Monday, June 17, 2024

Robin R. Runge on "Safe Leave from Work Post-Dobbs"

Robin R. Runge published Safe Leave from Work Post-Dobbs in Volume 28 of the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal.  The abstract is excerpted here: 

Given the increasing restrictions on how and where a person who becomes pregnant may seek abortion care, and the large number of workers who experience reproductive coercion including birth control interference, and/or pregnancy related abuse, who may need to seek abortion related services, it is important to examine their rights as workers to take leave from work to seek these services without fear of job loss.


Domestic violence impacts a high percentage of working women and people who become pregnant every year. Pregnancy-related abuse, reproductive coercion, birth control sabotage, and interference with abortion-related decisionmaking are common forms of gender-based violence and harassment that may lead a survivor to seek abortion-related medical care. Without access to leave from work for this purpose, many victims of domestic and sexual violence may not seek the services necessary to ensure their health and their safety. Survivors should be able to take job guaranteed time off from work, ideally paid, to seek medical care for a dangerous pregnancy and/or seek other pregnancy related health care including abortion care, which may require travel to another state if their state prohibits abortions, without fear of job loss.


This essay examines how state laws providing leave from work to victims of gender-based violence and harassment may be utilized to obtain necessary medical services, including abortion care, to address pregnancy-related abuse and reproductive coercion, birth control sabotage, and interference with abortion-related decision-making that is increasingly necessary post-Dobbs.

June 17, 2024 in Abortion, Equal Employment, Family, Violence Against Women, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

New Book, Fair Shake: Women and the Fight to Build a Fair Economy

Naomi Cahn, June Carbone & Nancy Levit, Fair Shake: Women and the Fight to Build a Fair Economy (Simon & Schuster 2024)

In an era of supposed great equality, women are still falling behind in the workplace. Even with more women in the workforce than in decades past, wage gaps continue to increase. It is the most educated women who have fallen the furthest behind. Blue-collar women hold the most insecure and badly paid jobs in our economy. And even as we celebrate high-profile representation—women on the board of Fortune 500 companies and our first female vice president—women have limited recourse when they experience harassment and discrimination.

Fair Shake: Women and the Fight to Build a Just Economy explains that the system that governs our economy—a winner-take-all economy—is the root cause of these myriad problems. The WTA economy self-selects for aggressive, cutthroat business tactics, which creates a feedback loop that sidelines women. The authors, three legal scholars, call this feedback loop “the triple bind”: if women don’t compete on the same terms as men, they lose; if women do compete on the same terms as men, they’re punished more harshly for their sharp elbows or actual misdeeds; and when women see that they can’t win on the same terms as men, they take themselves out of the game (if they haven’t been pushed out already). With odds like these stacked against them, it’s no wonder women feel like, no matter how hard they work, they can’t get ahead.

Fair Shake is not a “fix the woman” book; it’s a “fix the system” book. It not only diagnoses the problem of what's wrong with the modern economy, but shows how, with awareness and collective action, we can build a truly just economy for all.

May 14, 2024 in Books, Equal Employment, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 29, 2024

Final Rule Published Implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The EEOC published its Final Rule implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The Final Rule and its interpretive guidance are available here. The EEOC's announcement highlighted the following key points of the Final Rule: 

  • Numerous examples of reasonable accommodations such as additional breaks to drink water, eat, or use the restroom; a stool to sit on while working; time off for health care appointments; temporary reassignment; temporary suspension of certain job duties; telework; or time off to recover from childbirth or a miscarriage, among others.
  • Guidance regarding limitations and medical conditions for which employees or applicants may seek reasonable accommodation, including miscarriage or still birth; migraines; lactation; and pregnancy-related conditions that are episodic, such as morning sickness. This guidance is based on Congress’s PWFA statutory language, the EEOC’s longstanding definition of “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions” from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and court decisions interpreting the term “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions from Title VII.
  • Guidance encouraging early and frequent communication between employers and workers to raise and resolve requests for reasonable accommodation in a timely manner.
  • Clarification that an employer is not required to seek supporting documentation when an employee asks for a reasonable accommodation and should only do so when it is reasonable under the circumstances.
  • Explanation of when an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an employer and its business.
  • Information on how employers may assert defenses or exemptions, including those based on religion, as early as possible in charge processing.

