News & Commentary

October 22, 2019

Vail Kohnert-Yount

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

Accounting giant Ernst & Young is under fire for a seminar it held for women executives at the height of the #MeToo movement in June 2018. A 55-page presentation used during the day-and-a-half training on women’s “leadership and empowerment” was leaked to the Huffington Post, which  revealed the curriculum was full of sexist stereotypes. One segment compared women’s brains to “pancakes,” which “soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus,” and men’s brains to “waffles,” which makes them “better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.” At the time, EY had just reached a settlement with a partner at the firm who alleged discrimination and retaliation after she was sexually assaulted by another partner, who EY fired only after she went public with her complaint. The firm said the program has been canceled.

The Association of Flight Attendants endorsed Senator Ed Markey in his bid to keep his seat, against challenges from Representative Joe Kennedy, labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan, and businessman Steve Pemberton in the Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary. The union’s president, Sara Nelson, said in a statement, “He fights every day like our pain is his pain. He demands results because real people fuel his fight.” Markey has also picked up high-profile endorsements from labor-friendly politicians including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Meanwhile, Kennedy has gathered endorsements from local organized labor, including IBEW Local 103, Teamsters Local 25, and the Massachusetts State Council of Machinists, and Liss-Riordan was endorsed by six IBEW locals early in the race.

A disciplinary hearing began this week to determine whether Indiana’s attorney general will have his law license revoked after a professional misconduct complaint alleged he groped four women in public last year. Attorney General Curtis Hill denied the allegations, made by one state lawmaker and three legislative staffers who say that he touched their backs or buttocks during a party celebrating the end of the 2018 legislative session. The four women said that the reporting procedures do not “adequately protect” employees and filed a lawsuit against Hill in June.

A Bloomberg Law review of federal district court data found a notable rise in wage-and-hour lawsuits filed by exotic dancers. Exotic dancers filed 406 suits from 2005 through September 2019, and nearly two-thirds were filed in the last five years. So far, 2019 has had more than twice the rate of filings from the previous year. Of the 299 cases resolved, more than half ended in settlement, but dancers won 13 of the 15 cases that went in front of a judge or jury.

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