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Legal Network for Gender Equity Takes on Sex Discrimination
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gender discrimination

Summary: An advocacy group has been formed by over 70 attorneys from 15 states to build a network that can help female victims of sex discrimination.

In an effort to help female victims of sex discrimination, a top women’s rights advocacy group has formed a national legal network by recruiting over 70 attorneys from 15 states. The president of the Washington-based National Women’s Law Center, Fatima Goss Graves, announced the new Legal Network for Gender Equity.

  
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The legal network, the first of its kind, was introduced to tackle a growing fear that the Trump administration was weakening the protections against sex discrimination. Goss Graves said, “We’ve seen a surge of gender-based hostility and harassment across the nation.” She added that “escalating federal rollbacks to critical protections in education, the workplace, and health care.”

Some of the things the Trump administration has done that concern Goss Graves and the group include allowing more employers to opt out of providing birth control to female employees, changing the requirements for investigating and proving campus sexual assault incidents, and directing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to forgo the collection of data on pay of employers in various categories like gender and race.

In regards to gender discrimination, a number of high-profile lawsuits have been filed recently, including Google and Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Both deny any wrongdoing. There are also a number of scandals involving Fox News and movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

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Lenora Lapidus of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project approves of the legal network. She said, “Bringing in more attorneys to really focus on these cases is a good idea. We become like a tide that can push change more rapidly.” Her group is currently trying to find the reason for the EEOC’s data collection halt through the courts since the pregnancy discrimination cases they are working on would benefit from the data. She added, “That data could help close the gender wage gap. We have no idea what made them decide this was not a worthy effort.”

The legal network already had its first case before their official launch. The network will be handling a pregnancy discrimination case through Spiggle Law Firm of Arlington, Virginia. The client, a law enforcement officer, claims a county sheriff’s office in the state refused her requests for work accommodations when she was pregnant. She also says they required her to take unpaid leave even though she had enough paid leave saved up to use.



Goss Graves hopes to have attorneys able to help in all 50 states. The National Women’s Law Center will be the command post, giving women and girls with the legal resources they need and the names of attorneys to deliver on their needs. They will also be the clearinghouse for information on legal developments.

One of the attorneys signed on to help is Debra Katz of Katz, Marshall & Banks in Washington. The law firm focuses on sexual harassment and sex discrimination. She said, “We need one another. This network will provide people who participate with critical camaraderie and support to be zealous in their advocacy.”

Do you think there will be other legal networks established similar to this one for other issues like race discrimination, sexual orientation, religious, etc.? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about gender discrimination issues, read these articles:

Photo: business-humanrights.org



 

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