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Mach Mining v. EEOC: When Can an Employer Point Fingers to Avoid Defending Against a Discrimination Charge?

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: January 13, 2015 at 02:29 pm

Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Mach Mining v. EEOC, a story about a woman who applied for a position as a miner with Mach Mining and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after she was denied the job. The EEOC investigated the company, and sued Mach Mining for systemic hiring discrimination against women on the basis that they have never hired a female miner. And yet the story being told at the Supreme Court today is not the one you think. It’s not about sex discrimination, it’s not about the company’s practices, it’s not about the fact that the share of women in the mining industry has remained shockingly low— less than one half of one percent—for decades, due in large part to the discrimination that blocks women from entering and staying in the field. Instead, the story is about whether the EEOC did enough to conciliate with Mach Mining before suing the company for sex discrimination, and whether that question is even reviewable by the courts. Conciliation is the process by which the EEOC must first attempt an informal resolution with the employer before filing a lawsuit in federal court.

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2014 Jobs in Review: A Year of Growth Still Disproportionately Low-Wage

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: January 09, 2015 at 01:56 pm

Today’s BLS jobs report gives us the opportunity to take a look back at 2014 and see how the labor force is faring. Our analysis shows that women and men both benefited from a year of strong job growth and declining unemployment rates.  Women gained 44 percent of all jobs added in 2014, and the unemployment rate for adult women is the lowest it’s been in more than six years. In fact, unemployment rates declined across the board in 2014:

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Starve American Workers Act Is More Like It

Posted by Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women | Posted on: January 09, 2015 at 10:25 am

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed H.R. 30, a bill to chip away at the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide health coverage for employees who work at least 30 hours a week, amending it so that employers would only be required to provide health insurance coverage to those who work 40 hours per week.

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And So It Begins — A New Congress Reigniting An Old Fight

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: January 08, 2015 at 03:44 pm

Tuesday, as members of Congress were getting sworn in to start the new session, some members were also reintroducing blatantly unconstitutional legislation that would impose a nationwide ban on abortions for women seeking abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy.

Such a bill is glaringly unconstitutional because it: 1) it bans abortions pre-viability; 2) it does so with an inadequate life exception (apparently the drafters do not think suicide is life-threatening); and 3) it completely lacks a health exception.

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Resolution of Title IX Complaint Against Harvard Law School Will Help Schools Understand How to Properly Address Harassment

Posted by Neena Chaudhry, Senior Counsel and Director of Equal Opportunities in Athletics | Posted on: January 08, 2015 at 10:19 am

As 2014 drew to a close, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued its resolution of a complaint against Harvard Law School (HLS) for failing to properly address sexual harassment and assault. The resolution is comprehensive and reflects OCR’s work to vigorously enforce Title IX in our nation’s schools.

Specifically, OCR found that HLS failed to respond appropriately to two specific complaints of sexual assault, noting significant delays between the filing of one complaint and its resolution and the exclusion of the complainant from an appeal that resulted in a reversal of the decision to dismiss the alleged assailant. It also found that the law school failed to train all decision makers to meet the requirements of Title IX and that its Title IX policies and procedures did not comply with Title IX’s requirements for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints.

Among other things, the resolution agreement that Harvard entered into with OCR requires the following:

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Save American Workers from H.R. 30

Posted by Dania Palanker, Senior Counsel | Posted on: January 07, 2015 at 05:05 pm

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 30, a bill that would change the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time work so that employers only have to offer health insurance to employees who regularly work 40 or more hours a week. Without this change, employers must offer coverage to employees who regularly work 30 or more hours a week.

These are four reasons H.R. 30 is bad for American women, American workers and American families.

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Minimum Wage Rates Go Up In 20 States to start 2015, Increasing Wages for More than 3.1 Million Workers

The minimum wage went up in 20 states on January 1st. South Dakota had the largest boost of $1.25 per hour thanks to South Dakota voters, who overwhelmingly approved the wage increase on the state’s ballot in November. Arkansas and Nebraska also saw their minimum wages increase on the 1st as a result of successful ballot initiatives, while workers in Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia got raises due to legislative action. Minimum wages in the other nine states—Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington—increased automatically because they are indexed to inflation, a policy that ensures the minimum wage keeps pace with the rising cost of living. Workers in Alaska, D.C., Delaware and Minnesota are set to get raises later in 2015.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Truly Appalling: What Happened to Reproductive Rights in 2014

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: December 31, 2014 at 11:54 am

As we all know, opponents of women’s access to birth control and abortion were out in full force this past year. They have used a host of tactics to try and limit women's access to essential health care, including imposing medically unnecessary regulations on abortion clinics and providers supposedly in the name of "women's health," proclaiming the religious freedom of corporations, and invoking junk science about fetal pain. The truth is all of these attempts are simply stepping stones towards their ultimate goal of eliminating women's ability to access comprehensive reproductive care. So, what did all of this mean for women in 2014? A look at some of the highlights, and lowlights, of the past year.

This past year state politicians continued to pass laws aimed at restricting access to abortion. These laws did everything from requiring women to unnecessarily delay abortion care, to making it more difficult for women to receive non-surgical abortions, to taking away women’s ability to buy a health insurance plans that covers abortion. State politicians also continued to pass laws intended to shut down abortion providers, following the trend of the last few years that is starting to leave a woman’s ability to access abortion dependent on her zip code. This all played out this year in Texas, as thousands of women effectively lost access to safe, legal abortion when clinics were forced to close their doors due to the anti-abortion law passed in 2013.

Unfortunately, attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care were not limited to the realm of state legislatures. The Supreme Court struck a blow for women’s health when it decided the now infamous Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

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