an update for the week of june 23, 2003
Each week, Workplace Week brings you news and commentary on critical issues affecting employees and advocates.

In this edition: affirmative action lives! Read about the new Supreme Court decisions here and check out our site's new page on sexual harassment. (Please note that we will not publish Workplace Week next week because of the NELA Annual Convention June 25-28, 2003. We hope to see many of you there!)
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
Affirmative Action Lives: All You Need to Know About Gratz & Grutter: As you probably know by now, today the U.S. Supreme Court issued the two opinions widely expected to determine the fate of affirmative action. Affirmative action proponents, after months of anxiety, were able to collectively breathe major sighs of relief with the issuance of the Court's opinions. While the Court was split in the two opinions, striking down the University of Michigan's undergraduate preferential admissions program, while preserving the law school's problem, affirmative action still lives, as the Court affirms that race can be one of multiple factors (just not the only factor) a university considers when determining which students to offer admission.
These Days, It's All About Healthcare: In a climate where large pay increases are increasingly hard to come by, guess what the main focus of negotiations between employees and employers these days is? You guessed, the cost of healthcare benefits. As insurance costs skyrocket, and employers seek to reduce these costs by reducing benefits and increasing employees share, employees and union negotiators are working hard to try to hold the line on these costs, so that workers don't suffer a de facto pay decrease caused by paying significantly more each month for health benefits. But will this cause employers seeking to hold the line on costs to also demand more accountability from employees for their lifestyle choices?
this week in the courts
Grutter v. Bollinger  (U.S. Supreme Court; No. 02-241)
Decision Date: June 23, 2003
A state law school's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions, to further a compelling state interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, is not prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, or 42 U.S.C. section 1981.
Gratz v. Bollinger  (U.S. Supreme Court; No. 02-516 )
Decision Date: June 23, 2003
The manner in which a university uses racial preferences in undergraduate admissions is not narrowly tailored to achieve an asserted compelling state interest in diversity, and violates the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, and 42 U.S.C. section 1981.
Reed v. MBNA Marketing Sys., Inc.  (First Circuit; No. 02-2705)
Decision Date: June 19, 2003
Summary judgment in favor of employer is reversed in a sexual discrimination action where a jury could conclude that failure to report the alleged harassment and threats was reasonable given plaintiff's young age.
this week's headlines
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