Women Lawyers On Guard just signed onto an amicus brief in Kesterson v Kent State University, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Cir. At issue is who, at a University, a person who has been raped must report to before the school has liability. Kesterson was raped by her softball coach’s son in her freshman year. When she finally summoned up the courage to tell her coach in her sophomore year, the coach (Karen Linder) did not report the rape to the Title IX office, as required by school policy. Instead, she told Kesterson not to tell anyone else, and retaliated against Kesterson. Kesterson eventually told four more officials at Kent State including two assistant coaches and the Executive Director of the school’s Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services.
The District Court held that none of these reports gave the school “actual knowledge” and therefore the school had no liability or duty to respond, until Kesterson herself reported to the Title IX office a year later. Needless to say, Kesterson suffered both academically and athletically.
The amicus brief argues that the school received actual notice based on the actual knowledge of five school employees and that the “appropriate person” test developed in employee-student cases should not apply to peer-to-peer sexual harassment.
NWLC Brief (as filed)
On April 30th, a House Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings on the Equal Rights Amendment for the first time in 36 years. Wasting no time, Women Lawyers On Guard Action Network delivered a letter to the committee addressing three issues with detailed and persuasive legal arguments. We argued, for example, that the deadline does not preclude ratification now, and that the Amendment is still very necessary. Letter here.
Many thanks to the WLGAN network volunteers who assisted in this effort.
Women Lawyers on Guard Inc. is determined to address sexual harassment in the Legal Profession. Progress has been made, but clearly more needs to be done. HERE is our First Initiative:
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The judges in both the cases in California and Pennsylvania have issued preliminary injunctions against the administration’s rules that would have enabled employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage of contraceptives.
The amicus brief that WLG signed onto (which was filed in both cases) was quoted in the California opinion to substantiate that there are substantial costs, whether “financial, professional, or personal—to women who unintendedly become pregnant after losing access to the cost-free contraceptives to which they are entitled.”
WLG signed onto Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New Jersey v Donald J. Trump, et al., in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and The State of California, et al v Eric D. Hargan, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
Both these cases arise out of the attempt by the Trump Administration to permit employers that are not religious institutions to assert conscience-based objections to the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act. If implemented, the Administration’s “Religious Exemption Rule” and the “Moral Exception Rule” would cause hundreds of thousands of women to lose contraceptive coverage. WLG had joined similar amicus briefs in these courts (also filed by the American Association of University Women and 12 additional professional, labor, and student associations) in support of plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the Trump Administration’s interim rules. These cases address the final rules.
The plaintiffs in the California case also include the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
FILED CA AMICUS FILED PA AMICUS
Congress finally passed a bipartisan bill to improve the procedure for addressing sexual harassment claims. (House and Senate members will have to reimburse the Treasury for all future payments to settle sexual harassment claims ,and accusers will no longer be bound by mandatory confidentiality agreements.) But WLG agrees with this Washington Post editorial that more needs to be done, including a procedure for Congress to address gender discrimination within their own ranks. Read more here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/congresss-new-sexual-harassment-law-is-a-major-step-in-the-right-direction/2018/12/30/7f58baec-ffcd-11e8-83c0-b06139e540e5_story.html?utm_term=.bf0604d0175d