Friday, September 19, 2014
ACTIVISTS on warring sides of the abortion debate rarely take the same position when it comes to Supreme Court cases involving women’s rights. But pro-choicers and pro-lifers have found common cause in Young v United Parcel Service, a pregnancy discrimination case the justices will take up on December 3rd. Yet the ideological overlap, while intriguing, is no guarantee that justices will reach consensus.
And the case facts:
Peggy Young was working part-time as the driver of a delivery truck for UPS when she became pregnant in 2006. Ms Young’s midwife, frowning on the requirement in her job description that she haul 70lb boxes, wrote a note to UPS recommending that “she not lift more than 20 pounds." On this basis, Ms Young requested a few months of a lightened load. Other UPS employees were eligible for such an accommodation, she reasoned, so she wasn’t asking for anything out of the ordinary. Workers who were injured on the job, who were disabled under the terms of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or who lost their driving credentials were all eligible (under the collective-bargaining agreement) for “light duty” assignments. But Carolyn Martin, the company’s occupational health manager, rejected Ms Young’s request. Since pregnancy did not fall into any of the three categories of workers eligible for alternate assignments, UPS would not switch her to a less physically onerous job. Ms Martin "empathise[d] with [Ms Young's] situation and would have loved to help her," but sent her packing on an unpaid leave.
Monday, September 15, 2014
....or, so argues a writer featured in the NYT. More:
The first book, “Why Gender Matters in Economics” (Princeton University Press, 2014) by Mukesh Eswaran, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia, draws on data from past economic studies conducted under laboratory conditions to show how gender influences financial actions and relationships.
In one set of these experiments, called the dictator game, women were found to be more generous than men. Players were given $10 and allowed but not required to hand out some of it to a hidden and anonymous partner.Women, on average, gave away $1.61 of the $10, whereas men gave away only 82 cents.
Friday, September 5, 2014
TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan unveiled a reshuffled cabinet on Wednesday that included five women, an apparent nod toward his promises to raise the status of women in the workplace. The appointments tie the record for the number of women in top political positions in Japan.
Since taking office in December 2012, Mr. Abe has spoken of the need to revive Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, by more fully unleashing the potential of its huge pool of highly educated women, who have long been relegated to relatively low-ranking positions in the work force.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
The Domino's Pizza chain isn't responsible for the alleged sexual harassment of a 16-year-old female employee of one of its stores because the franchise agreement left all personnel decisions up to the now-bankrupt store owner, says a closely divided California Supreme Court.
A lawyer for Domino's hailed Thursday's 4-3 ruling as "a great victory for the franchise industry" - which, according to a 2007 Census Bureau study quoted by the court, accounted for nearly $1.3 trillion in annual sales nationwide.
The ruling comes a month after the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board reached a much different conclusion in another franchise case, saying McDonald's can be held jointly liable under federal law for wage violations at its restaurants.
The court case comes from Thousand Oaks (Ventura County), where the teenager, Taylor Patterson, said the assistant store manager groped her and made lewd comments soon after she started work in November 2008.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Tracy had posted about three female professors at Northeastern who had been denied tenure recently. On a related note, there is an article in Inside Higher Ed which takes note that more men than women have gained and are likely to gain tenure. The question, of course, is why.
In discussions about the gender gap among tenured professors at research universities, there is little dispute that there are far more men than women with tenure in most disciplines. But why? Many have speculated that men are outperforming women in research, which is particularly valued over teaching and service at research universities. With women (of those with children) shouldering a disproportionate share of child care, the theory goes, they may not be able to keep up with publishing and research to the same extent as their male counterparts.
Not only are men more likely than women to earn tenure, but in computer science and sociology, they are significantly more likely to earn tenure than are women who have the same research productivity. In English men are slightly (but not in a statistically significant way) more likely than women to earn tenure.
“It’s not that we need to make women more productive. It’s that we need to change the processes," said Kate Weisshaar, a graduate student at Stanford University who did the study.
Check out IHE article for Weisshaar's study.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Good luck getting a teaching job in São Paulo if you’re a woman who doesn’t want to undergo a pap smear or have a doctor certify your virginity in a written note. As outlined by a 2012 law that might well have been written decades (or even centuries) earlier, women who wish to become teachers in Brazil’s most populous state must undergo invasive gynecological exams to test for a variety of cancers, ostensibly to determine if the candidates pose a risk of taking extended absences to cope with an illness.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Sunday, August 3, 2014
On the one hand, there is the good news:
The new data presented by David Cotter and his co-authors suggest that support for gender equality and respect for women’s ability to combine work and family have resumed their upward progress. Other evidence reveals that millennial men express greater interest in more involved fatherhood and want more balance between work and family than previous generations.
