Articles Posted in Sexual Discrimination

A recent Temple University finds that pay disparities between women partners and male partners at law firms are not based upon lower productivity, as traditionally believed. In fact, according to the researchers women partners are as productive as their male counterparts. Consequently, the researchers concluded that female partners may earn less, despite their productivity, because of intentional sexual discrimination. The report is entitled, Gender Gap in Law Firm Partner Compensation.

Today, Governor David Patterson signed into law, the New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which reflects the first sweeping domestic workers’ rights legislation in the nation.
Among other things, the New York law provides for overtime pay to domestic workers, and protection against workplace discrimination and harassment based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, marital status and domestic victim status. The legislation specifically addresses sexual harassment, which is cited as a major problem for domestic workers in New York.

On May 19, 2010, after nearly a six week trial, a New York jury awarded a record $250 million in punitive damages, the largest of its kind in a sexual discrimination case, to a class of female sales employees in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Last week, the parties reached a settlement agreement of the plaintiffs’ sexual discrimination claims in the sum of $152 million.

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On January 6, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released data concerning charges of discrimination filed with the agency in FY2009. The EEOC resolved a record number of charges alleging harassment and violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. FY2009 saw the second highest number of charge filings nationwide, 93,277 –just about 2,000 filings less than the record high set for FY2008.

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A sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) against Duane Reade Inc., was recently settled for $240,000 and other relief. The lawsuit had alleged that Duane Reade, which operates over 200 drugstores in New York, had unlawfully created and failed to correct a sexually hostile work environment at one of its stores located in Bronx, New York.

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Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, holding that an employer did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) through a seniority system for pension and other employee benefits that credited an employee with service while out on disability leave, but only provided partial credits to employees who had taken pregnancy leave.

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Last week, a lawsuit was filed in New York State Supreme Court alleging sexual harassment against Southern Hospitality, a New York City restaurant, and its owners, one of whom is Justin Timberlake. The lawsuit was brought by Alison McDaniel, a former restaurant manager, who accuses two of Timberlake’s owners of discriminatory conduct.

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President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on January 29, 2009. It was the first bill signed into law by the new President. As discussed in earlier blogs, the new law amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 “to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, and for other purposes.”

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