Task & Purpose

‘Continuum Of Harm’: The Military Has Been Fighting Sexual Assault In Its Ranks For Decades, But Women Say It’s Still Happening

As the military faces scrutiny over sexual assault in its ranks, less attention has been focused on the wide array of behaviors that reinforce a culture in which assault is allowed to occur. The Department of Defense has identified a number of factors that contribute to a “continuum of harm” in which a profusion of seemingly lesser offenses such as sexist jokes and bullying create an environment in which assault not only takes place but is tolerated. These include high levels of workplace hostility, the underrepresentation of females in the workplace, and “an unhealthy enlisted and officer climate with respect to sexual assault.”
New Republic

How Religious Health Care Hurts Women of Color

According to new research by the Columbia Law School Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, women of color are even more likely to be treated at Catholic hospitals where religious doctrines dictate medical practices. It’s not news that women of color—and black women in particular—face greater barriers to health care across a wide range of services. This so-called health care gap stems from a number of factors, including economic inequality and structural discrimination, which often work in tandem. The impact of Catholic ethics restrictions on women of color should be examined alongside these trends.
The Nation

How to End the Silence Around Sexual-Harassment Settlements

When the news of Harvey Weinstein’s serial sexual predation broke in early October, part of what was so shocking was that many of the women harassed by Weinstein had privately come forward with their claims, only to be paid off by his company in exchange for their silence. To address the harms that confidentiality requirements impose, lawmakers in a handful of states have floated bills to bar nondisclosure provisions in employment contracts and in settlements relating to claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. But some advocates warn that barring confidentiality provisions may hurt victims in the process.
Bloomberg Law

#MeToo Movement Brings Busy Times for Labor Lawyers

What began in October with reports about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged serial sexual predation has sparked a viral engagement with the #metoo social media movement, a national conversation about sexual misconduct, and a wave of high-profile workplace sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, media and politics that shows no sign of letting up. On Monday, Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski announced via his lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart that he will retire immediately following allegations of sexual misconduct from more than a dozen women. The cultural phenomenon has created work for lawyers, from creating new internal policies at corporations, to advising them on upcoming legislation that could fundamentally change how sexual harassment allegations are settled.
Bloomberg Law

The Career Coaches Helping Women Leave Big Law

Elena Deutsch spent seven years as a career coach and leadership consultant hired by law firms to advise rising associates. During that time, most of the associates she coached one-on-one were women.“When I would ask them about their partnership goals, whether they wanted to make partner, many would look over their shoulders, and kind of lean in and ask if they could really talk to me about this,” Deutsch said. “And when I assured them of confidentiality, they would share that they weren’t sure.”
Bloomberg Law

Why Women Leave Big Law To Start Their Own Firms

Peggy McCausland was tired of her firm’s networking events.The potential clientele she wanted to woo — business women — weren’t showing up, she said. So McCausland conceived her own networking event that would draw them — golf lessons, catered meals and shop talk — and asked for the necessary marketing funds. She was a partner at the firm, Blank Rome, after all. “The response I got from [a senior partner] was, ‘Where are you going to find a golf course that’s gonna let a bunch of amateur women come hack it to bits?’” McCausland recalled ten years later.
Bloomberg Law

Mistaken For The Court Reporter: Litigating As A Woman

Ask a woman in litigation if she’s ever been mistaken for a court reporter, and there’s a good chance she’ll say yes. Teri Drew, who specializes in the defense of commercial liability claims, said it happened to her just a few months ago. “I went to a plaintiffs’ firm for a deposition, and the receptionist said, ‘OK you’re going to be in the conference room. You can go in because I know you need to set up.’” Drew recounted to Big Law Business.
Bloomberg Law

Chadbourne Defense Illustrates Difficulties In Gender Bias Suits

As Chadbourne & Parke fights a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by three women in Manhattan federal court, part of its defense strategy is taking shape and shining a light on the challenges the plaintiffs face. Current case law does not easily allow for claims of structural discrimination, in which the structure and dynamics of a workplace work to exclude non-dominant groups, according to Columbia Law professor Suzanne Goldberg.
New Republic

The Rise of “Zombie Religious Hospitals”

In 2009, Mindy Swank was 20 weeks into a difficult pregnancy when her water broke. Her doctors said the baby, already suffering from severe anomalies, would not survive, and they recommended she terminate the pregnancy immediately to avoid the risk of infection. Yet for nearly two months, Swank’s hospital in Silvis, Illinois, refused to perform the procedure. It wasn’t until Swank woke up one morning bleeding profusely that the hospital finally agreed to induce labor.

The Double Standard of Military Pregnancy: What Contraceptive Access Won't Fix

Despite theoretically having access to a wide variety of contraceptive options, women in the military still report higher rates of unplanned pregnancy than their civilian peers, and it remains somewhat of a mystery exactly why. What is clear is that the unique military gender politics that make it hard for some women to ask for birth control also stigmatize them if they get pregnant—especially when that happens at an overseas post or on a deployment. Any effort to increase birth control availability, including Allergan’s, can only be understood against that particular cultural backdrop.
Religion Dispatches

Will SB 1146 End LGBT Discrimination in California's Religious Schools?

Under the current wording of the law, universities might not be able to explicitly say “gay students may not live with each other” because such a rule would affect only gay students and “gay” is an identity that falls under protection. But they could say something like “no student may participate in a same-sex relationship,” as this rule would apply to all students on campus. They could also use the property protection clause to deny trans students housing or prevent LGBT groups from meeting on campus, according to the ACLU.
Religion Dispatches

NC's "Bathroom Bill" Shows Problem With "Religious Freedom" Label

When we use the term “religious freedom” to reflexively describe any laws that allow for LGBT discrimination, we lose some nuance. It’s true that HB2 is supported by many of the same people who’ve campaigned for the recent wave of discriminatory religious freedom laws, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a religious freedom law. Calling it an anti-anti-discrimination law might be more accurate (if slightly less elegant).
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