Friday, June 28, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #114 - Part 4

SCOTUS makes it harder for employees to sue for discrimination and retaliation

That SCOTUS decision I just talked about was not the only - I started to say lamebrain decision but that's wrong; as I said before, these people know exactly what they're doing - was not the only destructive decision that the filthy five pushed through. The day before, on Monday, they handed down two corporate boot-licking decisions that make it harder for employees to sue businesses for discrimination and retaliation.

First, they said that in order to be considered a supervisor in a discrimination lawsuit, that person must be able to hire and fire someone - which essentially leave employees no recourse against a management that fails to deal, or at least fails to deal effectively, with harassment or discrimination against employees by lower-level managers.

The court then decided to limit how juries can decide retaliation lawsuits, saying victims must prove employers would not have taken action against them but for their intention to retaliate. That is, if, for example, as in the case at hand, you leave your job after complaining about harassment only to be denied a promised job with a new employer after your old employer blackballs you, you have to prove that the only reason the old employer did that was to retaliate against you for your complaints, that they would not have done it but for an intent to retaliate. The desire to retaliate can't be part of the reason, it's got to be the driving cause without which the blackballing could not have happened.

What do you think are the chances of anyone ever being able to prove that?

The minority was disturbed enough that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote both dissents, took the unusual step of reading them from the bench as Sam Alito rolled his eyes and shook his head. Ginsburg slammed, quoting, "the court's disregard for the realities of the workplace" and, in another unusual step, directly called on Congress to pass legislation to overturn the decision, as it did in the case of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which effectively overturned a Supreme Court decision that had strictly limited workers' ability to file lawsuits over pay inequity.

These, by the way, were just two of a long list of pro-corporate decisions SCOTUS has handed down this term. One way of measuring the pro-corporate tilt - although "tilt" considerably understates it - the pro-corporate tilt of the Court is used by the Constitutional Accountability Center, which tracks in which cases the US Chamber of Commerce submits an amicus, or friend of the court, brief and how it does. This year, the Chamber came out on the winning side in 14 of 17 cases.

Like I said before, the filthy five know exactly what they are doing. And it's all about power to the powerful.


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