Working for Justice

Blog Posts by Melinda Koster

Anti-Retaliation Protections for Former Employees

Posted November 15th, 2018 by in Retaliation Law.

Retaliation can rear its ugly head in a variety of contexts, including after employees separate from their employers. Fortunately, several anti-retaliation laws protect former employees who experience post-employment retaliation for complaining about discrimination. In two critical retaliation cases analyzing the breadth of Title VII’s protections—Robinson v. Shell Oil Company and Burlington Northern & Santa Fe […]

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Sexual Harassment Training: Mandatory in Several States and Critical Nationwide

Posted November 6th, 2018 by in Gender Discrimination and Harassment.

As of October 9, 2018, New York State employers are now required to provide sexual harassment training pursuant to the State’s recently enacted sexual harassment prevention legislation, Section 201-g of the New York State Labor Law. This new law requires that all employers within New York, both private and public, provide annual anti-harassment training to […]

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Accent Discrimination: An Overview

Posted December 13th, 2017 by in Employment Discrimination.

According to new Census data, a record 21.5% of U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home, including 45% of California residents and 31% of New York and New Jersey residents. In Tennessee, foreign language speakers more than quadrupled in the last twenty-five years. Are these individuals protected under the law if they encounter accent […]

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Gender Bias in Performance Reviews

Posted August 23rd, 2017 by in Gender Discrimination and Harassment.

In the landmark gender discrimination case, Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989), the Supreme Court recognized that discrimination based on an employee’s failure to conform to gender role stereotypes is prohibited under Title VII. As the Supreme Court reasoned, “an employer who acts on the basis of a belief that a woman cannot […]

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Pumping on the Job -The Rights of Breastfeeding Employees

Posted April 12th, 2017 by in Gender Discrimination and Harassment.

Breastfeeding employees frequently encounter barriers in the workplace that impede their ability to pump on the job. Horror stories abound of women who are denied a clean, private space to pump or who are shamed and penalized for pumping at work. Thanks to the advent of federal and state legislation and an emerging body of […]

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Nice Nails, Awful Jobs: Part 2

Nail salons may offer a dose of beauty, glamor, and pampering to their customers. However, by and large, nail salons take on a much uglier look once you scrape away the polished facade and examine the experiences of the largely female, immigrant workforce that toils away there. Last year, the New York Times ran a […]

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Bias in the Hiring Process

Last month, I wrote about how gender bias in job descriptions can dissuade women from applying for positions. Not surprisingly, bias infects later stages of the hiring process as well. Numerous studies have demonstrated that gender and racial biases can dramatically affect how employers assess candidates’ application materials, leading employers to favor white, male applicants […]

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Gender Bias in Job Postings

Posted February 4th, 2016 by in Gender Discrimination and Harassment.

What do the words “ninja,” “rock star,” and “badass” have in common? It turns out that these words, when listed in job descriptions, are major deterrents for women job seekers.  Social science research has called attention to the role of job descriptions in perpetuating gender inequality.  For example, a 2011 study entitled “Evidence That Gendered […]

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Contraception Before the Supreme Court . . . Again!

Posted December 11th, 2015 by in Employment Discrimination.

The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage rule, this time from religiously-affiliated non-profit organizations who argue that even the Obama administration’s accommodation for religious institutions infringes on their religious freedom. Under the accommodation, religious non-profits can opt out of providing contraceptive coverage to their employees […]

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