The EEOC also provides the following guidance: What You Should Know about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.


April 29, 2024 in Abortion, Equal Employment, Family, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Book Review, Kerri Stone's, Panes of the Glass Ceiling

Rona Kaufman Kitchen, Feminist Legal Theory and Stone's Panes of the Glass Ceiling, 17 FIU L. Rev. 771 (2023).

In her book, Panes of the Glass Ceiling: The Unspoken Beliefs Behind the Law’s Failure to Help Women Achieve Professional Parity, Professor Kerri Lynn Stone explores and deconstructs the many practical reasons why women have been unable to achieve equality in employment. Professor Stone painstakingly deconstructs the belief systems that underlie the American workplace and the path to professional success to reveal many of the nuanced reasons why women, despite their education, skill, and commitment to the workforce, continue to struggle to achieve professional success comparative to men. Stone insightfully explains why women continue to experience irremediable discrimination in employment almost sixty years after Congress outlawed sex discrimination in employment. Stone’s book is a long overdue deconstruction and indictment of the toxic masculinity and seemingly benign social norms that pervade workplace culture and its negative impact on women and equality. Her book is geared toward an audience that wants to understand the problems women face in employment today and solve those problems. While she provides historical context for many of the beliefs that ground the panes of the glass ceiling, her focus is not on theory or history. It is a book about the reality of 2022 and a map for how to shift that reality in 2023 and beyond.

This book review seeks to provide deeper grounding for Stone’s panes of the glass ceiling by placing her work in the broader historical and theoretical context of feminism, the women’s movement, and the history of women in the American labor force. This discussion proceeds in three parts. Part I provides the historical context for discrimination against women in the American workplace and anti-discrimination law by tracing the evolution of the modern women’s movement and the history of women’s participation in the labor force. Part II discusses Professor Kerri Stone’s panes of the glass ceiling and places each pane in theoretical context. Part III concludes with a brief discussion of how Stone’s articulation of the panes or the glass ceiling and her suggestions for reform contribute to the ongoing feminist legal theory discourse.

April 24, 2024 in Books, Equal Employment, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study Finds that Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Act Did Not Help Women's Careers and Gender Pay Gap

Martha Bailey, Tanya Byker, Elena Patel, Shanthi Ramnath, The Long-Run Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Act on Women's Careers and Childbearing: New Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design and U.S. Tax Data" 

We use administrative tax data to analyze the cumulative, long-run effects of California's 2004 Paid Family Leave Act (CPFL) on women's employment, earnings, and childbearing.***

A growing body of evidence suggests that the gender gap in pay emerges abruptly at motherhood, as new mothers work less for pay in order to increase their caregiving at home. These differences are also evident in U.S. tax data, which show that the “child penalty” for women in annual wage earnings grows sharply after their first child is born.

Academics and policymakers have mobilized around this issue, citing the absence of paid family leave in the United States as a major obstacle to gender equity in the labor market. Paid family leave policies, they argue, could enable workers to take longer leaves to care for newborns instead of dropping out of the labor force. Remaining attached to employers could help workers retain job- and firm-specific human capital and decrease skill depreciation, minimizing wage losses due to caregiving. Because more women leave the labor force than men for caregiving reasons, formalizing paid leave policies could narrow the gender gap in pay.***

Our findings challenge the conventional wisdom that paid leave benefits improve women’s short- or long-term career outcomes. In fact, CPFL significantly decreased employment and earnings of first-time mothers in the short run. First-time mothers taking up paid leave under CPFL were 6 percent less likely to be employed and earned 13 percent less during the first three years after giving birth. Moreover, we find evidence that these earnings effects persisted, with wage earnings remaining 13 percent lower nine to 12 years later.

