dystopian nightmare; nor, for that matter, is the possibility of artificial wombs or gestation solely the creation of science fiction. The scenario is, as Professor Stephen Giles argues in the recent article “Does the Right to Elective Abortion Include the Right to Ensure the Death of the Fetus?”, a possible legal path forward for anti-abortion advocates to either render Roe v. Wade irrelevant or overturn it altogether.

 

Giles, who teaches at Quinnipac University School of Law, makes the argument for protecting fetal rights at the point of conception once technology has advanced to the point of being able to gestate humans in entirely “artificial” environments. According to Giles, this brave new world of ectogenesis will benefit women by eradicating the need for legal protections for abortions. That’s because, as Giles explains, modern technology currently limits reproductive choices. There is no way to end a pregnancy—other than via live birth and adoption—in a way that does not terminate the fetus, he writes.

Professor Giles explains further in his abstract to the article:

Would such a “fetal-rescue program” be constitutional under the Supreme Court’s controlling decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey? Although the Article ultimately concludes that fetal-rescue programs are constitutional, the basis for that conclusion is not a categorical rule that the woman has no constitutionally protected liberty interest in ensuring the death of the pre-viable fetus. On the contrary, Part I argues that, under Casey, her liberty interest is “specially protected,” meaning that state-imposed burdens on that interest are subject to more than rational-basis scrutiny. Part II then explains why the appropriate form of heightened scrutiny is the interest-balancing methodology Casey employed in re-establishing the right to elective abortion, rather than the “undue burden” test Casey adopted for state laws that interfere with a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion. Consequently, the constitutionality of fetal-rescue programs turns on whether the state’s interest in protecting the pre-viable fetus outweighs the woman’s protected liberty interest in ensuring its death.

January 8, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Scholar Argues Technology May Moot Right to Abortion

Legal Scholar Calls for "Fetal Rescue Programs" to End Abortion Debate

Suppose technology advanced to the point at which a pregnancy could be terminated at any stage, with the extracted zygote, embryo, or fetus then transferred to an artificial womb where it could gestate to term. Could states then constitutionally mandate “fetal rescue programs” as a way to potentially eliminate legal abortion?

 

While the premise may sound like something right out of a Margaret Atwood novel, it is not some feminist dystopian nightmare; nor, for that matter, is the possibility of artificial wombs or gestation solely the creation of science fiction. The scenario is, as Professor Stephen Giles argues in the recent article “Does the Right to Elective Abortion Include the Right to Ensure the Death of the Fetus?”, a possible legal path forward for anti-abortion advocates to either render Roe v. Wade irrelevant or overturn it altogether.

 

Giles, who teaches at Quinnipac University School of Law, makes the argument for protecting fetal rights at the point of conception once technology has advanced to the point of being able to gestate humans in entirely “artificial” environments. According to Giles, this brave new world of ectogenesis will benefit women by eradicating the need for legal protections for abortions. That’s because, as Giles explains, modern technology currently limits reproductive choices. There is no way to end a pregnancy—other than via live birth and adoption—in a way that does not terminate the fetus, he writes.

Professor Giles explains further in his abstract to the article:

Would such a “fetal-rescue program” be constitutional under the Supreme Court’s controlling decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey? Although the Article ultimately concludes that fetal-rescue programs are constitutional, the basis for that conclusion is not a categorical rule that the woman has no constitutionally protected liberty interest in ensuring the death of the pre-viable fetus. On the contrary, Part I argues that, under Casey, her liberty interest is “specially protected,” meaning that state-imposed burdens on that interest are subject to more than rational-basis scrutiny. Part II then explains why the appropriate form of heightened scrutiny is the interest-balancing methodology Casey employed in re-establishing the right to elective abortion, rather than the “undue burden” test Casey adopted for state laws that interfere with a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion. Consequently, the constitutionality of fetal-rescue programs turns on whether the state’s interest in protecting the pre-viable fetus outweighs the woman’s protected liberty interest in ensuring its death.

January 8, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Why Scholars Should Blog and Tweet

As the recent flurry of tweeting on #AALS2015 showed, academic discourse is fully on social media. Everybody's doing it.  

Here's a nice guide to why and how to Tweet for academic purposes.

TaxLawProf, Why Scholars Should Blog and Tweet

One of the recurring themes (from many different contributors) on the LSE Impact of Social Science blog is that a new paradigm of research communications has grown up — one that de-emphasizes the traditional journals route, and re-prioritizes faster, real-time academic communication. Blogs play a critical intermediate role. They link to research reports and articles on the one hand, and they are linked to from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ news-streams and communities. So in research terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now.

