Monday, March 3, 2014

"Taking Seriously Title VII's 'Floor, Not a Ceiling' Invitation"

The title of this post come from this recent paper by Craig Gurian, Executive Director of the Anti-Discrimination Center and Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law, in which he advocates strengthening civil rights protections through state and local legislation. Here's the abstract:

Civil rights advocates have been insufficiently attentive to the promise of creative state and local legislating as the means by which to counteract the erosion of federal civil rights protections. The promise has not only a defensive component (trying to hold on to doctrine that the Supreme Court has been abandoning) but an offensive one as well (introducing more robust substantive and procedural provisions than Title VII has ever had). This paper examines a so-far successful attempt in New York City to implement a vision that proposed to "meld the broadest vision of social justice with the strongest law enforcement deterrent" (one that, for example, has removed the "severe or pervasive" hurdle to the prosecution of sexual harassment lawsuits). The paper, while recognizing that state and local action is no cure-all, goes on to identify several doctrinal areas that are particularly ripe for state and local legislative innovation.

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