Legal Momentum News BriefWeek of June 25, 2018

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Legal Momentum News Brief—Week of June 25, 2018

Legal Momentum Publishes Working Woman’s Bill of Rights 

Legal Momentum’s new Working Woman’s Bill of Rights reimagines the workplace! The new Bill of Rights envisions the workplace as a place of equal opportunity for all women. It provides a comprehensive framework that guides policy-makers in developing legislation that can advance women’s economic equality. It will also help remove barriers that undermine women’s ability to achieve equal opportunity in the workplace. The Bill of Rights features 13 core principles. 

The 13 points address the following key issues:

  1. A fair and equitable workplace free of discrimination and retaliation
  2. Freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace
  3. Equal pay
  4. A living wage and fair wage practices
  5. Equal access to higher-paying jobs, economic opportunities, and leadership pathways, free from sex stereotyping
  6. A safe workplace with fair practices
  7. Workplace support and freedom from discrimination for survivors of gender-based violence
  8. The ability to decide if and when to have a child and to do so safely
  9. Fair treatment during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and after childbirth
  10. The ability to be caregivers without a financial penalty
  11. The ability to work or obtain an education after having a child
  12. Meaningful access to economic stability and opportunity for ALL women
  13. Freedom to act collectively

The Working Woman’s Bill of Rights is a component of Legal Momentum’s Women Valued initiative to promote women’s equal opportunity and economic security. 

Legal Momentum Gets Mentions in the Press

Jennifer Becker, Legal Momentum’s Deputy Legal Director and Staf Attorney, appears in both The New York Times and Reuters stories on June 23 and June 25 respectively. The articles focus on the personal safety of women and girls in the United States.

The New York Times reported on the growing use of “smart home” technology in domestic abuse. The story,  Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse, extensively quoted Ms. Becker. Abusers have learned to use smart home technology to further their power and control in ways that often fall outside existing criminal laws, Ms. Becker told the Times. And when a victim uninstalls the devices, this can escalate a conflict. “The abuser can see it’s disabled, and that may trigger enhanced violence,” she said. The article has been picked up by several other publications, including the ABA Journal, FindLaw.com, and Security Sales & Integration.

On June 25, Reuters published U.S. Among 10 Most Dangerous Countries for Women amid #MeToo Campaign—Poll. Ms. Becker was again quoted, saying, “There now is a platform and national conversation, and more women and girls feel safe talking about the harassment and violence they’ve been subjected to. The United States has visibility. That conversation is being viewed around the world.”

Legal Momentum Submits Testimony to New York State

Legal Momentum submitted written testimony to the New York State Department of Labor advocating to end minimum wage tip credits in New York State, also known as the subminimum wage for tipped workers. Gender Justice Fellow Seher Khawaja, who manages Legal Momentum’s Women Valued initiative, prepared the testimony.

Legal Momentum advocated for the elimination of the subminimum wage for three reasons. This extremely low wage and the consequent reliance on tips perpetuates poverty and inequality, sexual harassment, and exploitation of the most marginalized women. This includes low-wage workers, women of color, immigrant women, and single mothers. Based on its work with these communities, Legal Momentum presented substantial data to drive home the following point: “a subminimum wage system perpetuates one of the most appalling national trends: women of color, immigrant women, and working mothers are more likely to be paid lower wages, and women of color in tipped occupations are especially likely to live in poverty.”

Legal Momentum Presents at CUNY School of Law

Lawyers working at municipal agencies in New York City attended Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshops on sexual harassment at the CUNY School of Law on June 15 and again on June 18. The workshops, planned and presented by Legal Momentum’s Deputy Legal Director and Staff Attorney, Jennifer Becker, were titled #MeToo: Justice-Based Remedies for Sexual Harassment and Strategies for Legal Advocates. They reviewed the spectrum of behaviors encompassed by the phrase "sexual harassment.” The CLE workshops covered federal, state, and local protections against this type of discrimination in the workplace, noting the intersection with other areas of law (such as criminal laws and housing laws) and considerations for particularly vulnerable and marginalized groups. They provided best practices and ethical considerations for responding to, and eliminating, sexual harassment.

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