For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrea Hansen
Barrett’s Record Clearly Shows Her To Be A Threat To The Working People Of This Country.
Washington, D.C. – October 15, 2020 – The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the nation’s largest legal association whose members exclusively or primarily represent workers, strongly opposes the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. The organization is urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Barrett’s confirmation in what has been a desperate play to jam through another conservative judge to stack the deck against everyday Americans.
NELA conducted a comprehensive review of Barrett’s record as a circuit judge and found that she sided with corporations and employers over working people in more than 80 percent of employment-related cases. Barrett’s abysmal record includes cases in which she:
- Concluded that a Black employee who was called the “N word” in his workplace had not established that he faced a hostile work environment.
- Voted against rehearing a case that upheld a defendant’s practice of assigning employees to driving routes based on their race.
- Ruled that the “disparate impact” provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not apply to job applicants, only
“Working people deserve better than Judge Barrett.”
NELA strongly opposes the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. NELA, along with a sizable majority of Americans polled, believes that there should be no confirmation of the Court’s next Justice until after inauguration day in 2021. Early voting in the November election is underway; this important decision should be left to the next president and Senate, after the people have spoken.
A comprehensive review of Judge Barrett’s record makes it abundantly clear that she is a threat to the working people of this country and the civil rights protections for which so many have fought.
Judge Barrett’s decisions reflect an utter failure to grasp the realities of the workplace for regular, everyday working people. She sided with corporations and employers over working people in 83 percent of the employment-related cases reviewed.
These are just a few examples of Judge Barrett’s disregard for worker protections:
Barrett authored the opinion in Terry Smith v. Illinois Department of Transportation, concluding that a Black employee who was called the “N” word in his workplace had not established that he faced a hostile work environment.
BY ELECTRONIC MAIL
Mr. Christopher Poole
Chief Executive Officer, JAMS
5 Park Plaza Suite 400
Irvine, CA 92614
Re: Accountability for Racism at JAMS
Dear Mr. Poole:
The National Employment Lawyers Association (“NELA”) and its related charitable organization, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (“The Institute”) write to express deep concern about the racist views that were circulated by and then defended as a piece worthy of discussion by former Judge Richard Neville, who was until recently a JAMS neutral. NELA and our 69 circuit, state, and local Affiliates, comprising over 4,000 members across the country, are following your response with interest. We note, the communications only came to light as the result of a public filing, NRA v. JAMS.
The writing that Neville circulated, which he sent out by email using a signature block identifying him as a JAMS neutral, has rightly been described as “abhorrent” and “indecent.” We further agree that it is shocking that a former member of the judiciary would disseminate such material and, when called on it, defend it as being worthy of discussion or consideration, without any direct rejection of the content. It is beyond credible debate that the content … Read More
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrea Hansen
Arbitrator’s dissemination of racist content exposes the threat of concealed prejudice among “neutrals”
Washington, D.C. – September 8, 2020 – The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the nation’s largest legal association whose members exclusively or primarily represent workers, and its related charitable arm The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy, are urging JAMS, a private dispute resolution provider, to conduct a full assessment of all discrimination cases overseen by Judge Richard Neville. Neville recently distributed via email to 39 recipients a racist essay contending the inferiority of Black Americans. He has since left JAMS.
As a JAMS neutral (arbitrator), Neville decided case outcomes, including employment discrimination cases, many of which are before JAMS instead of a court due to forced arbitration clauses imposed by employers on their employees. Now his neutrality on previous cases, particularly those related to discrimination or involving people of color, must be called into question due to his legitimizing of discriminatory beliefs. Neville’s willingness to share racist rhetoric with colleagues, including another JAMS neutral, under his JAMS email signature also raises concerns about whether the culture at the organization ignores or harbors racism.
While NELA and … Read More
Unilaterally rolled out by EEOC Chair, “pilot” projects hinder employee rights in discrimination cases
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrea Hansen
Washington, D.C. – August 17, 2020 – The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the nation’s largest legal association whose members exclusively or primarily represent workers, today urged EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon to discontinue two pilot programs that limit the rights of those who suffer from workplace discrimination, such as sexual harassment or race discrimination.
The impacted programs – conciliation and mediation – are forms of dispute resolution intended to encourage settlement rather than litigation. Despite the EEOC’s mission to prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination, the proposed changes favor employers by limiting investigation, potentially hiding systemic discrimination on the part of a particular employer or industry, and weakening the employee’s ability to obtain relief from the discrimination and fair monetary damages.
