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May 23, 2016 3

Defense Authorization Act Moves Forward With Discriminatory Provision

Congress standing

Last week, the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed the National Defense Autho­riza­tion Act for 2017 (“NDAA”), inclu­sive of a broad, dis­crim­i­na­tory pro­vi­sion spon­sored by Rep. Steve Rus­sell (R-OK). This pro­vi­sion, offered in the name of “reli­gious free­dom,” would allow reli­giously affil­i­ated fed­eral con­trac­tors and grantees to dis­crim­i­nate against women, any reli­gious group, and LGBT peo­ple with tax­payer dollars.

Dur­ing House’s debate on the NDAA, Rep. Sean Mal­oney (D-NY) offered a nar­row­ing amend­ment which would have pro­tected the Obama Administration’s ban on LGBT dis­crim­i­na­tion in fed­eral con­tract­ing. That amend­ment failed on chaotic 212–213 vote dur­ing which Repub­li­can lead­ers took the extra­or­di­nary step of allow­ing vot­ing to con­tinue after time had expired and pres­sured a hand­ful of their Mem­bers to change their votes.

The Anti-Defamation League was one of 84 civil rights and reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions that sub­mit­ted a coali­tion let­ter to Con­gress in oppo­si­tion to the Rus­sell Amendment.

Reli­giously affil­i­ated groups his­tor­i­cally have played an impor­tant role in address­ing many of our nation’s most press­ing social needs, as a com­ple­ment to government-funded pro­grams.   How­ever, faith-based groups should not use tax­payer dol­lars to dis­crim­i­nate on the basis of reli­gion.  And no one should be dis­qual­i­fied from a job under a fed­eral con­tract or grant because of his or her sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der, gen­der iden­tity, or religion.

The Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee has approved its ver­sion of the NDAA with­out the Rus­sell Amend­ment.  Mov­ing for­ward, ADL and our coali­tion part­ners will con­tinue to oppose the Rus­sell Amend­ment and advo­cate for its exclu­sion from the final ver­sion of the NDAA.

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April 11, 2016 0

Time to Require Equal Pay for Equal Work

Diverse Business Team Discussing Work In Office

It’s April 12, 2016 – Equal Pay Day, the sym­bolic date that women need to work until to catch up with what men had earned by last Dec. 31.  The fact is that women who work full time, are paid an aver­age of 79 cents for every dol­lar paid to men — and on aver­age, African Amer­i­can and Latina women are paid even less.   It’s not a day to cel­e­brate, but it is a teach­able moment to focus on the need­less, costly, and dis­crim­i­na­tory gen­der wage gap – and on what we can do about it.

One high-profile exam­ple of unequal pay is that mem­bers of the U.S. Women’s Soc­cer team, the best team in the world, are paid less than their US male team coun­ter­parts.  Five mem­bers of the team recently brought a wage dis­crim­i­na­tion suit against U.S. Soc­cer with the Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­nity Com­mis­sion (EEOC).

Progress in Recent Years

  • In August 2014, Pres­i­dent Obama signed two direc­tives aimed at clos­ing the wage gap for Fed­eral work­ers.   First, an Exec­u­tive Order pro­hibiting fed­eral con­trac­tors from retal­i­at­ing against employ­ees for shar­ing their salary infor­ma­tion, mak­ing it eas­ier for women to dis­cover and address pay­check inequity. And, sec­ond, the Pres­i­dent instructed the Depart­ment of Labor to cre­ate new reg­u­la­tions requir­ing fed­eral con­trac­tors and sub­con­trac­tors to report salary infor­ma­tion to the gov­ern­ment, expos­ing salary inequities and thereby encour­ag­ing con­trac­tors to close the wage gap on their own.
  • And in Jan­u­ary, the EEOC issued com­ple­men­tary “Pro­posed Enforce­ment Guid­ance on Retal­i­a­tion and Related Issues.” ADL joined two dozen other national orga­ni­za­tions on a let­ter, drafted by the National Women’s Law Cen­ter, sup­port­ing the pro­posal and sug­gest­ing way to clar­ify the pro­tec­tions and safe­guards even further.

 

Learn, Raise Aware­ness – and Pro­mote Fairness.

