Weekend News & Commentary — December 2-3, 2017

Published December 3rd, 2017 -  - 12.03.174


On Saturday morning, the Senate passed the Republican tax bill.  The bill is projected to amount to tax cuts of approximately $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.  Supporters of the bill claim it will fuel economic growth and create jobs.  Critics claim the wealthy are the bill’s sole beneficiaries, and that the deep cuts will stall economic growth.  Labor unions have expressed skepticism over the Trump Administration’s claims that the bill’s deep tax cuts would result in salary increases.  The Tax Policy Center, an independent organization, said the bill would add $1.2 trillion to the federal deficit over the next ten years.

This week, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released the findings of its first investigation into employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.  The report, which compiled the most recent studies on LGBT employment discrimination, found that there is a history of employment discrimination against LGBT individuals by both public and private employers.  The report also concluded that federal data inadequately captures instances of LGBT employment discrimination.  The Commission also found that inconsistencies among state law, federal law, and court decisions have led to both inconsistent and insufficient protection for LGBT employees.  To address these inadequate protections, the Commission suggests that Congress enact federal legislation explicitly prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity-based discrimination.  The report also recommends that federal agencies promulgate guidance for private and public employers, and collect more robust data about workplace discrimination.

In response to numerous allegations of sexual assault within the entertainment industry, Women in Film, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group, has set up a help line for people to report cases of sexual assault.  Women in Film is assembling a team of lawyers who would offer pro bono legal services to victims.  The organization is also developing a system to track complaints and identify offices and individuals that are repeatedly the subject of sexual assault allegations.  Women in Film felt the need to create a resource for victims after recent allegations proved that talent agencies, actor’s guilds and human resources departments were either unable or unwilling to protect victims.

The New York Times examined the efficacy of New York City’s paid parental leave policy.  Two years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new paid parental leave policy for city employees that provided six weeks of paid parental leave at 100% of employees’ salaries.  However, the order does not provide leave for all city employees.  The order defined employees as the approximately 20,000 public employees who hold managerial positions, leaving out hundreds of thousands of other public employees.  Only 436 of the 20,000 eligible employees have used their paid parental leave since the program’s creation.  The city claims that offering paid parental leave to every city worker who required it would be prohibitively expensive.  Unions claim that the city would not lose money, but actually save money by providing comprehensive parental leave.

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