The Price of Discrimination Is Getting Cheaper Each Year

I have always thought it contradictory that we proclaim strong national policies against intentional discrimination in the workplace but then cap the damages available to victims of discrimination. If we are serious about our commitment to preventing discrimination at work, we must abolish existing statutory caps on compensatory and punitive damages.Under the maximum statutory cap now in place, a victim of employment discrimination cannot recover more than $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. Only employers with 500 or more employees are subject to this maximum cap. Smaller employers enjoy caps substantially lower.A jury is never told of the damages cap. A jury may find that $1 Million is the appropriate amount of compensatory and punitive damages, only to see a judge slash its award down to the statutory cap. Worse, the caps were set in 1991 and were not indexed to inflation. $300,000 awarded in 1991 is only about $177,000 in today's dollars. For an award in 2013 to have the same value as a $300,000 award in 1991, it would need to be about $500,000. Congress, by failing to index caps to inflation, has been steadily lowering the price of discrimination in the United States, and has been handing...

Toomey filibusters Womens’ Paycheck Fairness Act

To the Women of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: My name is Patrick Toomey and I am your United States Senator from the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Here I am in my best charcoal gray and red tie. I am pointing because I am a serious man, and behind me is the Flag of our Nation. I believe in the Flag and the Constitution it represents.Perhaps I should qualify that. You see, while I am generally a serious man, I am not serious about pay equality for women. And while I believe in the Constitution, I am not a big fan of the Equal Protection clause. That's why on Wednesday, I joined my fellow Senate Republicans and unanimously voted against advancing the Paycheck Fairness Act.All Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, but they are Democrats and my job is to block whatever they try to do, at all costs.The bill I filibustered would have banned the practice of salary secrecy for all workers, about half of whom are either forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with coworkers. For the general workforce, women who work full-time, year-round make 77 percent of what the same men make. The bill would also have...

Democrats seek to reverse anti-worker Supreme Court ruling

Why do the five ultra-conservative members of the Supreme Court - Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito - seek to undermine the United States' Civil Rights Laws at every opportunity? Because those laws conflict with their right wing ideologies. And once again, Congress is being called on to pass corrective legislation to restore the rights of ordinary American workers.U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); Rep. George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee; and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to recently introduce legislation to give American workers the opportunity to succeed free of workplace harassment. The Fair Employment Protection Act corrects the error of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Vance v. Ball State University, which significantly weakened the ability of workplace harassment victims to seek legal recourse. The legislation restores workplace protections weakened by the Vance decision to ensure that Americans harassed on the job by supervisors and those with authority to direct people’s day-to-day work are treated fairly and receive the justice they deserve.‎"Promoting fair and open workplaces is essential to ensuring that millions of hardworking Americans find good jobs...