April 24, 2024 in Business, Equal Employment, Family, Legislation, Reproductive Rights, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Analyzing the Women's Soccer Settlement for Gender Pay Equity

Joni Hersch & Delaney Beck, Gender Pay Equity: An Analysis of the USWNT's Soccer Settlement, Utah L. Rev. (2024)  

Even though the United States Women’s National Team (“USWNT”) has been far more successful than the United States Men’s National Team (“USMNT”), the team members have experienced unequal treatment from the United States Soccer Federation (“USSF”) since its inception. In March 2019, members of the USWNT filed suit against USSF, alleging that USSF had violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint alleged that USSF had a policy of discriminating against the USWNT due to their players’ gender by paying them less than the USMNT and providing them with lesser employment conditions than those provided to the USMNT.

A final judgment on both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII claims would never be given, as both would eventually settle outside of court. We analyze the substantive legal and economic arguments made by both parties. We show that the USSF arguments in support of gender pay disparities were misguided and calculate what proper compensation by USSF to the USWNT and USMNT would have looked like from the 2015-2019 period of dispute. Although we frame our analysis in the context of the USWNT lawsuit, our analysis has far broader implications for pay equity. We illustrate how the outside market force argument in justification of lower pay for women may often be incorrect. We illustrate how the traditional Equal Pay Act requirement that an individual must work in the same physical location as their comparator to be considered similarly situated is faulty. This investigation is particularly timely and relevant in light of the substantial rise in remote work arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 11, 2024 in Equal Employment, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 21, 2024

New Book, Social Movements and the Law--Talking About Black Lives Matter and #MeToo

Lolita Buckner Innis & Bridget Crawford, Social Movements and the Law: Talking About Black Lives Matter and #MeToo
University of California Press (forthcoming 2024)

Black Lives Matter and #MeToo are two of the most prominent social movements of the U.S. in the twenty-first century. On the ground and on social media, in reality and virtuality, more people have taken an active stance in support of either or both movements than almost any other in the country’s history. Social Movements and the Law brings together the voices of twelve scholars and public intellectuals to explore how Black Lives Matter and #MeToo unfolded—separately and together—and how they enrich, inform, and complicate each other. Structured in dialogues, this book shows—rather than tells—how people with different perspectives can engage with open minds and a generosity of spirit. Each chapter begins with an introduction from the editors and includes informative text boxes, illustrations, and discussion questions. This accessible guide to this increasingly influential area of the law centers a rich intersectional analysis of the two social movements and aids readers in further reflection and conversation. It is especially timely given the heightened public attention—both negative and positive—to the broader scholarly study of human social behavior and interaction.

The dialogue participants are Lolita Buckner Inniss, Bridget J. Crawford, Mehrsa Baradaran, Noa Ben-Asher, Bennett I. Capers, Linda S. Greene, Aya Gruber, Osamudia James, Keisha Lindsay, Ruthann Robson, Kathryn M. Stanchi, and Lua Kamál Yuille.

Included here are a short abstract, the table of contents for the book, and the editors’ introductory chapter. The book will be available for pre-order from the University of California Press in April, 2024.

March 21, 2024 in Books, Constitutional, Equal Employment, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Study Shows that Equal Pay Act and Civil Rights Act Were More Successful than Previously Believed in Addressing the Gender Gap in Pay

Martha J. Bailey, Thomas Helgerman & Bryan Stuart, How the 1963 Equal Pay Act and 1964 Civil Rights Act Shaped the Gender Gap in Pay, IZA Discussion Paper No. 16700


In the 1960s, two landmark statutes—the Equal Pay and Civil Rights Acts—targeted the long-standing practice of employment discrimination against U.S. women. For the next 15 years, the gender gap in median earnings among full-time, full-year workers changed little, leading many scholars to conclude the legislation was ineffectual. This paper revisits this conclusion using two research designs, which leverage (1) cross-state variation in pre-existing state equal pay laws and (2) variation in the 1960 gender gap across occupation-industry-state-group cells to capture differences in the legislation's incidence. Both designs suggest that federal anti-discrimination legislation led to striking gains in women's relative wages, which were concentrated among below-median wage earners. These wage gains offset pre-existing labor-market forces which worked to depress women's relative pay growth, resulting in the apparent stability of the gender gap at the median and mean in the 1960s and 1970s. The data show little evidence of short-term changes in women's employment but suggest that firms reduced their hiring and promotion of women in the medium to long term. The historical record points to the key role of the Equal Pay Act in driving these changes. 

