THE EEOC WARNS EMPLOYERS: STEREOTYPING FEMALE EMPLOYEES CONSTITUTES GENDER DISCRIMINATION

Posted by on May 8, 2009 in Gender Discrimination, Pregnancy Discrimination

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
In the past year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) experienced a record number of pregnancy discrimination filings. Women with child bearing responsibilities have typically reported experiencing discrimination when they informed their employers that they were pregnant. The EEOC has also received a surge in claims from women who have experienced discrimination simply because they are mothers. Women report they are not being considered by prospective employers and not being awarded promotions because they have children. This type of discrimination has nothing to do with any perceived notion of a pregnant woman’s ability to work. Rather, women are being discriminated against based on stereotyped sex roles. Women are responsible for family care giving and therefore, are often seen as incapable of performing at the same level as their male peers in the workplace.

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Pregnancy Discrimination Act Forbids Firing an Employee Because She Had an Abortion

Posted by on Feb 5, 2009 in Gender Discrimination, Pregnancy Discrimination

By Tiffanie Benfer
In 2008, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case of first impression, considered whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) recognizes a claim for discrimination based on having an abortion. The Court concluded in Doe v. CARS Protection Plus Inc. that the PDA prohibits employers from discriminating against women who have had an abortion. http://law.lexisnexis.com/practiceareas/Featured-Content/Labor–Employment/Free-Download-Mealeys-Litigation-Report-Employment-Law

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EEOC Backlog Swells. What Does This Mean for Your Case In the EEOC?

Posted by on Feb 4, 2009 in Age Discrimination, Caregiver Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, National Origin Discrimination, Pregnancy Discrimination, Racial Discrimination, Religion Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
It isn’t a newsflash to those of us who regularly deal with the EEOC: the federal agency charged with protecting Americans from discrimination is overworked, with a tremendous backlog of cases. The Washington Post reported Monday that because of increased claims and decrease in staff, the case backlog is now at 73,951 – up 35 % from a backlog of 54,970 a year ago.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/02/AR2009020202452.html
This means that more and more cases are languishing in the EEOC. That’s a problem when it comes to getting to the truth behind a claim, because witnesses move away or forget what happened. In this climate, it is essential for both employees and employers to obtain independent legal counsel to move a case along, to secure witness statements, to conduct investigations, and — most importantly — to frame the issues for an overworked investigator.

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Obama Signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into Law

Posted by on Jan 30, 2009 in Gender Discrimination, People In the News, Supreme Court

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act yesterday. I’ve written about this legislation before, and won’t repeat it today, except to say that this is a sign that the current Congress is willing to take action to protect employees’ rights, and a sign that Congress is willing to overrule the Supreme Court when it will not fully implement Congressional intent.
Here is an excerpt from President Obama’s remarks:
“Equal pay is by no means just a women’s issue — it’s a family issue. It’s about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition and child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on; households where one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves; that’s the difference between affording the mortgage — or not; between keeping the heat on, or paying the doctor bills — or not. And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month’s paycheck to simple and plain discrimination.
“So signing this bill today is to send a clear message: that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody; that there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces; and that it’s not just unfair and illegal, it’s bad for business to pay somebody less because of their gender or their age or their race or their ethnicity, religion or disability; and that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory, or footnote in a casebook. It’s about how our laws affect the daily lives and the daily realities of people: their ability to make a living and care for their families and achieve their goals.
“Ultimately, equal pay isn’t just an economic issue for millions of Americans and their families, it’s a question of who we are — and whether we’re truly living up to our fundamental ideals; whether we’ll do our part, as generations before us, to ensure those words put on paper some 200 years ago really mean something — to breathe new life into them with a more enlightened understanding that is appropriate for our time.”
— Pres. Barack H. Obama, in remarks at signing ceremony for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Jan. 29, 2009

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The Supreme Court Recognizes a Broad Interpretation of the Anti-retaliation Provision of Title VII

Posted by on Jan 26, 2009 in Gender Discrimination, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment, Supreme Court

By Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
Just this morning, the Court issued a decision that sets forth a broad interpretation of the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII, and concluded it applies to employees participating in an internal investigation of Title VII violations. The decision in Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville will make it easier for employees to bring retaliation claims. It serves as a caution to employers, who should be aware that they may be liable for retaliation even if a court finds that there is no merit to the underlying discrimination claim.

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Senate Passes Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act!

Posted by on Jan 23, 2009 in Gender Discrimination

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
Late yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by a vote of 61 to 36. I’ve written about this legislation several times. This bill reverses the Supreme Court decision in Goodyear v. Ledbetter, which strictly limited the timeframe for employees to file a claim for pay discrimination. Under the Supreme Court decision those claims would be barred by the narrow statute of limitations in Title VII.
It looks as if this will be the first bill signed into by President Obama.
Here’s a link to a news story about the vote.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=awK1FNtOsAVI&refer=us

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