"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.
At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.
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Monday, June 20, 2011
Wal-Mart vs. Women
AAUW Profoundly Disappointed in U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Wal-Mart v. Dukes
WASHINGTON – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is deeply critical of today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s sharply divided decision inWal-Mart v. Dukes. Although the high court did not rule on the merits of the case, this misguided decision prevents the women of Wal-Mart from taking on America’s largest private employer as a nationwide class-action group, leaving each woman to file her claim individually or perhaps in smaller, reformulated class-action groups.
The Supreme Court chose to ignore more than 40 years of established jurisprudence and severely restricted the ability of workers to fight discrimination together in a class action. Essentially, the court’s extremely conservative decision gave great weight to the mere presence of a corporate anti-discrimination policy, even though it seems that the policy was routinely not followed. This decision appears to give a red light for future employee class-action cases and a green light for employers to continue to use highly subjective pay and sex discrimination practices.
“The Supreme Court says the Wal-Mart case is ‘simply too large.’ Maybe that’s because—from the corner office to the corner store—gender discrimination is widespread,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “The court ignored most of the evidence, a disturbing development for other fair pay and discrimination cases. What a missed opportunity to warm up the chilly climate many women still experience in the workplace.”
Edith Arana, a named plaintiff in the case, and her attorney Arcelia Hurtado, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, spoke at the AAUW National Convention this past Saturday, June 18, at the Renaissance, Washington D.C. Hotel. The women spoke as part of A Conversation on Justice, a session on workplace gender discrimination.
While the ruling does not determine whether Wal-Mart is guilty of gender discrimination, it will have far-reaching effects on class certification in workplace discrimination lawsuits. AAUW strongly believes in protecting the rights of Americans to bring appropriate class-action suits against discriminatory employers. Such cases ensure that all affected workers can right the wrongs against them and stand together in the face of corporate misconduct. Sometimes, class actions are the only way to force a company to change its unfair practices. Class actions also serve as powerful deterrents to keep other employers from engaging in the same practices.
“Wal-Mart is not off the hook. Nothing in this opinion changes the legitimate and timely claims of women workers at Wal-Mart,” said AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz. “The Supreme Court has been wrong before—just ask Lilly Ledbetter. AAUW will be looking at all the angles in this case, and we still have a range of options available to right yet another Supreme Court wrong. This case is not over any more than the fight for pay equity is over.”
AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund provided case support and signed an amicus brief for the plaintiffs in the case. Thanks to AAUW funds, lead plaintiff Betty Dukes and the other named plaintiffs, including Edith Arana, were able to come to Washington, D.C., to attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court in March.
AAUW’s strategic case support program provides financial and organizational backing for a select number of cases that have the potential to provide significant protection for all women. The funds come directly from the generous contributions of AAUW members who support the Legal Advocacy Fund.
“AAUW’s resolve will not be shaken by this decision, and this case is not over,” said Hallman. “We will continue to stand 100 percent behind the women of Wal-Mart as they pursue what’s only simple fairness.”
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institutional partners. Since our founding 130 years ago, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day—educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s commitment to educational equity is reflected in our public policy advocacy, community programs, leadership development, conventions and conferences, national partnerships, and international connections.