 Quote: "Yet a closer examination of long-term trends for a broader set of wage earners hints that federal anti-discrimination legislation mattered more than previously believed.

February 29, 2024 in Equal Employment, Legislation, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reform of Sexual Harassment Laws in Australia

Belinda Smith, Respect@Work Amendments: A Positive Reframing of Australia’s Sexual Harassment Laws,  
(2023) 36 Australian Journal of Labour Law 145

Australian law on sexual harassment has seen many changes in the past few years. This article outlines and analyses these changes in light of the findings of the inquiry that recommended them, Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. The Report found that sexual harassment was pervasive, harmful and clearly not being addressed by the existing laws, which relied almost entirely on individual victims to lodge formal complaints and bear the burden of driving change. The legislative amendments serve to harmonise and improve individual protections across the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and work health and safety laws. The most significant change, though, is the introduction of a new duty on persons conducting a business or undertaking to take positive steps to prevent harassment and sex discrimination. While its deficiencies are acknowledged, this duty could play an important functional and symbolic role in shifting regulatory attention from victims to their employers and other duty holders, and more importantly, from redressing harm after the fact to preventing it in the first place.

February 29, 2024 in Equal Employment, International, Legislation, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Campus Wars, Women Leaders, and the Glass Cliff

NYT, Campus Wars Aren't About Gender--Are They?


“Four women presidents, all new in their roles, far too new to have shaped the culture on their campuses, called before Congress? Of course there’s a pattern,” Dr. Andrews said. “The question is, What’s the agenda? Is it to take down women leaders? To attack elite universities through a perceived vulnerability? To further a political purpose?”

Privately if not always publicly, other women in the academy described a similar reaction to the spectacle around the hearing on Dec. 5 and the fallout since: Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay resigned, their critics made it clear they were coming for Dr. Kornbluth, and last week, prominent male donors demanded the ouster of Cornell president Martha Pollack, too.


Are women more likely to end up in vulnerable positions? Social psychologists have proposed the idea of the “glass cliff” to describe the phenomenon of women who become leaders in times of crisis. In institutions not used to female leaders, they are seen as weaker. Subject to greater scrutiny, they tend to fail sooner.

“It’s not clear whether they’re selected because it’s a difficult time and people think women can make it better when things are bad, or if women are really set up, inadvertently or advertently,” said Madeline Heilman, an emerita professor at New York University who has conducted decades of experiments on sex bias in the workplace. Whatever the case, she said, “if they both start well and a man does poorly, people offer excuses and other reasons before they see it as indicative of what he’s like. For a woman, it fits into the stereotype of not being qualified. What is seen as a mistake for men is a lethal error for a woman.”

Decades of experiments show other ways that stereotypes disadvantage women. Men and women alike are too stingy when evaluating women and too generous when evaluating men, whether what’s being judged is their height or the strength of their C.V. Studies of millions of scientific papers find that those with women as lead author are far less likely to be cited than those led by men. Reports on the status of women on individual campuses and from national organizations  document  marginalization and persistent disrespect. Taken in isolation, such episodes can seem small, but they add up, leaving female professors earning less and taking longer to be promoted, irrespective of productivity. Fed up, many “senior” women leave.

January 31, 2024 in Education, Equal Employment, Gender | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Empirical Study of Appellate Patent Litigation Reveals Ongoing Racial and Gender Disparities of Lawyers

Paul Gugliuzza, Rachel Rebouche & Jordana Goodman, Inequality on Appeal: The Intersection of Race and Gender in Patent Litigation  

Today, roughly 40% of lawyers are women, 15% are persons of color, and 8% are women of color. Yet people of color, and women of all races, rarely climb to the most elite levels of law practice. This article, based on an original, hand-coded dataset of the gender and race of thousands of lawyers and case outcomes, provides a stark illustration of on-going racial and gender disparities, focusing on the high-stakes world of appellate patent litigation.

All appeals in patent cases nationwide are heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a court that is itself quite diverse: out of twelve active judges, five are women and four are persons of color, two of whom are women of color. But, out of 6,000-plus oral arguments presented to the Federal Circuit in patent cases from 2010 through 2019, a staggering 93% were delivered by white attorneys. Barely 2% were by Black or Hispanic/Latino attorneys. Adding in data about gender, white male attorneys alone argued 82% of patent cases during the decade we studied. Women of color, by contrast, argued fewer than 2%.