While labeled “pilot” projects, with respect to the conciliation program the modifications were implemented nationwide, a departure from typical EEOC protocol. The pilots were executed unilaterally by Dhillon, without input from the other EEOC commissioners on the bipartisan commission. With respect to the changes in the mediation program, there is no plan to increase the number of … Read More
Janet Dhillon, Chair
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
RE: EEOC Conciliation and ADR Pilot Programs
Dear Chair Dhillon:
The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) respectfully writes to urge you to discontinue the Conciliation Pilot Project initiated on May 29, 2020 and the Mediation Pilot Project initiated on July 6, 2020 and to abandon the proposed changes to both the Conciliation and the Mediation programs at the EEOC. The changes contained in these pilots have profoundly limiting impact on the rights of working people who seek redress for workplace discrimination.
NELA is the largest professional membership organization in the country comprised of lawyers who represent workers in labor, employment, wage and hour, and civil rights disputes. NELA empowers workers’ rights attorneys through legal training, promoting a fair judiciary, and advocating for laws and policies that level the playing field for workers. NELA has filed numerous amicus curiae briefs before the United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts regarding the proper interpretation of federal civil rights and worker protection laws; provided comments on relevant Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) for federal agencies whose policies impact working people; and engages in legislative advocacy on behalf … Read More
In Landmark Ruling, U.S. Supreme Court Finds LGBTQ Workers Are Protected Under Title VII
“An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”
The Supreme Court ruled today that an employer who discriminates against an individual on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark decision for LGBTQ workers.
The majority opinion in the 6-3 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, GA (consolidated with Zarda v. Altitude Express Inc. and Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC), was authored by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
The opinion was largely based on the text of Title VII. As the majority notes:
“In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. … Read More
National Employment Lawyers Association And The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy Joint Statement On The Long Road To Racial Justice In This Country
NELA and The Institute express our profound outrage and sadness regarding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others in this country who have lost their lives because of the color of their skin.
We can never accept brutality and inequity. As workers’ rights advocates, we see every day the insidious ways racism and bias strip people of their human rights, rights to equal pay, equal treatment, and even the right to feel safe at work. NELA and The Institute will never accept institutionalized exclusion and oppression of Black people; the results of this injustice are born out in pay disparities, poverty and unemployment levels, and health and health care disparities that have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We share the anger and sorrow of our communities. We share the responsibility and the labor for blazing a different trail, and recognize this as a call to an even greater commitment in our work and lives.
NELA and The Institute were founded to strengthen the legal system to better … Read More
To the Members of the Advisory Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments concerning possible rule amendments that could be helpful in future national emergencies. I write as the National Employment Lawyers Association’s liaison to the Advisory Committee. This letter contains NELA’s comments. We believe that adoption of these comments could, in general, improve cost and efficiency in discovery and certain court hearings. But, in particular, adoption of these comments would allow cases to continue forward even if the courts were closed due to a national emergency. These suggestions are meant to be neutral, i.e., their adoption should not result in giving advantages to one side.
Our procedure was to examine the existing language in certain rules and propose either new language or commentary. We begin with rules concerning discovery and continue with certain rules concerning hearings, oral arguments and bench trials.
I. Depositions and Subpoenas
Whether during an emergency or in the normal course, Rule 30 allows for depositions to be taken by telephone or video conference. Rules 28, 29 and other parts of Rule 30 should be interpreted to facilitate efficient, less costly and effective depositions by telephone or video conference.
… Read More
Rule 28 sets
Re: National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) Opposes Nomination of Cory Wilson to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Dear Chair Graham, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
On behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), and its 4,000 circuit, state, and local affiliate members across the country, we write to express our strong opposition to the confirmation of Mississipi state court judge Cory Wilson to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. NELA is the largest professional membership organization in the country comprised of lawyers who represent workers in labor, employment, and civil rights disputes. Founded in 1985, NELA advances employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace. Our members represent plaintiffs in employment cases in every circuit, including the Fifth Circuit to which Judge Wilson has been nominated. Our members and the thousands of clients they represent afford NELA a unique perspective on how judicial decisions impact the daily lives and the rights of working people.
At the outset, we wish to register our dismay that at this time, the Senate is moving forward with consideration … Read More