....it remains to be seen whether these ideological changes will substantively reduce such structural inequalities as men’s continuing earnings advantage over women and women’s underrepresentation in highly paid occupations.
It’s not just younger Millennials who are embracing gender equality. David Cotter, a sociologist at Union College, and his co-authors foundthat support has been rising since 2006 among all age groups, among both men and women and among conservatives and liberals. Conservatives, actually, though their total numbers are lower than liberals, show the greatest increase in support.
But there's this:
Good news for Hillary: More than three-fourths of Americans now say that men and women are equally suited to politics, up from just 48 percent in 1977.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Parliament's art should be subject to a "gender-audit" amid concerns that the paintings and sculptures are too "white and male", a report endorsed by all three party leaders has found.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Women said that the art in Westminster is "off-putting" for female MPs and warns that the language, culture and ceremonies of Parliament are too "masculine".
The Houses of Commons is ranked 65th in the world for female representatives behind Rwanda, Cuba, Angola and the majority of Latin American and Scandinavian nations.
The report recommends a series of radical steps to redress the balance, including gender quotas and a zero-tolerance approach to "raucous, ill-mannered" and "testosterone-fuelled" behaviour.
July 14, 2014
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the U.S. Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its first comprehensive Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues since 1983. The guidance outlines the fundamental requirements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) that an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons in their ability or inability to work. The guidance also includes the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
“I believe that Goldman Sachs maintains a culture of bias against women. I have witnessed firsthand Goldman Sachs’ pervasive boys’ club culture. I also believe that having children has negatively affected my opportunities for advancement,” wrote one Lisa Albanese, a former vice president in the equities division who says that she was never promoted to the managing director level despite her status as a top performer. “In order to be successful at Goldman Sachs, I had to tolerate offensive language from male co-workers and a boys’ club atmosphere.”
Chen-Oster reports that she was sexually assaulted by a male co-worker at a staff dinner in 1997 and then discouraged from reporting it to human resources. Years later, after taking maternity leave, she says she found all her juiciest assignments handed off to male colleagues. “If Goldman Sachs were a better place for women to work and I thought that I would not be treated differently from men, I would seek a career there,” she writes.
“In my experience, entertaining clients at strip clubs was considered routine for Goldman in the U.S.,” writes Katalin Tischhauser, who worked on the convertible bond desk in London. She describes a visit to a conference in New Orleans in 2001 where her American colleagues took clients to a strip club and paid the strippers to entertain them. According to the complaint, the firm began discouraging new associates from taking clients to strip clubs in 2005 but did so with a nod and a wink, telling them that if they went, they should simply not expense it.
Yes, still more on Hobby Lobby. For women, this is a game-changing decision with both significant legal and practical consequences. It's not going to go away quietly.
Congress takes action. NYT, Democrats Push Bill to Reverse Supreme Court Ruling on Contraceptives
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
SCOTUS granted cert in EEOC v. Mach Mining, 738 F.3d 171 (7th Cir. 2013) involving an employer's procedural defense in a Title VII case in which the government alleged that the mining company had not hired any female miners since opening for business in 2006, despite having highly qualified applications. The Seventh Circuit ruled that "employers cannot challenge - and courts cannot review - the adequacy of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) informal pre-litigation efforts to bring employers into compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws."
The issue is "whether and to what extent a court may enforce the EEOC's mandatory duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 directs the EEOC to try to negotiate [42 USC § 2000e-5(b)] an end to an employer's unlawful employment practices before suing for a judicial remedy. Mach Mining sought dismissal of the EEOC's suit on the ground that the agency failed to engage in good-faith conciliation before filing. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that "an alleged failure to conciliate is not an affirmative defense to the merits of a discrimination suit."
EEOC General Counsel David Lopez stated that in the landmark ruling the Seventh Circuit "carefully applied the letter of the law." And it did so, Lopez explained, "in a way that promotes Title VII's goals, protects victims of discrimination, and preserves the EEOC's critical law-enforcement prerogatives. . . ." Title VII does require the EEOC to "endeavor to eliminate . . . alleged unlawful employment practice[s] by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion." However, the statute also plainly allows the Commission to sue the employer for discrimination if it "has been unable to secure from the respondent a conciliation agreement acceptable to the Commission."