Crucially, those disparities bear no relation to attorney performance. Appellants in Federal Circuit patent cases win about a quarter of the time and appellees win about three-quarters of the time—with no correlation based on race, gender, or the intersection of the two. The one cohort of lawyers in our study that does win more frequently is a small group of lawyers at large law firms who argue Federal Circuit patent appeals more frequently than anyone else. That group of roughly 65 lawyers is, like our dataset overall, overwhelmingly white and male.

In general, our study tells a dispiriting story: despite increasing diversity among law students and lawyers, and no connection between a lawyer’s gender or race and case outcomes, a lack of diversity persists at the legal profession’s highest levels. However, we identify discrete areas of patent practice where women, people of color, and women of color are more visible—most notably, in representing the federal government (as opposed to private-sector clients) in patent appeals. Those findings provide a foundation for ideas to make the patent system, and high-level law practice generally, more diverse and inclusive.

January 18, 2024 in Courts, Equal Employment, Technology, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Frontier Airlines Settles Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Discrimination Lawsuit

Frontier Airlines Settles Pregnancy, Breastfeeding Discrimination Lawsuit

Frontier Airlines will settle a federal lawsuit filed by five pilots who accused the Denver-based airline of discriminating against them during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Through the settlement, Frontier will allow pilots to pump breastmilk in the cockpit during noncritical phases of a flight and will update or comply with existing policies that impact pregnant and lactating employees.

It is one of the first airlines to allow pilots to pump during flights, according to a Monday news release from the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Colorado, Denver-based legal nonprofit Towards Justice and the firm Holwell Shuster & Goldberg.

Settling the lawsuit filed in December 2019 “does not admit any liability” by Frontier, according to the news release.

In a statement, ACLU Center for Liberty staff attorney Aditi Fruitwala said the organization is proud to come to an agreement that will benefit pregnant and lactating workers now and in the future.

December 12, 2023 in Business, Equal Employment, Family | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 4, 2023

Afsharipour and Jennejohn on "Gender and the Social Structure of Exclusion in U.S. Corporate Law"

Afra Afsharipour and Matthew Jennejohn have published "Gender and the Social Structure of Exclusion in U.S. Corporate Law" in volume 90.7 of the University of Chicago Law Review. The article abstract is excerpted here: 

Prior qualitative research suggests that [professional] networks are an important source of information, mentoring, and opportunity, and that those social resources are often withheld from lawyers who do not mirror the characteristics of the typically male, wealthy, straight, and white incumbents in the field. We have a common nickname for the networks that result, which are ostensibly open but often closed in practice: “old boys’ networks.”

For the first time in legal scholarship, this Article quantitatively analyzes gender representation within a comprehensive network of judges and litigators over a significant period of time. The network studied is derived from cases before the Delaware Court of Chancery, a systemically important trial court that adjudicates the most—and the most important—corporate law disputes in the United States. Seventeen years of docket entries across more than fifteen thousand matters and two thousand seven hundred attorneys were collected as the basis for a massive network.

Analyzing the Chancery Litigation Network produces a number of important findings. First, we find a dramatic and persistent gender gap in the network. Women are not only outnumbered in the network but also more peripheral within it compared to men. Second, we find that law firm membership and geographical location interact with gender—women’s positions within the network differ by membership in certain firms or residence in particular geographies. Finally, as we drill down into the personal networks of individual women, we find arresting evidence of the social barriers female Chancery litigators regularly confront: from working overwhelmingly—sometimes exclusively—with men in the early years of their careers to still being shut out of male-dominated cliques as their careers mature.

The Article’s findings set the stage for subsequent research to test the connection between gender representation in litigation networks and discrete outcomes, such as the incidence of bias in judicial opinions. It also demonstrates how subsequent research can incorporate network structure into quantitative and qualitative studies of not only gender bias but also other forms of inequality in law. With respect to policy, it provides the necessary first step to crafting normative interventions that improve equitable access to social resources by making networks more empirically concrete. With that added clarity, the network approach then allows us to calibrate remedial options available to bar associations, law firms, and individual attorneys, leaving no level of the institutional setting untouched.