January 7, 2015 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Gay Marriage Now Legal in Florida

From my neck of the woods in Broward County, Florida:

“Do you take each other to be your spouse for life?” asked Howard C. Forman, the Broward County clerk of courts, slightly stressing the word spouse. Together, the couples uttered their individual vows to one another. “I pronounce you legally married,” Mr. Forman said.

With that, the couples, their families and friends roared, cheered and clapped, and Frank Sinatra’s “Love” blasted into the room. For Anthony Butera, 44, and Abdel Magid, 45, there was no doubt that marrying as soon as possible in their home state was a must-do. A couple for 12 years, the two donned wedding finery — Mr. Butera wore a cream tuxedo jacket with a black handkerchief and Mr. Magid a black tuxedo jacket with a white boutonniere — and infectious smiles.

And the legal background: 

With arms interlocked, about 20 gay and lesbian couples, too eager to wait any longer, were married in a five-minute ceremony at 3 a.m. on Tuesday at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale as Florida marked a long, arduous journey to become the 36th state to legalize same sex marriage.

Now the nation’s third-largest state, Florida joined the list allowing same-sex unions just six years ago after the state, led by Republican lawmakers, voted to approve a constitutional ban on gay marriage, which garnered 62 percent of the vote.

January 6, 2015 in LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Aziz on Coercive Assimilationism

Sahar F. Aziz, Texas A & M Law, has uploaded "Coercive Assimilationism:  The Perils of Muslim Women's Identity Performance in the Workplace."  It's forthcoming in the Michigan J. of Race & Law and its abstract reads as follows: 

Fifty years after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unlawful discrimination continues to ail American workplaces. Despite the prevailing narrative that America is now "post-racial" after the election of the first African American president, equal opportunity still eludes many Americans. Their membership in racial, ethnic, or religious groups stigmatized as the "other" adversely affects their access to education, political empowerment, and equal opportunity in the workplace.

At the time Title VII was passed, victims often experienced explicit bias against their protected group. The law’s immediate effect was to ban overt prejudice causing disparate intergroup discrimination between men and women, blacks and whites, different ethnicities, and Christians and non-Christians.As a result, Title VII, along with other anti-discrimination laws, has been relatively successful in rooting out explicit bias in employment. Many employers now refrain from overtly treating employees disparately on account of an immutable characteristic. But, as the data show, the absence of discriminatory policies on paper does not always translate into a discrimination free workplace in practice. Rather, it pushes bias into more covert manifestations wherein facially neutral factors become proxies for unlawful discrimination.

While Title VII prohibits covert bias; it is ill equipped to prevent two increasingly prevalent forms of discrimination: 1) implicit bias arising from negative stereotypes of protected classes; and 2) disparate treatment of subgroups of protected classes who do not conform to coercive assimilationist pressures.Because an employee alleging discrimination must show that a similarly situated worker outside the protected class does not receive the same adverse treatment or impact, an employer who treats a subgroup of a minority better than another subgroup of the same minority can evade liability. 

Of course, if the difference in treatment among the subgroups is based on performance and skills directly related to the work at issue, then no liability should attach. However, that is not always the case. Disparate treatment of members of the same protected class arises from negative racial, ethnic, or religious stereotypes that privileges those able and willing to perform their identity in accordance with assimilationist demands of the majority group. The effect is intragroup discrimination based on intergroup bias rooted in implicit negative stereotyping. 

Female employees who fall under multiple protected classes face an intersection of identity performance pressures as women, racial or ethnic minorities, and religious minorities.The dominant group’s expectations of how women or members of minority groups should behave, dress, and communicate to be "professional" are often contradictory due to conflicting stereotypes. A Black woman, for example, who is assertive, ambitious, and exhibits leadership qualities associated as masculine characteristics, risks being stigmatized as aggressive, insubordinate, and threatening because of negative stereotypes of blacks. Meanwhile, her behavior contradicts gender conformity norms that women should be deferential, gentle, soft spoken, and pleasant. And if she is a Muslim, then her behavior triggers stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists, disloyal, foreign, and suspect.

For workplace anti-discrimination laws to eradicate these multiple binds that disparately impact women of color, this Article argues that Title VII jurisprudence should take into account intergroup discrimination based on intragroup identity performance to assure all employees, not just a subset of a protected class, are covered by workplace antidiscrimination law. As such, a plaintiff’s treatment should not be compared only with similarly situated employees outside the protected class but also with similarly situated employees within the protected class whose identity performance accommodates coercive assimilationism rooted in stereotypes.

