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Archives for March 2013

“Queen Bee Syndrome” in 2013??

Randy Freking

The “Queen Bee Syndrome” – originally coined in the 1970s – is getting more and more attention as female executives have made controversial decisions (Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer)and published controversial books (Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg).  It has long been believed that women who have reached positions of power would be a mentor to those females who followed, but many believe that something has gone wrong in the professional sisterhood.

Four decades ago, an article in Psychology Today found that women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, this syndrome is alive and well.

The theory is that this generation of queen bees are no less determined to secure their hard-won places as alpha females.  It is indeed ironic: the very women that have complained for decades about unequal treatment now perpetuate many of the same problems by turning on other females.

In employment discrimination cases brought by females, employers often invoke a defense that is disingenuous: that women cannot discriminate against other women.  Just like the fact that older managers can discriminate against older employees, these recent studies demonstrate that anyone can act upon either conscious or subconscious biases, even if those biases are against members of their own “protected class.”

For more information, read the Wall Street Journal article The Tyranny of the Queen Bee and the related article “Office Conflict: Women and the Catty Trap.”

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Proposed Ohio Sales Tax Threatens to Restrict Access to Justice

Charlie McGinnis

Governor Kasich recently proposed an extensive broadening of Ohio’s sales tax to cover many items and services not previously taxed.  One of those is fees for legal services – meaning you could pay more for legal services if this tax is enacted.

This isn’t just a tax imposed at the corporate level.  It would impose an additional burden on individual Ohioans seeking legal services on many levels.  If you are seeking representation to protect your rights as an employee in the work place, having your wills drafted, or seeking damages for personal injury or for any other reasons, Ohio would collect a sales tax on the fees you pay.

Imposing a sales tax on necessary legal services will create an additional barrier for those seeking representation in our legal system. Individual rights in Ohio have already been restricted in recent years with the enactment of various laws effecting amounts you can recover  for your damages in personal injury or malpractice, consumer cases and employee rights.  Increasing the  cost of legal representation through a sales tax serves as a disincentive for individuals and small businesses to seek legal representation.  Large businesses who employ their own in-house counsel for representation would not be taxed.  This widens the divide of access to the court system for individuals and small businesses.

If you are concerned about this proposal and its impact on your rights, please contact your state representatives in Columbus to oppose this change.

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KY Residents Call Your State Rep Today to Oppose SB9

Mark Napier

On Feb. 5, the nursing home industryintroduced SB 9 in the KY Senate. The bill calls for the creation of a medical review panel system to screen proposed malpractice complaints against long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. SB 9 passed the Senate on Feb. 13 with Republicans voting for it and Democrats against it. The bill now moves to the KY House.
Instead of focusing on improving the quality of care for seniors or persons in need of long-term care, the industry is again seeking to avoid accountability. Overall, Kentucky nursing homes need much improvement. Kentucky ranks the worst in the nation in average number of deficiencies per nursing home according to the publication Nursing Home Inspect. And, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare Database, 2012, forty per cent of Kentucky nursing homes rank overall “below average” or “much below average.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal issued an editorial against SB9 (click here).   So did The Lexington Herald (click here).

If you are a Kentucky resident, please call your state representative today at 1-800-372-7181 and urge him or her to vote NO against any bill that reduces accountability for KY nursing homes. To find out who are your legislators, click here.

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Time to Double Down Against the Double Standard

Ann Wittenauer

A lawsuit by a former employee of a Christian college in California reminds us of the continued need for laws protecting women from sex discrimination. A Christian college in San Diego terminated Teri James upon its discovery of her pregnancy. James, who is unmarried, had signed a pledge requiring employees to abstain from extra-marital sex. James claims, however, that after she lost her job, the school offered a position to her now-husband, even though it was aware that he also had engaged in extra-marital sex.

A court in Cincinnati, Ohio recently considered a similar case involving a termination for an extra-marital pregnancy resulting from artificial insemination, Dias v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In that case, when Dias, the computer technology coordinator at two of the Archdiocese’s schools told her principal that she was pregnant, the principal told Dias that she would probably lose her job because she was pregnant and unmarried.

Judge Arthur Spiegel noted that a school’s policy against its teachers engaging in sex outside of marriage might be “valid and non-pretextual [i.e., not a cover up for discrimination]” if it applied equally to men and women. Judge Spiegel recently decided that a jury should be allowed to determine whether the Archdiocese had applied its policies in a gender-neutral manner. Teri James should have the same opportunity to present her case to a jury in California.

To read more about James’ case, click here.

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Yahoo! Telecommuting Ban Bad for Business

Randy Freking

Yahoo’s just announced edict that it will no longer allow employees to telecommute is bad for its business and a reversal of recent trends making it easier for families to balance work/life demands. It’s a strange policy change for a technology company from Silicon Valley. It is estimated that 1 in 10 Americans do some form of telecommuting, and it is recognized as a good business practice by many forward thinking companies.

In addition, the policy change may be unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act if it applies to persons with disabilities. Under the ADA, companies – even Yahoo – must “reasonably accommodate” employees’ disabilities. In some cases, telecommuting is the most reasonable accommodation for employees who are unable to work at a specific location due to a disability.

After deciding to put more pressure on working families, let’s hope Yahoo doesn’t choose to apply the policy in a way that reverses trends that have made it easier for the disabled to earn a living.

For more information about the ban, click here.

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