A 2009 gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Quinnipiac University Women’s Volleyball coach against the school has recently been settled. The settlement is of particular interest in athletic departments across the nation as it offers a solution to a frequently-had debate in the sports world: Is Cheerleading a sport? In an attempt to eliminate Quinnipiac’s volleyball program altogether, the school had intimated that sufficient resources had instead been allotted to competitive cheer and that they were therefore compliant under the guidelines of Title IX. Read moreGoogle+
Huntingdon Valley Swim Club located in Philadelphia has just settled a lawsuit with Creative Steps day camp and 50 of its campers for racial discrimination. In 2009, Creative Steps paid a member fee to allow the campers and counselors to use the pool for the summer. When the camp arrived on the first day they were baffled by the racist comments they had heard. Members of the club had name called and discriminated against the campers, most of whom are minorities. The Swim Club revoked their membership to the pool and refunded their membership fees. The U.S. Justice Department involved themselves after Creative Steps Inc. and the parents of the campers filed a lawsuit against the Huntingdon Valley Swim Club. Shortly after, Valley Swim Club filed for bankruptcy and sold the pool for $1.46 million. When bankruptcy case is finished the remaining funds will go to the 50 campers and Creative Steps for emotional damage done by the club.
Fear is a powerful motivator, and as such the government sometimes responds poorly to the irrational fear of its citizens. In 1942, due to a fear of all things Japanese during WWII, the federal government rounded up all the Japanese people they could, including native-born citizens, and placed them in destitute internment camps. Before rounding up Jews and other minorities in concentration camps, the Nazis forced them to identify with yellow badges in the shape of a star, claiming that they were responsible for their country’s problems. Through these events, we learned the hard way that fear and blame, however unfounded, can lead to atrocity.
Comparisons to such human rights abuses are a stretch in today’s case, of course, and perhaps somewhat unfair, and yet the parallels are striking. After 9/11, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City started enforcing a rule known as “brand or segregate”, in which Sikh and Muslim workers were forced to either mark their turbans with an MTA logo or work out of the sight of the general public. See the similarities? Fueled by xenophobic sentiment after the 9/11 tragedy, the MTA responded to American fear by taking steps to appease it: hide all the scary foreigners, or at least mark them so the good red-blooded Americans know to stay away.Google+
The mortgage insurer MGIC Investment Group has settled a federal lawsuit alleging that they refused to sell mortgage insurance to women on maternity leave. The suit claimed that the company required 70 women to return to work before they would sell them the insurance, which “allows homebuyers to take out loans with down payments of less than 20%”, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday, the company settled for $550,000, with $511,000 to be compensation for the women and $39,000 as a civil penalty to the government. In addition, MGIC will have to train its employees on discrimination law and revamp its policies concerning customers on maternity leave. The company has also entered a preliminary settlement in a related class action suit in order to avoid spending any more money on a lawsuit they will likely lose.Google+
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has set a precedent for old geezers everywhere by forcing a law firm to remove restrictions on salary for its older partners as they amble slowly to the grave. The law firm of Kelley Drye & Warren’s previous policy required partners to give up their salary and controlling interest in the firm when they hit 70 years old, taking only an end-of-the-year bonus as compensation while still practicing law. Eugene D’Ablemont, a partner in the firm, complained about his forced retirement to the EEOC, who then brought suit against Kelley Drye in 2010. After two years of litigation, Kelley Drye decided that it would be cheaper to settle than continue to wage a court battle. They agreed to drop all pay reductions due to age from their policies and will pay D’Ablemont about $570,000. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, though it’s kind of a dubious reward for those of retiring age. If I’m still kickin’ around at age 70, the last thing I’d want to spend my time doing is practicing law at a law firm, however lucrative the pay may be.Google+