December 4, 2023 in Courts, Equal Employment, Judges, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 26, 2023

New Study Shows that Even With Tenure Women are More Likely to Leave Higher Ed

Chronicle, Even With Tenure, Women Are More Likely to Leave Higher Ed

Across academe, women are more likely to leave their faculty positions than men, and attrition is highest for women who have tenure or work in fields outside of science, technology, engineering, and math, according to a new study.

And even when men and women leave at the same rate, their reasons for doing so are gendered: Early-career women are more likely to leave due to issues with work-life balance, while women later in their careers are more likely to leave because of a hostile work environment. Men tend to cite professional reasons, such as a lack of resources or support.***

Women were more likely to leave their faculty roles than men at every career stage, and the gap grew wider at the top of the ladder. At the assistant-professor level, women were 6 percent more likely to leave than men. Among full professors, that figure was 19 percent.

Tenured faculty leaving at the highest rate is surprising, Raj said. But she speculated that women with tenure might be able to transition into other careers more easily than their less-experienced colleagues if the environment drives them out.

Women at less prestigious institutions were also more likely to quit.

Women most often cited issues with workplace climate as their reasons for leaving, such as harassment, dysfunctional department leadership, and feelings of not belonging. Men most often recounted professional reasons for leaving, such as difficulty obtaining funding or poor administrative support.

Previously, research has shown that one of the biggest drivers of inequity between women and men on the faculty is responsibilities at home. Additionally, Raj has observed gender gaps in sponsorship from more senior academics and in service work such as mentoring students.

Study, Science Advances, Gender and Retention Patterns Among US Faculty

Women remain underrepresented among faculty in nearly all academic fields. Using a census of 245,270 tenure-track and tenured professors at United States–based PhD-granting departments, we show that women leave academia overall at higher rates than men at every career age, in large part because of strongly gendered attrition at lower-prestige institutions, in non-STEM fields, and among tenured faculty. A large-scale survey of the same faculty indicates that the reasons faculty leave are gendered, even for institutions, fields, and career ages in which retention rates are not. Women are more likely than men to feel pushed from their jobs and less likely to feel pulled toward better opportunities, and women leave or consider leaving because of workplace climate more often than work-life balance. These results quantify the systemic nature of gendered faculty retention; contextualize its relationship with career age, institutional prestige, and field; and highlight the importance of understanding the gendered reasons for attrition rather than focusing on rates alone.

October 26, 2023 in Education, Equal Employment, Gender, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Women in Iceland Go on Strike Against Gender Inequality

NYT, Women in Iceland Go on Strike Against Gender Inequality

Tens of thousands of women and nonbinary people in Iceland were expected to join a one-day strike on Tuesday, which organizers called the country’s largest effort to protest workplace inequality in nearly five decades.

Iceland is a global leader in gender equality but still has a long way to go, said Freyja Steingrímsdóttir, a spokeswoman for the Icelandic Federation of Public Workers, the country’s largest federation of public worker unions.

“Iceland is often viewed as some sort of equality paradise,” Ms. Steingrímsdóttir, an organizer of the strike, said. “If we’re going to live up to that name, we need to move forward and really be the best we can be — and we’re not stopping until full gender equality is reached.”

Organizers urged women and nonbinary people to stop all work on Tuesday, including household errands and child care. Even Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said she would take part, telling local news media that she would not call a cabinet meeting and that she expected other women in the cabinet to strike.

October 25, 2023 in Business, Equal Employment, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Nobel Prize in Economics Awarded to Claudia Goldin for Work on the Gender Pay Gap

The Nobel Prize explains the relevance of her research:

Historically, much of the gender gap in earnings could be explained by differences in education and occupational choices. However, this year’s economic sciences laureate Claudia Goldin has shown that the bulk of this earnings difference is now between men and women in the same occupation, and that it largely arises with the birth of the first child. 