This Article applies social psychology and antidiscrimination theories to the case of Muslim women of color in the workplace, an under-researched area in legal scholarship. I examine in detail the identity performance challenges and contradictions faced by Muslim women of color as "intersectionals" facing stereotypes against 1) Muslims as terrorists, violent, and disloyal; 2) Muslim women as meek, oppressed, and lacking individual agency; 3) women as sexualized, terminally second best to men, and uncommitted to their careers; 4) immigrants as forever foreign and undeserving of equal treatment; and 5) ethnic minorities from the Middle East and South Asia as barbaric, misogynist, and anti-American. I conclude that Muslim women of color are at risk of falling between the cracks of Title VII jurisprudence due to courts’ unwillingness to recognize the harms caused by coercive assimilationst pressures to conform one’s identity to comport to high status group norms, irrespective of the relevance to work performance.

January 6, 2015 in International, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tolerating Sex Discrimination in Insurance

Mary Heen (Richmond) has posted, Nondiscrimination in Insurance: The Next Chapter, 49 Georgia L. rev. 1 (2014) Free Download 

For nearly 150 years, American insurance companies have engaged in race and gender pricing practices that would be illegal if followed today by any other major commercial enterprise. The insurance industry has defended its long-standing practices, first for race and now for gender, based on ideas about insurance “equity” developed in the nineteenth century. The continued application of these ideas, and the practices that have resulted from them, conflict with fundamental civil rights principles and should not be tolerated as exceptions to our national civil rights laws. As that history shows, classifications used by insurers to determine rates and benefits raise complex distributional, financial, and political issues that cannot be resolved simply as technical questions of actuarial risk or economics. This Article proposes comprehensive federal civil rights legislation to ban discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex in insurance coverage, rates, and benefits. It explains why previous reform efforts have failed and why recent developments, including the adoption of unisex insurance rates in Europe, could make consideration of such legislation in the United States timely once again.

January 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The New Congress is 80% Male

WaPo, The New Congress is 80 Percent White,80 percent Male, and 92 percent Christian

The 114th Congress, which gets to "work" on Tuesday, is one of the most diverse in American history, comprised of nearly 20 percent women and just over 17 percent of which is non-white. Which means, of course, that four out of five members of Congress are white and four out of five are men. 

January 6, 2015 in Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice Ginsburg Rocks AALS Annual Meeting

NLJ, Ginsburg--and Reform--Highlight Law School Gathering

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg got the rock star treatment during the Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Many of the normally rather staid legal educators in attendance whipped out their cellphones to snap pictures as Ginsburg entered the ballroom Saturday for an hour-long conversation with Wendy Williams, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

ICYMI, see Justice Ginsburg and Women's Legal History at AALS.  



January 6, 2015 in Conferences, Law schools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Darr on the British Regulation of Sex Offenses in Palestine

Orna Alyagon Darr, Carmel Academic Center, has uploaded an article forthcoming from the Yale J. of Law and Humanities.  It's titled "Relocated Doctrine:  The Travel of the English Doctrine of Corroboration in Sex Offense Cases to Mandate Palestine."  The abstract reads:  

The spread of the British Empire was accompanied by the relocation of legal doctrines, which took on new meanings and uses. This article follows the relocation to Mandate Palestine of the common-law doctrine of corroboration of victim testimony in sex offense cases. In England, corroboration was a cautionary rule that expressed mistrust of female complainants. In jury-less Palestine, the rule also expressed deep distrust toward non-English complainants, especially children. While the British rulers of Palestine prided themselves on imposing sexual regulation tailored to protecting women and children, an analysis of the way corroboration was applied in that setting reveals a rigidly imposed and hard-to-meet evidentiary standard. British colonial judges maintained that demanding corroboration in sex offense cases was an implementation of English law. However, the rule was not simply a ‘transplant’ that reproduced the original but, rather, acquired its meaning within the specific social context and in the subjectivities of its users.

January 5, 2015 in International, Scholarship, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

how girls' and boys' brains are different (or not)

From Salon:

Most of the variations in brain structure between males and females are minimal and relative to the difference in average body size between men and women. Others don’t correlate with any specific advantage or disadvantage. For instance, adult male brains are on average 6 to 10 percent larger than female brains, but there is data from Harvard researchers to suggest females have more connectivity between hemispheres. The differences can be even more exaggerated in childhood, when boys and girls of the same age can have as much as a 50 percent difference in brain volume during the steep part of the growth curve. All of this makes it difficult, and indeed foolish, to draw conclusions about differences in brain function based on differences in anatomy, at least when it comes to talking about males and females.

