Detergent maker Dial Corporation agreed last Monday to pay $10 million, settling a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by 90 previous and current female employees working at its Aurora, Illinois soap factory. The last-minute agreement between the Scottsdale, Arizona-company and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) halted the pending trial, where Dial faced allegations of fostering a "permissive culture" which condoned groping, sexual insults, and displays of pornography by its male workers, including supervisors, reported Bloomberg. Court documents indicated that women who reported harassment faced retaliation or inaction by upper management, according to Reuters. Dial denied wrongdoing but agreed to federal compliance monitors for the next two-and-a-half years at its plant. The lawsuit represents the largest EEOC sexual harassment case in five years.
Also last week, a federal judge granted female plant workers in Kansas class-action status for their sexual discrimination lawsuit against their employer, defense contractor Boeing Company. US District Judge Wesley Brown decided that 4,800 women may proceed with the lawsuit, which charges Boeing for sexual discrimination in pay, promotions, and other employment opportunities and seeks back pay and damages amounting to $40 to $50 million, according to Reuters. While the company staunchly refutes the claims, Hanes Berman, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, insists the problem is "endemic," referencing an external survey finding that more than 85 percent of Boeing's women workers receive less pay than male workers in comparable positions. "A company can explain away slight statistical anomalies, but Boeing has a great deal more to answer for... The numbers don't lie-they point to a systemic, ongoing problem in virtually every major Boeing facility," Berman told the Reuters. The firm is handling similar class action cases filed by female Boeing employees in Washington, Oklahoma, California, and Missouri.
Media Resources: Associated Press 4/29/03, 4/30/03; Bloomberg 4/27/03; Reuters 4/28/03
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. . . .