By trawling through the archives and compiling and correcting historical data, this year’s economic sciences laureate Claudia Goldin has been able to present new and often surprising facts. She has also given us a deeper understanding of the factors that affect women’s opportunities in the labour market and how much their work has been in demand. The fact that women’s choices have often been, and remain, limited by marriage and responsibility for the home and family is at the heart of her analyses and explanatory models. Goldin’s studies have also taught us that change takes time, because choices that affect entire careers are based on expectations that may later prove to be false. Her insights reach far outside the borders of the US and similar patterns have been observed in many other countries. Her research brings us a better understanding of the labour markets of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

UChicago Alum Claudia Goldin Wins Nobel Prize for Research on Gender and Labor

        Detailing Goldin's work and books.

Podcast, Claudia Goldin: Why do Women Still Make Less Than Men?, Harvard Magazine.


October 12, 2023 in Business, Equal Employment, Family, Gender, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Exploring the Pay Gap in Large Law Firms and the Role of High-Profile Litigation in Facilitating Pay Equity

Rachel S. Arnow-Richman, Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Panes of Equity Partnership, Fla. Int'l U. L. Rev. (2023 Forthcoming)

This Article, prepared for a “micro-symposium” on Professor Kerri Stone’s monograph Panes of the Glass Ceiling (2022), explores the partnership pay gap in large law firms and the role of high-profile litigation in facilitating pay equity. There is a rich literature and extensive data on the gender attainment gap in elite law practice, particularly with regard to women’s attrition from practice and poor representation within the partnership ranks. Less attention has been paid to the way in which the exceptional women who achieve equity partner status continue to lag behind their male peers. This Article explores “Women v. BigLaw,” a cluster of equal pay cases brought by women partners late 2010s against elite firms. Using Stone’s work as a lens, it reveals how the same unspoken beliefs that underlie the law firm glass ceiling operate above it, placing women partners at the bottom of a new compensation hierarchy centered on origination credit. Due to historical allocations, a culture of deference toward male rainmakers, and implicitly biased attorney development and evaluation practices, origination operates as a form of “legacy credit” that locks in preexisting entitlements favoring male partners. Despite this, gender equity in law practice has been framed principally as a professional value, not a legal imperative. Women v. BigLaw and the unprecedented use of the court system by women lawyers reveals, however, that partnership pay practices pose a liability risk to firms. This new reality may incent structural change in ways that attention to gender equity as a managerial and professional goal could not.

September 28, 2023 in Business, Equal Employment, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 21, 2023

Lawsuit Challenges U.S. Dept. of Veteran's Affairs' Policy Limiting Access to IVF

The National Organization for Women is suing the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs over its policy limiting access to in vitro fertilization to only opposite-sex and married couples. For news coverage of the lawsuit, check out 19th News here.  The complaint alleges that the existing policy requires as follows:

6. Veterans and service members seeking coverage of IVF treatments must, together with a spouse, be able to provide their own sperm and eggs and are prohibited from using gametes from third parties (“Member Gamete Requirements”). Defendants’ policy also limits the benefit to service members and veterans who are lawfully married (“Marriage Requirements”).


7. Additionally, no matter how much an active-duty service member struggles with fertility, only active-duty service members with a “serious or severe” illness or injury from service can access IVF. Similarly, only veterans with infertility diagnosed as “service-connected” can receive IVF from VHA (“Service-Connection Requirements”).


8. The IVF policies facially exclude service members who are a) single or in an unmarried couple; b) unable to use their own eggs or sperm because of illness or injury; c) in a same-sex couple or couple with the same reproductive organs; or d) lacking a service-connected disability or Category II or III illness causing infertility.


The complaint alleges that this policy is discriminatory and it seeks injunctive and declaratory relief: 

9. By excluding service members and veterans from IVF coverage on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, and/or the cause of their infertility, Defendants’ discriminatory policies violate Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, and the Administrative Procedure Act.


* * *  


11. NOW-NYC seeks injunctive and declaratory relief on behalf of itself and its members enjoining Defendants from enforcing the discriminatory eligibility provisions of their IVF policies and declaring those provisions unlawful, so that no service member or veteran is denied the care they need to start a family solely because of who they love, their choice whether or not to marry, or the precise source of their fertility challenges. Specifically, NOW-NYC asks that this court declare unlawful and permanently enjoin Defendants from enforcing the Marriage Requirements, the Member Gamete Requirements, and the Service-Connection Requirements (collectively, the “Discriminatory Provisions”).