And: 

The fact that there are differences in neural anatomy between the two sexes, however, is undisputed. The differences are present in early fetal life, as hormones already have altered the destiny of brain regions that are set up to go either way in the embryo. This is called sexual dimorphism, and one region that is heavily altered by early differences in levels of the female hormone estrogen or the male hormone testosterone is the hypothalamus. This turns out to be very important because the job of the hypothalamus throughout life is to regulate hormones in women and men.

 

January 5, 2015 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Harvard Law Violated Title IX on Handling Sexual Assault

NLJ, Harvard Law Faulted for Handling of Assault Complaints

Harvard Law School has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to update its sexual assault and harassment policies after a four-year investigation concluded its handling of student complaints did not comply with Title IX.

 

 The department’s Office for Civil Rights concluded the school gave law students accused of sexual harassment or assault with more opportunities to present evidence and appeal decisions than it did their accusers, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

 

 Additionally, investigators concluded that that law school set too high a threshold for determining when harassment occurred—a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence rather than the “preponderance of evidence” standard required under Title IX.

 Investigators examined the two cases of sexual harassment filed by law students since 2005. “[The Office for Civil Rights] concluded that the law school failed to provide a prompt and equitable resolution of the two complaints,” Department of Education said in a letter to law dean Martha Minnow.

 See also 

Bloomberg, Harvard Law Loses a Four-Year Fight Over its Sexual Assault Policy

WaPo, Harvard Settles Title IX Case with Administration, Agrees to Revise Sexual Assault Policies    

 More background on the original complaint filed in 2011 is here.

The civil rights division of the US Department of Education is investigating Harvard Law School after a Boston lawyer filed a complaint with the agency alleging that school policies regarding response to sexual assault allegations violate Title IX rules against discrimination on campuses.

 
Wendy J. Murphy, a faculty member at the New England School of Law said yesterday in a telephone interview that she filed the complaint in September, after being hired by Harvard Law in the spring to work on a Title IX issue and finding that three policies ran afoul of federal regulations. She would not elaborate on why she was hired.

 

She said the most troubling violation is the school’s policy of waiting to address complaints on campus until police and prosecutors have finished investigating, a practice she called “running out the clock.’’ Murphy said criminal investigations can drag on until after victims graduate, leaving them vulnerable to retaliation from their attackers and others during the rest of their time in school.

January 3, 2015 in Education, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yale Female Prof Denied Preliminary Injunction to Stop Discriminatory Firing

A federal district court ruled that a female professor threatened with dismissal on what she alleges are discriminatory grounds is not entitled to a preliminary injunction maintaining the status quo of her employment.  In Bagley v. Yale University (Dec. 29, 2014), the Connecticut district court ruled that the professor could not show "irreparable harm" necessary to qualify for the injunction because the possibility of reinstatement and/or damages after a full trial on the merits negated any claim to irreparable harm.  She alleged irreparable harm from loss of academic reputation and loss of ability to care for her 16-year old son for whom she is the sole parent,  This decision seems to fly in the face of standard Remedies-law doctrine that considers irreparable harm a rather innocous standard, and which Professor Doug Laycock asserts is a dead rule.  And the decision seems to reach broadly, eliminating PIs in virtually any employment case under this reasoning. 

The complaint detailing Professor Bagley's allegations is here.  As a "professor of practice" in a business school, she is in a situation so similar to many women in academia working in legal writing and clinics and other fields under long-term contracts. 

January 3, 2015 in Education, Equal Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Catholic School Teacher Fired for IVF Wins $2m Sex Discrimination Suit

Former Catholic School Teacher Fired for Violating Catholic Teaching Awarded $1.95m, Mostly For Hurt Feelings

Last Friday, a federal jury awarded a former teacher in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend almost $2 million for what she claims was sex discrimination, the bulk of which was not for medical bills or lost wages, but for $1.75 million in “emotional and physical damages” she allegedly suffered.

 

And while the case looks narrow—was this female teacher fired when immoral male teachers were allowed to retain their jobs?—it involves a much bigger question: when can federal courts scrutinize the religious decisions of churches?

 

In 2008, Emily Herx, a junior high school language arts teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne, began IVF treatment. She notified her school principal about additional IVF treatment in 2010, and in April 2011 the church pastor met with Herx to inform her that IVF was morally wrong.

