A sex discrimination suit filed by eight female employees in February 1997 was settled yesterday. The plaintiff charged that they were systematically deprived of training, support staff, and other resources because of their sex. They also alleged that many women had returned from maternity leave to find their positions either eliminated or demoted.
Under the settlement agreement, the eight plaintiffs will split $600,000 and will allow any of the 2,500 women employed at Merrill Lynch since 1994 to pursue mediation of complaints with a neutral arbitrator. Women who are unsatisfied with this process may seek compensation in a public hearing. Merrill Lynch has promised to create a multi-million-dollar fund to pay for the settlement of these claims.
Lead Plaintiff Attorney Mary Stowell believes that the Merrill Lynch settlement is superior to the settlement offered by Smith Barney, another powerful brokerage company, last November. "We're delighted the settlement takes the Smith Barney settlement a step forward and does away with mandatory arbitration for future claims and sets up a fair process that is better than court, in which women who have suffered sex discrimination can receive all damages allowed under the law," said Stowell.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .