***Update*** The Supreme Court just ruled in favor of corporations..5-4.. You won’t be able to sue over racial and sexual harassment..
Today the Supreme Court will likely hand down a decision to determine the fate of gay marriage.. Later this week they will also hand down decisions on affirmative action.. Both are important cases and will keep everyone talking… There are a few other cases we should be aware of that will have even more far-reaching impact..
The first case was already ruled on, last week where the SCOTUS made it very difficult to bring a class action lawsuit.. The case they ruled on involved small merchants banning together to stop the tyranny imposed upon them by credit card companies. In this case it was American Express. If there’s an issue each small merchant must handle it through arbitration…There is no way to deal with a problem that may be systemic..This is important and I hope folks take heed, because this sets precedent for what has been an effective weapon to push back on corporate over reach..
The other case they will decide upon will make it harder for employees to sue on the basis of racial and sexual harassment.. What the US Chamber of commerce and others are pushing for is for a redefinition of what it means to be a ‘supervisor’… They want it to specifically to mean someone who can hire and fire.. So if you are on a job and have a co-worker who is ‘supervising’ you and causing you grief, it will be hard to bring a lawsuit for a ‘hostile’ work environment.. Workplaces are already difficult to deal with, this will now make it shear hell. An article in today’s Think Progress breaks it down like this:
The law provides very robust protections to employees who are harassed by their supervisors, but it is drastically more difficult for an employee to win a racial or sexual harassment lawsuit if they have only been harassed by coworkers. In the later case the worker must show that their employer has “been negligent either in discovering or remedying the harassment.” For this reason, it matters a great deal who qualifies as a “supervisor” for purposes of sexual harassment law. If the word is defined too narrowly, it could encompass employees who have the power to intimidate their victims into keeping their harassment secret.
You can read the entire article HERE: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/24/2200681/the-scariest-pending-supreme-court-case-that-youve-probably-never-heard-of/
I hope folks stay abreast of such rulings and understand that its rulings like these that favor corporations that will impact us for decades to come.. We already see the impact in places where we have work at will rules and in other places where union organizing is damn near outlawed..