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February 2015 Archives

Employment Discrimination In Benefits For Same Sex Couples

Among the many reasons to support same sex marriages is so that all loving couples can enjoy the benefits and legal protections afforded to spouses. In the United States, a large percentage of the population gets health insurance through their employer. The reasons for this are curious and antiquated, but the result is that employers have power over their employees in terms of the health care coverage they receive. For same sex couples, that can mean another avenue for discrimination in an employer decides that they don't personally support marriage equality.

Another Step In The Push For LGBT Rights

The U.S. State Department announced the creation of a new senior level position that could help advance the rights and equality of LGBT persons worldwide. The State Department has named a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. The new role has been filled by Randy W. Berry who is a highly experienced diplomat. He has previously served as the U.S. Consul General in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Auckland, New Zealand; and as a State Department official in Uganda, Bangladesh, Egypt, South Africa and Washington D.C.

So Many Women Are Sexually Harassed At Work

A survey conducted by Cosmopolitan demonstrates the shocking prevalence of abusive conduct directed at women in the workplace. One-third of the women surveyed who were between the ages of 18 and 34 reported being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. More than 2,000 female employees were surveyed. The results were broken down by age, field of employment and the education level of the employee harassed.

A Banner Year For Defective Vehicles

Recalls are not the ideal way to handle a defective car or truck. In an ideal world, safety testing would prevent vehicles with dangerous defects from ever reaching consumers. The fact of the matter is that every year, a certain number of potentially dangerous vehicles make their way onto American roads. In 2014, the number of vehicles recalled for potential safety problems reached record numbers. More than 63.9 million vehicles were recalled for a wide variety of concerns, some more serious than others. The number eclipsed the total number of recalls in the three previous years, combined.

New Jersey Strikes A Blow In Strange Battle

If there were any question that members of the LGBT community are still subjected to outrageous, discriminatory treatment, a lawsuit moving through New Jersey courts should answer it. The Judge handling the case made a noteworthy ruling this week in describing a type of consumer fraud. Therapists who claim that they can change a person's sexual orientation or who label homosexuality as a curable mental disorder are committing fraud. The ruling from a New Jersey Superior Court Judge opens the door for lawsuits against these therapists for violating the Consumer Fraud Act.

Bullying A Problem In Every Walk Of Life

If you were asked to picture a bullying victim in your mind, what would that picture look like? Would the victim be a child or an adult? Would the victim be a male or a female? Would the victim be tall or short? Would your imagined victim be overweight, skinny or somewhere in between? Whatever the picture in your mind, you are probably right. Bullying victims can look like anybody. They can be anybody. Bullying does is not restricted by race, gender, size, religion, ethnicity or any other characteristic. The controversy of two years ago involving the Miami Dolphins and offensive lineman Richie Incognito demonstrated very clearly that bullies are everywhere, so bullying victims are everywhere. His target was a fellow NFL lineman and abuse he and teammates heaped upon the man drove him off the team.

Bullying Leads To Tragedy

Sad news recently came out of Folsom, California, where it has been reported that a 12 year old boy name Ronin Shimizu committed suicide. While any such news would be upsetting, Ronin's fact pattern is one that we are all too familiar with as we regularly litigate school bullying cases. Apparently, Ronin's greatest crime was that he wanted to be and loved performing as a cheerleader for his middle school. As the only male cheerleader on the team, Ronin was relentlessly teased, bullied and harassed. Other students called him "gay" and hurled other slurs in his direction. Harassment at the school became so overwhelming that Ronin withdrew and went on homebound instruction prior to his suicide.

New Jersey Civil Rights and Employment Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses Baker's Refusal to Provide Wedding Cake to a Same-Sex Couple

So here's the trend; conservative religious business owners are using their (misunderstood) "right" of "freedom of religion" to refuse service to same sex couples. Photographers refuse to photograph same-sex weddings. Florists won't arrange flowers. Venues won't host ceremonies and receptions. And now, a baker won't make a cake.

White House Moves To Help NHTSA Address Defects

Auto defects are a growing safety concern. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has drawn heavy criticism over the past several years for its slow handling of safety defects involving air bags manufactured by Takata and General Motors vehicles with defective ignition switches. In each case, car models with known defects that had the potential to lead to deadly accidents were left on the roads for years before finally being recalled. Congress expressed its displeasure with the NHTSA and called for stronger action going forward. The White House is now looking to give the NHTSA the ability to move faster and perform better by raising its budget.

New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses Fayetteville Arkansas Repeal of Civil Rights Law

I'm a big science fiction fan; I hope you are too. If you are, and you know anyone who has a machine that would allow us to put a dome over the State of Arkansas, or better yet, just cut it loose from the United States, let it drift out to sea and then sink it, let me know.

A Tool For Victims Of Cyber-bullying

Cyber-bullying has continued to grow as social media takes on a greater role in many people's day to day lives. Freed from even the tenuous accountability of bullying a person to his or her face, cyber-bullies have become a massive problem for children and in some cases for adults, too. A school or workplace can become a nightmare when bullies have access and seemingly a free rein to spew vile abuse and hatred online. Unsurprisingly, the victims of cyber-bullying are all too frequently members of the groups that have been targeted in America for generations: females, members of ethnic and racial minorities, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.