Bill takes aim at forced arbitration of sexual harassment complaints

December 08, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Arbitration, long a favored method of handling workplace disputes, would be removed as an option in sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases if a new bill introduced in Congress becomes law.

Often, employment contracts contain arbitration clauses that require disputes to be settled through arbitration instead of litigation. Also, complaint settlements frequently include nondisclosure agreements that keep claims out of the public eye. The new bill, called the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act, is intended to keep harassers from settling claims in secret and then continuing to harass.

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California getting tough law on gender wage gap

October 07, 2015 0 COMMENTS

Employers in California will have to comply with what’s being called the strongest equal pay law in the nation when it takes effect on January 1, 2016.

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., signed the California Fair Pay Act, Senate Bill 358, on October 6. A statement from the governor’s office says current law prohibits employers from paying a woman less than a man when they both perform equal work at the same establishment, but the new law will require equal pay regardless of gender for “substantially similar work.” The new law also will prohibit retaliation against employees who invoke the law and will protect employees who discuss wages.

The new law differs from current law in two key ways, according to Mark I. Schickman, an attorney with Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP in San Francisco. First, it requires employers to understand not only what the “same job” is but also what “comparable jobs” are. “That’s very different,” Schickman said. Plus, the law doesn’t provide employers guidance on how to figure that out. The second key difference is that the new law puts the burden of proof on the employer to justify differences in wages.

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Louisiana’s scaled-down pay law goes into effect August 1

July 15, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by David Theard

Louisiana’s Equal Pay for Women Act (EPWA), which applies only to public-sector employers, goes into effect August 1. The new law affirms that paying unequal wages to public employees on the basis of sex is discriminatory and violates public policy.

The original bill would have covered both public- and private-sector employees, but it was amended to cover only employees who work for a department, office, division, agency, commission, board, committee, or other organizational unit of the state.

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Supreme Court OK’s Third-Party Retaliation Lawsuit

January 25, 2011 0 COMMENTS

Yesterday, in Thompson v. North American Stainlessi LP, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an employee-friendly ruling in a third-party (or associational) retaliation case. The Court unanimously held that a man who was fired after his fiancée filed a gender discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) could sue for retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In Thompson, Eric Thompson worked at North American Stainless, LP (NAS) with his then-fiancée, Miriam Regalado, who filed a gender discrimination charge with the EEOC. A few weeks after the EEOC informed NAS of Regalado’s charge, the company terminated Thompson’s employment. Thompson sued NAS, claiming it retaliated against him for his fiancée’s protected activity. The trial court ruled in favor of NAS, and the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, holding that Thompson couldn’t sue under Title VII because he didn’t engage in protected activity.

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