News & Commentary

October 11, 2017

Melissa Greenberg

Melissa Greenberg is a student at Harvard Law School.

Following a threat from Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, to keep members of his team from competing if they refuse to stand during the national anthem, Local 100 of the United Labor Unions lodged a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.  The complaint alleges that “‘the employer, evidenced by repeated public statements, is attempting to threaten, coerce and intimidate all Dallas Cowboys players on the roster in order to prevent them from exercising concerted activity protected under the act by saying that he will fire any players involved in such concerted activity.’”  Prior to the report of the union’s complaint, ESPN surveyed law professors asking “does Jones, or any other owner, have the right to bench a player for protesting during the anthem? Could such a benching be a violation of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement or, beyond that, could it even be illegal?” While the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement does not mandate players stand during the anthem, Roger Goodell, the league’s commissioner, sent a letter quoting the NFL Game Operations Manual, which states that players “‘should stand at attention, hold helmets in their left hand and refrain from talking'” during the anthem.  The survey’s respondents were divided, but ESPN concluded that the expert opinions leaned toward finding for the owners. Read more from Benjamin Sachs on the players’ rights under the NLRA here.

McKinsey & Company and have released a new study, Women in the Workplace 2017, examining the “state of women in corporate America.”  The study identifies the disparate ways in which men and women view women in the workplace as a key roadblock to women’s advancement.  The study notes,

“Men are more likely to think the workplace is equitable; women see a workplace that is less fair and offers less support.  Men think their companies are doing a pretty good job supporting diversity; women see more room for improvement.  Given the persistent lag in women’s advancement, women have the more accurate view.”

The study also focuses on the challenges facing women of color in corporate America, noting “[w]hen companies take a one-size-fits-all approach to advancing women, women of color end up underserved and left behind.”  More coverage of the report is available from the Wall Street Journal here.

The Supreme Court dismissed  Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, one of the travel ban cases.  The Supreme Court vacated the appellate court’s decision.  In its unsigned order, the Court explained, “[b]ecause that provision of the Order ‘expired by its own terms’ on September 24, 2017, the appeal no longer presents a ‘live case or controversy.”  Justice Sotomayor “dissent[ed] from the order vacating the judgment below.”  The Court had previously cancelled oral arguments scheduled for October 10, 2017.  The Trump Administration issued a new travel ban on September 24, 2017 and the Supreme Court ordered the parties to file briefs addressing whether the promulgation of a new travel ban and expiration of the old one rendered this case moot.  The Court did not take action on the other travel ban case, Trump v. Hawaii.  Read more here.

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