On this Equal Pay Day, let’s com­mit to spread­ing the word about the dis­crim­i­na­tory pay gap between men and women – so we can close it.   Here are two great ways to get the word out:   MTV Pay Equity

  • MTV’s Emmy Award-winning “Look Dif­fer­ent” anti-bias cam­paign has cre­ated the “79% Work Clock” — a clock that chimes every day at 3:20 p.m. – sig­ni­fy­ing 79% of the 9–5 work­day, or the time, after which, women are no longer paid for equal work.  Their web­site includes a 79-Percent Cal­cu­la­tor to help indi­vid­u­als find the cor­rect time set­ting for their per­sonal work clocks based on their work hours and race — and to learn more about the gen­der wage gap in America.
  • The Anti-Defamation League recently devel­oped a High School les­son plan on the gen­der wage gap that pro­vides an oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to reflect on their own opin­ions about sex­ism, under­stand the gen­der pay gap and its var­i­ous man­i­fes­ta­tions, and con­sider ways that it can be overcome.

Although we’ve made some progress in the fight for equal pay, much more needs to be done.  ADL and a broad coali­tion of civil rights and women’s groups sup­port The Pay­check Fair­ness Act (PFA HR 1619/S 862)), which would give teeth to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it unlaw­ful for busi­nesses to pay men and women dif­fer­ent salaries for per­form­ing sub­stan­tially the same work. The PFA would make it ille­gal for com­pa­nies to retal­i­ate against employ­ees for dis­cussing salary dif­fer­ences and open­ busi­nesses up to civil lia­bil­ity for salary inequity.

By rais­ing aware­ness and demand­ing leg­isla­tive action, we can speed the day when the alarm clock rep­re­sent­ing the wage gap rings later and later in the day – until we will not need it at all.

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March 28, 2016 0

Lawsuit to Be Filed Challenging Broadest Anti-LGBT Law in the Nation

By David Barkey, Reli­gious Free­dom Counsel

 

Under the false and offen­sive pre­text of safety in bath­rooms, North Car­olina last week enacted the broad­est anti-LGBT law in the nation.  Adopted in a reck­less and inequitable man­ner, the new law not only sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple, but under­mines the rights of vir­tu­ally all North Car­olini­ans.  Yes­ter­day, ACLU, Lamda Legal and Equal­ity North Car­olina announced that they will be fil­ing a fed­eral law­suit chal­leng­ing the statute.

In Feb­ru­ary 2016, the City of Char­lotte, NC added pro­tec­tions for the cat­e­gories of gen­der iden­tity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion to its Non-Discrimination Ordi­nance.  In response, the State Leg­is­la­ture called a spe­cial ses­sion, cus­tom­ar­ily reserved for bud­get, nat­ural dis­as­ter or redis­trict­ing emer­gen­cies, to over­turn the amended Ordinance.

Flag_of_North_Carolina.svgWithin twenty-four hours, the leg­is­la­ture — with­out pub­lic hear­ings or input — hastily enacted sweep­ing leg­is­la­tion (House Bill 2) and the Gov­er­nor signed it into law.  It pro­hibits trans­gen­der peo­ple from using restrooms or chang­ing facil­i­ties in accor­dance with their gen­der iden­tity, which iron­i­cally will require trans­gen­der men to use women’s facil­i­ties. But the law did not stop there.

It pro­hibits local gov­ern­ment from adopt­ing any anti-discrimination pro­tec­tions for LGBT peo­ple.  Fur­ther­more, the law pro­hibits any North Car­olin­ian from fil­ing an anti-discrimination law­suit in state court, includ­ing a reli­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion claim.  It also bars local gov­ern­ments from rais­ing the min­i­mum wage or requir­ing con­trac­tors to pay a pre­vail­ing wage or to pro­vide ben­e­fits such as sick leave.

House Bill 2, and the process by which it was adopted, are dis­grace­ful.  The law con­veys the clear mes­sage that the major­ity of North Carolina’s state gov­ern­ment sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple.  Undoubt­edly it will dam­age the State’s econ­omy, result in costly lit­i­ga­tion, and jeop­ar­dize fed­eral fund­ing for North Car­olina.  We are con­fi­dent that the court hear­ing the law­suit chal­leng­ing House Bill 2 will strike down this appalling and uncon­sti­tu­tional law if the leg­is­la­ture does not recon­sider and repeal it first.

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