 

IVF is a multi-step procedure that usually involves stimulating a woman’s ovaries to cause multiple ovulation, collecting the eggs and fertilizing them with donor sperm in a petri dish (in vitro meaning “in glass”), developing embryos, selecting a few and implanting them back in the woman. Leftover embryos are usually frozen or destroyed. According to Catholic moral teaching, this process is objectionable in many different ways.

 

Because of her IVF treatment, Herx’s contract as a teacher was not renewed, and she sued the Diocese citing alleged violation of various federal laws. Some of her claims were dismissed by the court, but her sex discrimination claim went to a jury, which rendered a verdict last Friday finding the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend liable under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a federal law prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of sex. Herx had argued that, although she was terminated for undergoing IVF treatments, the Diocese allegedly continues to employ male teachers who had received vasectomies and other treatments that interfere with natural reproduction.

January 3, 2015 in Equal Employment, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Call for Gender Pay Gap Transparency

Equal pay photocall

What is afoot in Britain might provide lessons for the States: 

Labour has called for widespread pay transparency across Britain, proposing legislation that would make it compulsory for big companies to publish the average difference between the pay of their male and female employees.

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, tabled a 10-minute rule bill to enact section 78 of the Equality Act (2010), which was introduced by Labour but abandoned by the coalition when it entered government. The section requires companies that employ more than 250 people to publish their gender pay gap figures.

The bill was backed by 258 MPs, with eight voting against, but it is unlikely to progress further before the general election without government backing. It isLiberal Democrat policy to enact section 78 of the Equality Act and Lib Dem MPs were given a free vote on the issue.

January 2, 2015 in Equal Employment, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

"SMU Violated Law on Gender"

The story about Southern Methodist University: 

DALLAS — Southern Methodist University violated federal discrimination laws and has agreed to provide a safer environment for students who allege sexual assault or other gender-based violence, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

SMU violated Title IX, a 1972 law that bars discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs or activities.

 

 

 

January 2, 2015 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Feds Sue Chicago Public Schools for Pregnancy Discrimination

Federal Government Sues Chicago Schools for Pregnancy Discrimination

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that it discriminated against pregnant teachers at a northwest side elementary school.

The suit, filed in federal court in the third largest U.S. city, alleges that starting in 2009, Scammon Elementary School Principal Mary Weaver subjected female teachers to lower performance evaluations, discipline, threatened firing and firing because of their pregnancies.

The suit also alleges that the board approved the firing of six recently pregnant teachers at Scammon and forced two others to leave the school.

"No woman should have to make a choice between her job and having a family," said Vanita Gupta, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division. "Federal law requires employers to maintain a workplace free of discrimination on the basis of sex."

Weaver, who won a Chicago Public Schools principal achievement award last year, made negative comments to and about pregnant Scammon teachers, the suit said. She responded to one teacher's pregnancy announcement with "I can't believe you are doing this to me. You are going to be out right before [mandatory] testing," the suit said.

It said Weaver asked another teacher who was nursing and expressing breast milk: "That isn't over yet?" and "When will you be done with that?"

January 1, 2015 in Education, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

More on Trigger Warnings for Teaching Rape

Trigger Warnings in the Classroom.  One view:

“It should go without saying that solving a problem requires talking about it, learning about its history, and—where they exist—discussing the surrounding legal issues. Is the point of law school to make future lawyers feel comfortable, or is it to enable them to be zealous advocates for their clients, who may include victims of rape and other crimes? [or accused defendants]” 

January 1, 2015 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Two Recent Articles

Two interesting recent articles from the NYT.  One is about the status of LGBT folk in Cuba.  An excerpt:  

Mariela Castro, the daughter of the current president, Raúl Castro, has led the charge on legislative and societal changes [for LGBT rights] that have given rise to an increasingly visible and empowered community. In the process, she has carved out a rare space for civil society in an authoritarian country where grass-roots movements rarely succeed. Some Western diplomats in Havana have seen the progress on gay rights as a potential blueprint for expansion of other personal freedoms in one of the most oppressed societies on earth.

“It’s fine to criticize, but you also have to acknowledge that they’ve done good,” said John Petter Opdahl, Norway’s ambassador to Cuba, in a recent interview. Mr. Opdahl, who is gay, said his government gave Ms. Castro’s organization $230,000 over the last two years. “She has taken off a lot of the stigma for most people in the country, and she has made life so much better for so many gay people, not only in Havana but in the provinces.”

Another article revisits the Stanford undergraudates from the class of 1994.   

December 31, 2014 in International, LGBT, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)