an update for the week of june 16, 2003
Our second edition of Workplace Week, the Workplace Fairness e-newsletter, features new developments in the area of class actions and overtime pay. We hope that you enjoyed last week's inaugural issue, and urge you to forward this issue to colleagues and clients. Each week, we will bring you news and commentary on critical issues affecting employees and advocates.
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
Proposed Overtime Changes: Bad News for Workers: The Bush Administration is acting to make it easier for businesses to work employees longer hours without paying overtime compensation. While the proposed changes are being marketed as employee-friendly efforts to increase "flexibility" and benefit low-income workers, the reality is far different. Instead of trying to further weaken the rules, we should be strengthening what we already have. Comments on the proposed regulations are due on June 30, 2003, so the time to speak out is now.
Class Action Fairness Act Passes House: On June 12th, the House of Representatives passed the Class Action Fairness Act, a bill designed to move most class actions from state to federal court, where, it is perceived, judges will be less receptive to the rights of plaintiffs. The vote in the House was 253-170, generally but not exclusively along party lines, with a few Democrats joining the majority and two Republicans opposing the bill.
Happy 40th Anniversary, Equal Pay Act: This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, landmark legislation which help pave the way for increased gender equality in the workplace. On June 10, 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act (EPA) into law, at a time when full-time working women were paid on average 59 cents to the dollar earned by their male counterparts, according to government data. While as the Virginia Slims ads used to say, "you've come a long way baby," it's clear that even after 40 years, there is more ground to cover if women are to close the pay gap in the workplace.
this week in the courts
Hamm v. Weyauwega Milk Prods., Inc.  (Seventh Circuit; No. 02-2529)
Decision Date: June 13, 2003
A male Title VII plaintiff could not demonstrate that he was discriminated against "because of" sex by male co-workers, where evidence only supports work performance conflicts or speculation concerning sexual orientation.
Briggs v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd.  (Federal Circuit; No. 02-3217)
Decision Date: June 11, 2003
Plaintiff's attacks on the constitutionality of the Hatch Act, which prohibits certain government employees from engaging in certain political activities, are not meritorious. Thus, the Board's judgment that he violated the Hatch Act by running for election and order that he be removed him from his public school teaching position are affirmed.
Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa  (U.S. Supreme Court; No. 02-679)
Decision Date: June 9, 2003
Direct evidence of discrimination is not required for a plaintiff to obtain a mixed-motive jury instruction under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
this week's headlines
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Views on the News  Here we cover the latest viewpoints on workplace issues. Whether it?s an editorial or op-ed you?re looking for, political commentary, or the advice of workplace columnists, if it?s filled with opinions, you?ll find it here.
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