This month, Merck was hit with a $100 million sex discrimination suit alleging that the company engaged in systemic gender bias, reports Fortune. “The complaint could be used in a law school as a way to teach virtually every gender-based claim that could possibly be brought against an employer.
“The case includes many allegations of discrimination against female and pregnant employees, and staffers who chose to take family-medical leave. The suit also claims that Merck engaged in discriminatory promotional and payroll practices. And the case also includes less tangible “Boys’ Club” allegations, which have become increasingly common in gender bias cases.
“In particular, the complaint against Merck alleges that “male junior employees have opportunities to socialize with male senior management to the exclusion of women. Female employees are excluded from these events, and thus excluded from opportunities to develop relationships with senior management that provide opportunities for advancement within Merck due to the company’s ‘tap-on-the shoulder’ promotion policies …”
“But Merck is far from alone. In a 2011 paper, Holland & Hart’s John M. Husband and Bradford J. Williams list private employers who have settled class actions in the tens — or even hundreds — of millions of dollars, noting that it “reads like a who’s who of Fortune 500 companies.” Many, but not all, involve sex discrimination. Continue reading “The boys at Merck”
For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not, reports the Pew organization
“Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010. The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s. A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84% were opposed.
“The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17 among 1,501 adults, finds that young people are the most supportive of marijuana legalization. Fully 65% of Millennials –born since 1980 and now between 18 and 32 – favor legalizing the use of marijuana, up from just 36% in 2008. Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly Baby Boomers. Continue reading “Majority want pot legalized”
A Colorado school’s ruling over a transgender child has sparked questions that could affect schools all over the country. As reported by CNN, the questions and their implications include the following:
“Which bathroom should be used by a child who identifies as a different gender from his or her body? Where’s the line between accommodation and discrimination? Continue reading “School transgender decision raises questions”
As immigration has moved to the center of political debate, the fate of possible citizenship for millions of people hinges on a bolstered southern border.
“We put more boots on the ground on the southern border than at any time in our history,” President Obama exclaimed this week, adding that illegal crossings are down 80% since their peak in 2000.
The president committed a small army to the southwestern states–over 21,000 border patrol agents–racking up an almost $11.7 billion price tag in 2012, up $362 million allotted for the year before, reports MCNBC. “According to the Migration Policy Institute, the federal government spent a total of $18 billion on immigration enforcement agencies, which accounted for an astounding 24% more in federal spending than what was given for the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, and ATF–combined.
“And as the number of agents and resources allocated to the border rose, the number of arrests and apprehensions along the country lines plummeted. Continue reading “The question of the border fence”
Lots of people get into trouble with the law, casually or seriously, at some point in their lives. But not everyone knows how much that changes their prospects, especially when it comes to future job hunting.
While it’s generally illegal for employers to indiscriminately deny all applicants with criminal records, many still do. A quick look at New York job postings on Craigslist, for example, reveals common caveats: ‘absolutely no felony convictions’ or ‘must have clean criminal record.’
“’This is blatantly illegal hiring practice,’says Sally Friedman, a lawyer at the Legal Action Center. It’s not that it’s against the law to consider a job applicant’s past convictions. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite. The no-criminal-records-allowed policy rule, Friedman explains, may lead employers to throw out solid candidates. Continue reading “Job hunting not easy with an arrest record”
After this upcoming weekend, you have to ask your phone company if you want to use the phone you (kind of) bought from them on any other carrier’s network.You used to be able to ask for, or purchase, or hack your way to an “unlocked” phone, but that will be illegal after Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013.
Lifehacker reports that “The Librarian of Congress believes cellphone companies are doing a good enough job of fostering competition in their market, so the era of third-party unlocking is coming to a close.
“Back in October 2012, the Librarian of Congress was asked by the Register of Copyrights to examine the exemptions made for certain classes of work under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. I know what you may be thinking. “This Librarian, and this Register—do they live in giant vine-strewn towers? Do have any special powers if they leave Washington?” That is a good question, but first we must address other things. Continue reading “No more phone unlocking”
In most discussions of nation-building, functioning legal systems are seen as useful indicators of a society’s coherence and long-term stability.
The Asia Times say in a piece today entitled “Asia is short of respect of law” that
“The rule of law – an essential element of good governance – is prospering best in the countries of northern Europe and worst in Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and Cameroon, according to the latest edition of a five-year-old index released here Wednesday by the World Justice Project (WJP). Continue reading “Nations of Laws”
Prescription drug overdoses now claim more lives than heroin and cocaine combined, fueling a doubling of drug-related deaths in the United States over the last decade, according to a story in today’s Los Angeles Times by Scott Glover and Lisa Girdion entitled:“Legal Drugs, Deadly Outcome.”
“Health and law enforcement officials seeking to curb the epidemic have focused on how OxyContin,Vicodin, Xanax and other potent pain and anxiety medications are obtained illegally, such as through pharmacy robberies or when teenagers raid their parents’ medicine cabinets.” the authors state, adding that “Authorities have failed to recognize how often people overdose on medications prescribed for them by their doctors.
“A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that in nearly half of the accidental deaths from prescription drugs in four Southern California counties, the deceased had a doctor’s prescription for at least one drug that caused or contributed to the death.
“Reporters identified a total of 3,733 deaths from prescription drugs from 2006 through 2011 in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties.
“An examination of coroners’ records found that in 1,762 of those cases — 47%— drugs for which the deceased had a prescription were the sole cause or a contributing cause of death.A small cadre of doctors was associated with a disproportionate number of those fatal overdoses. Seventy-one — 0.1% of all practicing doctors in the four counties — wrote prescriptions for drugs that caused or contributed to 298 deaths. That is 17% of the total linked to doctors’ prescriptions.
For cull coverage, see Los Angeles Times by Scott Glover and Lisa Girdion entitled:“Legal Drugs, Deadly Outcome.”