One analysis of the underlying appellate decision calls it "truly a game changing decision" to hold that the alleged failure to conciliate is not an affirmative defense to the merits of a discrimination suit. It predicted the the "potential for long-lasting implications" if the EEOC "can force its will on employers without any meaningful recourse to determine whether the EEOC’s conciliation efforts were made in good faith.:
On a broad scale, it seems the law of labor negotiations and the duty to bargain in good faith with its judicial oversight is set against the hands-off law of mediation and settlement negotiations.
More on the case here.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
The question presented is whether an employer must provide workplace accommodations to a pregnant employee similar to those it provides to temporarily disabled employees?
In Brief: Peggy Young "is a driver for United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS). She had asked UPS for a 'light duty' assignment after her doctor recommended that she not lift more than twenty pounds while pregnant. UPS denied her request, even though it had a practice of giving light duty assignments to other employees who were temporarily unable to perform their jobs. As a result of UPS’s denial, Young was forced to take unpaid leave and lost her medical coverage for the period during which she gave birth, until she was able to return to work at UPS two months later."
The Fourth Circuit CoA affirmed a grant of summary judgment to the employer holding that neither the Pregnancy Disrimination Act nor the Americans with Disabilities Act requires an employer to provide accomodations.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
The vice-president of Facebook in Europe – one of the online industry's most powerful executives – has revealed her frustration at being portrayed in the media as a mother-of-four who "wanted it all".
Nicola Mendelsohn, speaking at a conference in London, said there needed to be an overhaul of the language used to talk about women and girls.
"When I got my post at Facebook it was all about how I was a mother-of-four who had 'won' the position, alongside pictures of my wedding," she said, noting that the male executive hired at the same time came under no such scrutiny. Reports also said she insisted on working part-time, when in fact she was working a typical five-day week.
"I was never defined by my working hours, I was defined by what I produced. That is what we need and we need to be respectful of the best way people work. I think businesses have to think about the best way to retain talent."
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Updated June 25: New Additions to the List
I thought I would try and track the new law deans that are women. Please help me add to this list by sending me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or posting a comment below. For background, see Laura Padilla (Cal Western), A Gendered Update on Women Law Deans: Who, Where, Why and Why Not? (2007)
Jocelyn Benson, (Interim Dean, Wayne State), Dean, Wayne State
Jennifer Collins (Vice-Provost, Wake Forest), Dean, SMU
Phyllis Crocker (former Interim & Assoc. Dean, Cleveland State), Dean, Detroit Mercy
Danielle Holley-Walker (Assoc. Dean, South Carolina), Dean, Howard
Jean Holloway (corporate attorney), Dean, Hamline
Jennifer Johnson (professor, Lewis & Clark), Dean, Lewis & Clark
Gillian Lester (acting Dean, Berkeley), Dean, Columbia
Andrea Lyon (criminal attorney), Dean, Valparaiso
Wendy Scott, (former Associate Dean, NC Central), Dean, Mississippi College
Nancy Staudt (Vice Dean, USC), Dean, Wash U
Judith Areen (former Dean, Georgetown), Executive Director, AALS
Friday, June 20, 2014
So, according to this site,
A new poll from YouGov and the Huffington Post found about 62 percent of Americans think it's already illegal under federal law to fire an employee for being gay or lesbian.
Most Americans do overwhelmingly support protecting gay and lesbian workers from being fired over their sexual orientation, the same poll found.
It's legal in most states to fire an employee over his or her sexual orientation, but most Americans are apparently unaware of this fact.
An Illinois man, who was training to become a special agent with the FBI, sued the FBI for gender discrimination after failing the physical fitness portion of the special agent test. Women taking the test were required to complete 14 pushups while men were required to do 30. The agent who sued only did 29 and was denied special agent status. He was told he could take another position within the agency, resign, or be fired.
He chose to take the alternate position within the FBI, working in Chicago as an analyst. A few years later, he sued, looking to regain agent status. He claimed he was essentially fired based because of the discriminatory physical fitness test. Apparently, he had done really well in all other aspects of his training and was well respected among others in the program. That one push up kept him from the career he wanted.
The Federal judge agreed with the man, ruling that the fitness test violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The judge did say that his ruling does not mean that standards can’t ever differ based on sex. Many agree that the physiological differences between men and women should be taken into consideration, and many times they are, without violating the Civil Rights Act.
What makes different standards legal is when they have a rational basis. The trainee claimed that the difference (in push ups required) was arbitrary and not based on actual data. He also claims that a fellow trainee, a woman, was allowed a second try at her push-up test and he was not. I couldn’t find an explanation as to why he couldn’t eek out one more pushup. 30 doesn’t seem like a crazy hard number, but what do I know.