News & Commentary

June 12, 2018

Vail Kohnert-Yount

Vail Kohnert-Yount is a student at Harvard Law School.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided yesterday that most victims of domestic violence may no longer apply for asylum in the United States. Immigration law allows the attorney general to singlehandedly reverse a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, and Sessions used that power to overturn four years of precedent. The new policy will lead to the deportation of many domestic violence survivors to their home countries, where they are likely to face continued brutality and even death.

Activists in two major Texas cities have gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures to put paid sick leave ordinances on the ballot this November. In San Antonio and Dallas, Texas’s second- and third-largest cities respectively, workers and advocates are hoping to require private employers to offer paid sick leave to all workers. Austin voters passed a similar ordinance in February, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a coalition of business lobbyists are suing to stop from taking effect later this year.

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on sexual harassment and workplace misconduct in the federal judiciary. A report issued by a group of judges and administrators convened by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts—notably, including no recent clerks—to examine the judiciary’s policies on sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct found inappropriate behavior was “not pervasive in the judiciary,” but also “not limited to a few isolated instances.”

Finally, a coalition of 14 law schools released the results of a survey of law firms that recruit on their campuses regarding their use of forced arbitration agreements, which require associates and other staff to waive their right to sue if they experience illegal treatment, including sexual harassment, at work. The results show that reveal that some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious law firms are still requiring new associates to submit to forced arbitration without notice. Nearly half of surveyed firms didn’t respond.

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