Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Our Resources

Recently Introduced and Enacted State and Local Fair Scheduling Legislation

Employees increasingly face just-in-time scheduling practices, including being given very little notice of their work schedules, being sent home early when work is slow without being paid for their scheduled shifts, and being assigned to call-in shifts or on-call shifts that require them to call their employer or wait to be called by their employer, often within two hours of their potential shift, to find out whether they will be required to report to work. In addition, many employees have very little ability to make adjustments to their work schedules without penalty. More than a third of parents say they have been “passed over” for a promotion, a raise, or a new job due to a need for a flexible work schedule. Among low-wage workers, about half report having little flexibility in the hours that they work.

There is a growing movement to improve workplace scheduling practices so that workers and their families can better plan their lives. In the past year, lawmakers have introduced legislation at the federal, state and local level to respond to these difficult scheduling practices. In 2014, San Francisco passed a Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights. The Ordinance provides scheduling protections for employees in certain types of jobs. Also in 2014, Michigan introduced a bill modeled after the federal scheduling legislation that was introduced earlier that same year, the Schedules That Work Act. And in 2015, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon introduced bills to curb difficult scheduling practices. This fact sheet provides an overview of this recently enacted and proposed state and local legislation.

School Reform and Dropout Prevention: Addressing Disparities in Discipline for African American Girls

African American Girls Experience Harsher, More Frequent School Discipline. Black girls are suspended and expelled from school at higher rates than other girls. In the 2011-12 school year, 12% of all African American girls in grades pre-K–12 were suspended from school—six times the rate of white girls and higher than the rate for any other group of girls, and white, Latino, and Asian American boys.

Schools suspend African American girls more often than they suspend white girls for minor offenses like dress code violations, or subjective offenses like “defiance” or “disobedience.” For example, an Ohio study showed that for behavior labeled as “disobedient or disruptive,” 16.3% of African American girls received out-of-school suspensions and 10% received in-school suspensions. In comparison, the rates for white girls were just 1.5% and 1.9%, respectively, even though Black girls are only a small fraction of Ohio’s student population. For the same offenses, Black girls more often received out-of-school suspension and white girls got in-school suspension. African American girls also are more likely than white girls to be suspended from school for fighting.

Because of such severe and frequent discipline, African American girls spend more time out of the classroom, which contributes to poor academic performance, increased dropout rates, and higher representation in the juvenile justice system. In 2009-10 African American girls represented less than 17% of all female students, but 31% of girls referred to law enforcement by schools and 43% of girls who experienced a school-related arrest. And despite an overall drop in juvenile delinquency cases from 1996 to 2011, girls’ share of delinquency cases increased; among females, the share of cases that involved Black girls went up while white girls’ share declined.

Gender and race stereotypes underlie disparate discipline rates of African American girls, while the impact of trauma is overlooked. Stereotypes of Black women as “hyper-sexualized” and aggressive may contribute to the implicit bias underlying many educators’ views of African American girls, who are more likely than white girls to be penalized for behaviors that challenge our society’s expectations of what is appropriate “feminine” behavior. For example, Black girls who complain about sexual harassment may be labeled as aggressors. Black girls who are assertive and speak up in class may be labeled as “loud” or showing “attitude.” Behavior that is labeled as “defiant” may in fact be a predictable response to unaddressed trauma or mental health issues. Punishing girls for such behavior instead of providing them with services and support fails to change the behavior or improve their engagement in school.

How Policymakers Can Stop the Unfair Discipline of African American Girls

  • Require accurate annual public reporting of school discipline data that can be analyzed by race, sex, disability, type of offense, and length of sanction.
  • Implement positive behavior interventions and culturally-responsive supports, social and emotional learning, peer mediation, conflict resolution, and restorative justice practices as alternatives to punitive discipline practices and police in schools, which are shown to negatively impact African American girls through increased arrests, involvement with the juvenile justice system, and lost learning time.
  • Train school personnel to recognize the signs of trauma that may underlie behaviors perceived as “defiant” or “disrespectful” and to support students impacted by violence or trauma without re-victimizing them.

The Wage Gap Over Time for Asian American Women

More than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed the wage gap still persists. Women who work full time, year round in the United States are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. The wage gap is a penny better for Asian American women—among full-time, year-round workers; Asian American women typically make 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. But in the last five decades, how much progress have Asian American women really made?

In 1988, the earliest year for which data are available, an Asian American woman working full time, year round typically made only 69 cents for every dollar paid to get white, non-Hispanic male counterpart. By 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, this figure stood at 79 cents—just over 10 cents less than it was a quarter of a century ago.

Reports & Toolkits

May 20, 2015
This report goes in-depth into coverage of the ACA’s breastfeeding benefits and found that women face widespread barriers to getting coverage of breastfeeding support and supplies. The report supplemented its review of plan documents with stories of real women gathered through NWLC’s CoverHer hotline, which helps women who hare having trouble getting coverage for breastfeeding benefits as required by law.
May 12, 2015
Recognizing that when women succeed, their families and the economy prosper, some legislative leaders are taking action to create opportunities for women in the workplace. The National Women’s Law Center applauds these efforts because investment in women’s economic security is vital for women and their families.

Fact Sheets

May 22, 2015

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) would promote women's health, economic security, and nondiscriminatory treatment on the job by ensuring reasonable accommodation for workers who need changes in job rules or duties because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical conditions.  This fact sheet explores how these accommodations are similar to those offered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and how we can apply its guidance to the implementation of PWFA.

May 22, 2015

This fact sheet explores why accommodating pregant employees can benefit an employer's bottom line.

Legal Briefs & Testimony

May 19, 2015

The Center is filing friend of the court briefs in lawsuits challenging the federal contraceptive coverage benefit, brought by employers who want to deny their employees this important benefit.  These cases involve suits brought under the First Amendment to the US Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  These cases will decide whether a boss’s religious beliefs trump women’s health and women’s access to the health care they need.

April 28, 2015

The National Women’s Law Center testified before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulartory Affairs in support of adequate funding to implement the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act ensures that pregnant workers in the District of Columbia may no longer be forced to choose between their health and their jobs. But without sufficient funding for public education, outreach and enforcement, the law cannot fulfill its promise of ensuring that women can continue working safely during pregnancy.

Coalition Action Materials

April 22, 2015

Thirty-eight leading groups in the movements for LGBT equality, reproductive freedom, and freedom of religion and belief stand united in opposition to congressional interference with D.C. laws that protect D.C. employees and students from discrimination at work and at school.

Webinars & Presentations

Below are resources related to past NWLC webinars, conference calls and other presentations. Please see our list of upcoming calls & webinars.


May 06, 2015

In this webinar, experts discuss workers’ need for predictability and control over their schedules, the impact that scheduling problems have on families, and state policy solutions for the problem of difficult scheduling practices in low-wage jobs

April 29, 2015

Register today for a series of webinars to learn more about the state of women’s coverage under the Affordable Care Act, health plan violations taking place, and how advocates are taking steps to make sure women have the coverage the law requires.