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.
Monday, June 16, 2014
I've blogged about Gianmarco Monsellato's admirable initiative to ensure that women lawyers in his large French law firm get equal pay and equal assignments as do their male counterparts.
Monsellato believes that the popular American approach to form "diversity committees" and to "lean in" are absurd because the partners themselves have all the power and that genuine fairness must be initiated by them.
A female CEO blogger for the Harvard Business Review Blog notes that those partners like Monsellato are themselves "outsiders" to their firms and that it might very well take such an outsider to implement serious changes:
Interestingly, in my experience, most of the leaders who’ve pushed hardest for gender balance are themselves not fully members of their companies’ dominant majority. They are often a different nationality than most of their colleagues, or the first non-home- country CEO. So, for example, the Peruvian-born Carlos Ghosn at Nissan in Japan, the Dutch Marijn Dekkers at BAYER (disclosure: they are a client) in Germany, or the Italian Monsellato at TAJ in France.
There is nothing better than being a bit of an outsider to understand the particular stickiness of the in-group’s hold on power. These are some of the more enlightened leaders on gender balance. They build true meritocracies, they get the best of 100% of the global talent pool – and they will win a huge competitive edge in this century of globalization.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Sure, Clinton jokes in the book about scrunchies and outfits and nail polish to make her point that woman in public life are forced under a microscope. "There is a persistent double standard applied to women in politics," she writes, "regarding clothes, body types, and of course hairstyles."
But Clinton is still not ready to talk – at least not in a substantive way – about what it meant to be the first woman to go so far, yet still fall short, in the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination. And she is certainly not saying, in Hard Choices or in the rounds of interviews and appearances surrounding its release, how she would overcome biases on women seeking power when and if she decides to run in 2016.
It's about time she did.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
From the Adjunct Law Prof Blog:
Employee Who Resigns Because of Sexual Harassment is Eligible for Unemployment. The credible evidence of sexual harassment was sufficient to establish good cause for resigning employment so as to permit award of unemployment benefits.
Friday, June 6, 2014
From the WSJ:
And the accompanying text:
One of the nation's top-ranked business schools is "inhospitable to women faculty," according to an internal academic review.
Faculty of the Anderson Graduate School of Management at University of California, Los Angeles, received a confidential copy of the review, conducted by a group of university professors and outside business-school deans, in April. The next day, the institution's first female dean, Judy Olian, met with the heads of several other elite business schools at the White House, where the group discussed business schools' roles in making workplaces friendlier to women and working families.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
I want to come back to John's post from yesterday. This really resonates with me. This was my experience during my tenure in a Washington, D.C. law firm. Gender equity and diversity came not from women’s support groups, what we now call lean in circles, but from men in power delegating and dispensing power to women.
Early in my second year at the law firm, 1992, 22 years ago, we had a ladies lunch. Officially a business lunch of women associates at the firm, maybe 30 plus women in the room. We heard testimonies of women who exemplified how they were making it work. One woman, a senior associate, told how her male supervising partner valued her work, allowed her to go to 80% time so she could work 9-5, and how her husband had primary caregiving responsibility for their two young children. Another junior associate told how it was easier for her to have her two children early in her career, as the ongoing years increased responsibility and client connection that unlike a research memo, could not be easily transferred. Another senior associate advised to make yourself indispensable to your supervising partner, always doing excellent work, making yourself accessible at home (this was before cell phones found you anywhere).
But none of this is what really made a material difference to the women attorneys. What mattered was the men in power investing in their women associates. (There were only a handful of female partners among the hundreds at the firm at the time). Providing good work, mediating any client issues, and supporting those women as they came up through the ranks in terms of promotion and salary. One male partner I worked for from the start threw me into depositions, briefing, oral arguments, and wrote solid, supportive, professional advancement reviews. Another provided helpful professional advice as to next steps and development, providing opportunities for professional growth and increasingly sophisticated lawyering. Conversely, another relegated me as a senior associate to the backroom and bottom-tier status of fact gather and memo writer on an antitrust case. In another example, my friend and colleague became partner while on permanent part-time status, again, proactively sponsored by a senior male partner from the firm's management group.
It doesn’t take one mastermind to change the world. It takes each person in power simply training, promoting, and investing equally in women. Maybe that has to be deliberate and planned until it becomes reflexive.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Nice Guys (and Girls) Do Finish First. "The hot new theory that says generous people do better at work than selfish ones." The organizational psychology research documents three types of workers: takers - the "what's in in for me"; matchers - quid pro quo; and givers - give with no expectation of reciprocity. I bet most Associate Deans can attest to this categorization. The surprising news in this research is that givers end up at both ends of the spectrum - as both stars and doormats. The goal is to give without sacrificing your own goals.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Velazquez-Perez v. Developers Diversified Realty, (1st Cir.) (May 23, 2014): The First Circuit decided a case answering the novel question of whether an employer can be held liable for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "when it terminates a worker whose job performance has been maligned by a jilted co-worker intent on revenge?" The court answered yes. If: 1) the coworker acted, for discriminatory reasons, with the intent to cause the plaintiff's firing; 2) the co-worker's actions were in fact the proximate cause of the termination; and 3) the employer allowed the co-worker's acts to achieve their desired effect though it knew (or reasonably should have known) of the discriminatory motivation. Thus a male manager who was fired after he rejected a female co-worker, and married human resource manager's sexual advances, could pursue the claim beyond summary judgment.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The story of unequal pay is a familiar one and doesn't seem any better at the top, whether you're a plant manager or corporate CEO. The latest example, NY Times Editor May Have Been Fired Due to Pay Complaints.
Several weeks ago...Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor, were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect.
Everyone, say it with me now. L-i-l-l-y L-e-d-b-e-t-t-e-r.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
More on the equal pay lawsuit by an Anheuser-Bush VP exec, St. Louis Trial Highlights Gender Bias in Pay
From male-only corporate jets to guys' golf outings and hunting trips, Francine Katz says her time in the Anheuser-Busch executive suite was rife with exclusion and outright discrimination. But it wasn't until the King of Beers' 2008 sale to Belgian brewer InBev that she says she realized the boy's club atmosphere was costing her millions.
In a 20-year career that saw her rise from a young corporate lawyer to a vice president, key strategist and the beer maker's top female executive, Katz became the face of her hometown employer, defending the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light from overzealous regulators and anti-alcohol crusaders.
Now she's accusing Anheuser-Busch of sex discrimination, arguing in a lawsuit that reached trial this week that top male executives — including former CEOs August Busch III and his son, August Busch IV — purposely paid her less because she's a woman.
Busch testified at trial to explain why Katz's male predecessor in the same position was paid four times her salary:
[H]e turned to the jury and said: "I hope you saw the letter Francine Katz wrote me in 2000.She thanked me for my 'generosity,'" Busch III said. Seated beside her attorney, Katz shook her head....
"We made damn sure she was compensated," he said. "John Jacob was a 60-something-year-old and had a background that was far superior to Francine Katz.How can you compared apples to oranges?"Busch III said.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Still my favorite article on the meaning of this day. Lisa Belkin, What Does Take Your Child to Work Day Mean in 2012?
When Ms. Magazine created "Take Our Daughters To Work Day" 20 years ago, it was a statement of how far girls had still to go. When the name was changed to "Take Our Sons And Daughter To Work Day" in 2003, it was a measure of how far girls had come. And today, as 37 million kids visit 3.5 million workplaces across the country, it is a chance to reflect on where all our children are going next.