Weekend News & Commentary — September 9-10, 2017
The Trump Administration’s announcement that it plans to end DACA has understandably been the topic of the moment (see our coverage here and here). At the Atlantic, Priscilla Alvarez profiles the fears and challenges “Dreamers” face in light of the announcement. “Where can ‘Dreamers’ put their trust?” Jose Antonio Vargas queries in a New York Times opinion piece this weekend. Vargas’ article similarly captures the perspective of the many young people who feel jilted by the announced policy change.
Another New York Times piece describes the employee-led efforts at Google which revealed that women employees are paid less than male employees at the tech giant. About 1,200 Google employees compiled salary and bonus information for 2017. The data show that women are paid less than men on average, particularly in mid-level positions, and that men employees tend to receive larger bonuses. The insights gleaned are qualified by the fact that the data was compiled by employees representing only about 2% of Google’s global workforce.
Last week, the 11th Circuit ruled that breastfeeding is a medical condition protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). In Hicks v. Tuscaloosa, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 16-13003, Stephanie Hicks (a police officer) was transferred from a narcotics task force to a patrol division eight days after returning from medical leave for giving birth. Upon Hicks’ doctor’s recommendation to Hicks’ supervisor that wearing a bulletproof vest all day, as was required on the patrol division, could lead to infections which would interfere with Hicks’ ability to breastfeed, Hicks was given the choice of either wearing no vest or a larger one (rather than being transferred to a different position). The court found that the failure to accommodate Hicks’ breastfeeding amounted to a constructive discharge. Notably, there is a circuit split on this issue—the 5th Circuit has also found that the PDA covers breastfeeding, while the 6th Circuit has held that it does not.