The full complaint is available here. 


August 21, 2023 in Courts, Equal Employment, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights, Same-sex marriage, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Empirical Evidence for a New Approach to Regulating Sexual Harassment

Jennifer Ann Drobac & Mark Russell, Unmasking Sexual Harassment: The Empirical Evidence for a New Approach, 17 N.Y.U. J.L. & BUS. 315-390 (2021)

If moral outrage were enough, 50 years of antidiscrimination law and two full years of #MeToo should have led to the rapid remediation and elimination of sexual harassment by corporate decisionmakers. However, moral condemnation apparently is not enough, so this Article urges a multifaceted approach that combines (to start) research, financial analysis, disclosure, preventative cultural change, and remediation (if still needed). Through disclosure, it suggests a tactic that combines the goals of social entrepreneurship and profit maximization. Estimates suggest that sexual harassment costs U.S. business millions, if not billions, annually. However, most stock exchange-listed companies avoid financial disclosure or other reporting of sexual harassment claims. The onus for the invocation of Title VII and other antidiscrimination protections falls upon the victims and targets of abuse. Our research and empirical evidence demonstrate that corporations need to make changes to improve the proverbial bottom line. The disclosures that companies do make lack useful information for users of financial reports. Further, a high number of perpetrators of corporate sexual harassment are those with power—key executives and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Further, a number of non-disclosures of sexual harassment indicate poor management and culture at companies. Our results are consistent with companies that use arbitration and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to conceal sexual harassment. Our research supports a new SEC reporting requirement for all publicly traded companies (and a best practices approach for all organizations). Arguably, corporations would save much more by getting ahead of sexual harassment cases, disclosing problems, and avoiding expensive Title VII and shareholder derivative lawsuits. The evidence and common sense call for additional prophylactic action.

August 15, 2023 in Equal Employment, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Women's Weak Language is a Source of Strength

Adam Grant, Op Ed, NYT, Women Know Exactly What They're Doing When They Use "Weak Language."

“Stop using weak language.” If you’re a woman, you’ve probably gotten this advice from a mentor, a coach or a teacher. If you want to be heard, use more forceful language. If you want a raise or a promotion, demand it. As the saying goes, nice girls don’t get the corner office.

This advice may be well intentioned, but it’s misguided. Disclaimers (I might be wrong, but …), hedges (maybe, sort of), and tag questions (don’t you think?) can be a strategic advantage. So-called weak language is an unappreciated source of strength. Understanding why can explain a lot about the way women acquire power and influence — and how men do, too.

It turns out that women who use weak language when they ask for raises are more likely to get them. In one experiment, experienced managers watched videos of people negotiating for higher pay and weighed in on whether the request should be granted. The participants were more willing to support a salary bump for women — and said they would be more eager to work with them — if the request sounded tentative: “I don’t know how typical it is for people at my level to negotiate,” they said, following a script, “but I’m hopeful you’ll see my skill at negotiating as something important that I bring to the job.” By using a disclaimer (“I don’t know …”) and a hedge “(I hope …”), the women reinforced the supervisor’s authority and avoided the impression of arrogance. For the men who asked for a raise, however, weak language neither helped nor hurt. No one was fazed if they just came out and demanded more money.

In 29 studies, women in a variety of situations had a tendency to use more “tentative language” than men. But that language doesn’t reflect a lack of assertiveness or conviction. Rather, it’s a way to convey interpersonal sensitivity — interest in other people’s perspectives — and that’s why it’s powerful.***

New evidence reveals that it’s not ambition per se that women are being penalized for. In fact, women who are perceived as intelligent and capable, determined and achievement-oriented, independent and self-reliant are seen as more promotable to leadership positions.

The problem arises if people perceive them to be forceful, controlling, commanding and outspoken. These are qualities for which men are regularly given a pass, but they put women at risk of being disliked and denied for leadership roles

August 2, 2023 in Equal Employment, Gender, Pop Culture, Work/life | Permalink | Comments (0)