We have learned a lot in the few short days since Gretchen Carlson, former for News anchor, filed her lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation against for CEO Roger Ailes. While the allegations underlying the lawsuit may not be particularly surprising to anyone who knew anything about Ailes or the culture of for News, the fact that a lawsuit was filed, and the way it was filed, demonstrates remarkable legal ingenuity and personal bra very. The Carlson lawsuit underscores just how high the chips are stacked against women coming forward to report harassment and discrimination, but also may give us a roadmap to even those odds.
Challenges for women working in tech are very real. Though the pay gap may be less in the tech industry than other sectors (the New York Times reported that women in tech earn 89 cents for every dollar earned by men - as compared with the American average of 79 cents on the dollar), women in tech are by no means better off.
In a move fitting of her determined "House of Cards" character, actress Robin Wright demanded that she be paid the same salary as her co-star Kevin Spacey - or else she would go public with news of the disparity. Ms. Wright revealed the details of her ultimatum during a Rockefeller foundation event on Tuesday, later reported by the Huffington Post.
Major shifts in gender equality jurisprudence in recent years have led to expanded rights and benefits for LGBTQ employees. The Section devoted two panels at the Section Conference to the rapidly developing areas of anti-discrimination law, employee benefits, and sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. The scope of civil rights protections for LGBTQ employees under Title VII generated the most discussion in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and the EEOC's decision in Baldwin v. forx (EEOC 2015). In Obergefell, the Court held that the 14th Amendment guarantees all couples, straight or gay, the fundamental right to marry under a due process analysis, although Justice Kennedy noted that the ruling derived in part from the Equal Protection clause.
Outten & Golden LLP associate Nina Frank discusses the ways women are blamed and marginalized at work for everything from the way they talk to the way they dress. Ms. Frank suggests that women are harassed, ignored, and underpaid not because of any action or omission on their part, but as a result of a sexist system that touts its progress but has not initiated much meaningful change. For the full text of the article, click here.
On April 1st, the EEOC issued a groundbreaking ruling that found that the Army discriminated against a transgender civilian employee by denying her access to the women's restroom and created a hostile work environment by allowing a supervisor to intentionally misuse her former name and male pronouns.
You do not have to be a die-hard football fan to have heard about the latest bullying scandal at the N.F.L. Richie Incognito, the left guard for the Miami Dolphins, has been suspended indefinitely for bullying and hazing his teammate, Jonathan Martin, the left tackle. Hazing and locker room pranks are common in the N.F.L., but Incognito's conduct had apparently crossed a line which caused the N.F.L. to step in and investigate the matter.
Pregnant women and new mothers may soon enjoy greater protections against workplace discrimination in New York City. On September 24, 2013, the City Council amended the New York City Human Rights Law, already one of the most expansive anti-discrimination laws in the country, to protect women against pregnancy-related employment discrimination.
Plaintiff, a female employee, brought a sexual harassment and retaliation claim under the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Adm. Code §8-101 et seq. ("NYCHRL"), against her employer, claiming that her supervisor ran the office like a "boys' club" and subjected her to sexually suggestive comments including propositioning her for sex. The Second Circuit, in a 39-page opinion, reversed the lower court's dismissal of Plaintiff's claims and remanded for trial, holding that Plaintiff's claims should be "broadly construed" under the NYCHRL's protections which are intended to go above and beyond the floor provided by federal law.