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April 2017 Archives

Fair Play Pay: Compensating College Athletes

It is not news that college athletics are big business. March Madness holds the entire country's rapt attention each year, and the revenues it generates for the NCAA are significant. The broadcast rights are worth more than $1 billion annually as of 2016. And, while the NCAA has indicated that 90% of that money goes to the benefit of the athletes, that may not truly be the case. March Madness is over, but many question whether the NCAA promulgates another form of madness, its amateurism rules that forbid compensation of college athletes.

Jared and Kay Jewelers: When 'Male Camaraderie' Morphs into Toxic Corporate Culture

Sterling Jewelers, Inc., the parent company of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers, is facing explosive allegations - and a national class action lawsuit - alleging its "boys club" culture discriminated against women and encouraged sexual harassment. Hundreds of women have joined the lawsuit.

A Hard-Won Victory: Seventh Circuit Finds Civil Rights Act Protects LGBTQ Workers

Those of us in the LGBTQ community will never forget June 26, 2015, the day that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Obergefell represented acceptance of the notion that we and our relationships deserve, as Justice Kennedy stated, "equal dignity in the eyes of the law."

Uber and Fox News: When Management Willfully Ignores Harassment Complaints

Even just a passing glance at news headlines over the last few months reveals a troubling pattern: companies turning a blind eye when men who are important to the bottom line are accused of sexual harassment.

Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, No. 15-1720 (7th Cir. Apr. 4, 2017) (en banc)

This decision was an instant sensation in the news and social media: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 held to protect employees from discrimination because of sexual orientation (and, presumably, gender identity as well). Digging into the majority and separate opinions, we can trace different possible outcomes when this question inevitably reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Gender Pay Gap Isn't Closing As Fast As You Might Think

Despite the more than 50 years that have passed since the enactment of the federal Equal Pay Act, based on the current rate of change it will take until 2152 - another 135 years - for the pay gap between men and women to be eradicated in the United States. It's a sobering fact to consider on this Equal Pay Day 2017, especially in light of the new Gender Pay Gap Reporting legislation that takes effect later this week in the United Kingdom.

Dindinger v. Allsteel, Inc., No. 16-1305 (8th Cir. Apr. 3, 2017)

Three plaintiffs successfully defend a jury verdict totaling $204,000 in a Title VII, Equal Pay Act and Iowa Civil Rights Act case, plus $269,877.67 in attorney's fees. The court casts doubt on the use of a "market forces" defense by employers to justify lower pay for women, yet also holds that if such a defense were valid, the employer presented insufficient evidence to warrant an instruction.

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