LAF Express — September 2013

New LAF Program Manager Mollie Lam Joins AAUW

Greetings! I am thrilled to join AAUW as the new LAF Program Manager. As an attorney with a background in advocacy for women and experience in the federal appellate system, I am excited to continue the Legal Advocacy Fund’s vital work and to expand its reach. I look forward to meeting you face to face, but until then, please feel free to contact me if you have questions about LAF, want to share ideas for our continued growth, or simply wish to say hello. I look forward to working together! — Mollie Lam

Case Support Travel Grant Applications Due October 15

The heart of LAF lies in the courageous plaintiffs whose cases we support and in the wonderful AAUW contributors who make this critical program a reality. LAF Case Support Travel Grants connect AAUW members with current or former LAF plaintiffs who share their stories at AAUW events, in local communities, and at state conventions. Submit your grant applications by October 15 to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.

Supreme Court Rules on Employee Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court released many important decisions in its most recent term, and two of those decisions will negatively affect the rights of Americans in the workplace. In Vance v. Ball State University, the court made it easier for employers to escape liability for discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The court limited the definition of "supervisor" to include only those employees with the power to take "tangible employment actions," such as hiring or firing, against the complainant. This decision means workers will now have a much harder time proving workplace harassment and discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. AAUW opposes limits on a worker’s ability to seek remedies for harassment and discrimination, and we are working with Congress to address this issue through legislation.

In another case, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the court ruled that one of Title VII’s protections for claims of discrimination based on sex, race, or religion did not apply to retaliation claims. The court now holds retaliation claims to a higher standard of proof than it does status-based discrimination claims. Under this ruling, plaintiffs alleging retaliation must meet stricter requirements in order to prove their case. AAUW is working with Congress to restore this worker protection.

These are just some of the stories that demonstrate LAF’s essential work. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to LAF to help balance the scales of justice for women.

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