Welcome to Labor of Law. This week, we’re looking at a new report on women, business and the law—how regulations, or the lack thereof, can create barriers for women. Plus: key leadership posts are filling out at the U.S. Labor Department. And scroll down for the latest legal headlines and who got the work in some big new cases.
➤➤ I’m Erin Mulvaney in Washington, D.C., covering labor and employment from the Swamp to Silicon Valley. Follow this weekly newsletter for the latest analysis and happenings. If you have a story idea, feedback or just want to say hi, I’m at [email protected] and on Twitter @erinmulvaney. Thanks always for reading. Let’s get started.
‘A Watershed Year for Women’
Women’s rights advocates have made strides in the last year, as the collective voices of sexual harassment victims confronted powerful men and drew attention to imbalances in politics, Hollywood and the corporate world. Yet, regulations and laws in the U.S., as well as in other economies around the world, still create a structural barrier to equality, said Reed Smith partner Sara Begley, who spoke at an event releasing the 2018 World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law Report.
“This was a watershed year for women, not only in the United States but around the world. The groundbreaking #MeToo movement elevated the global conversation about obstacles that confront women to a new level,” said Begley (at right), who formerly led Reed Smith’s labor and employment group from 2012 to 2017. She added: “You may hear all these things and say, ‘What are the barriers, what’s holding people back? Don’t we have an equal playing field?’ People in power shape culture and the economy. At this point, the people in power remain men.”
The new report focusing on women, business and the law provided data on legal and regulatory barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and employment in 189 economies. The report looked at a host of issues, including going to court; workplace protections; access to institutions; and providing incentives to work.
➤➤ Only seven economies in the world do not have a paid leave policy, and the U.S. is the only high-income economy in that group, said Sarah Iqbal, program manager of the World Bank Group’s Indicator Development Unit. The other economies include the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Suriname and Tonga.
Countries that give too long of maternal leave or early retirement for women can exacerbate the divide. Meanwhile, some countries, such as France, incentivize both parents to take leave, which helps push the idea of equal child care.
The report says women tend to use leave more than men. Although longer and higher paid leave for mothers has significant benefits, too much time out of the labor force may negatively affect a woman’s career progression and earnings. The report found, “The key to designing leave policies that do not exacerbate gender inequality may be in promoting fathers’ uptake of leave.”
A recent U.S. Census Bureau study found that If a woman has a baby between the age of 25 and 35, her pay will never recover relative to her husband. That gap for men and women, according to the study, is a key time to bulk up on experience and skills and connections. Women who have babies during that time, miss out on that.
“It might be unconscious bias, but when a woman gets pregnant, the company looks at her and thinks, ‘She won’t be here. She won’t return. She’ll have another. She’s not focused. She’s not all the things we need to be a success,’” Begley said. “Women start to fall behind. We need to see more men taking parental leave. It’s critical that we embrace that.”
➤➤ My colleagues have done a lot of reporting in recent days on the big Morrison & Foerster “mommy track” lawsuit. Interested in your thoughts—any insight from your firm or company? Shoot me a note at [email protected].
New & Noteworthy Moves
Michael Avakian was named associate deputy secretary of the U.S. Labor Department. He’ll join the DOL from the Atlanta-based Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine and serve under Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella.
Avakian has been lead counsel to Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors in a closely watched joint-employer case at the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB’s Republican members used the Hy-Brand case to blow up the Obama-era standard—only to have that maneuvering blow up for ethics reasons. NLRB’s inspector general later concluded Trump-appointee William Emanuel, formerly of Littler Mendelson, should not have participated in the Hy-Brand decision.
Meanwhile, DOL Solicitor Kate O’Scannlain, a former Kirkland & Ellis partner, is reportedly preparing to release a memo to the business community about enforcement and interpretation of labor law. O’Scannlain was the keynote speaker last week at a closed-press event in Washington at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Jonathan Berry is leading the Labor Department’s policy office, according to Bloomberg Law. Berry first joined the Justice Department in January 2017 as counsel to the assistant attorney general. Berry formerly was an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and earlier at Jones Day from 2012 to 2015. Bloomberg reported that Berry was chief counsel on President Trump’s transition team.
—> Jackson Lewis PC has hired employment attorneys Shannon Bettis Nakabayashi and Yana Johnson, who will join the firm’s San Francisco office. Nakabayashi is leaving Morgan Lewis and Johnson joins from Morrison & Foerster. My colleague Xiumei Dong in San Francisco has more here on the moves.
—> Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart hired Tamsen Leachman in its Portland, Oregon, office. Leachman joined as a shareholder after about four and a half years at Littler Mendelson. Law360 has more.
Who Got the Work
→ Mike Isabella Concepts and his former employee Chloe Caras reached a settlement in her federal suit alleging sexual harassment at the D.C. celebrity chef’s restaurants. Washington civil rights attorney Debra Katz, who represented Caras, said the deal requires Isabella to enact anti-sexual harassment policies. Virginia-based Demetry Pikrallidas of Pikrallidas & Associates represented the restaurant chain. Neither party would clarify the status of the nondisclosure agreement that employees, according to the lawsuit, were required to sign.
→ Three women filed a lawsuit against Charlie Rose and CBS alleging they were harassed by the host and the network did nothing to stop it. The lawsuit follows accusations about the long-time TV personality. The women are represented by New York-based employment lawyer Kenneth Goldberg of Goldberg & Fliegel. Rose’s attorney is Robert Bodian, managing partner of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo. CBS hired a team from Proskauer Rose.
→ The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached a $2.8 million settlement with Seasons 52 restaurants in its lawsuit claiming the chain discriminated against older job applicants. Darden Restaurants owns the 35 Seasons 52 restaurants targeted. They were represented by a team from Seyfarth Shaw and Akerman. As part of the settlement, the parties agreed to hire Fred Alvarez, of counsel to Jones Day, to serve as the independent compliance monitor. The Silicon Valley-based lawyer will monitor compliance with the settlement terms.
Around the Water Cooler
- Jamie Gorelick of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (above) is leading the internal investigation of Point 72, the New York hedge fund led by Steve Cohen. Lauren Bonner filed a lawsuit in the case and said this year, “Look, we make a lot of money in this business, and there’s no way to mince words about that. But fairness and equality should still apply.” [The New Yorker]
- Can Wigdor’s Jeanne Christensen make Uber pay? Christensen, the sole female partner at the firm, has represented women suing Fox News, The Weinstein Co., and hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen over the past year. [Law.com]
- New Ogletree Deakins director of data analytics talks challenges of labor data. Andrew Cook, the firm’s new head of data analytics, said that with labor data analytics, access and reliability tend to be the biggest challenges. [Law.com]
- JPMorgan has lost another ruling in the U.S. Labor Department’s gender pay discrimination case. An administrative law judge this week ruled against the bank, represented by McGuireWoods. [NLJ]
- In a gender discrimination case, Twitter’s lawyers at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe argue there’s no certifiable class or viable lead plaintiff. Orrick’s Lynne Hermle faced off with San Francisco’s Lohr Ripamonti & Segarich in court Wednesday. [The Recorder]
- Read the NBC Universal legal department’s report on sexual misconduct at the network. General counsel Kimberley Harris led the investigation. [Corporate Counsel]
- Inside the 13-year legal saga with Goldman Sachs. The class certification hurdle is over and it took more than a decade, dozens of lawyers and more than 580 docket entries. And now, the case is just beginning. Kelly Dermody, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, is managing partner of Lieff Cabraser‘s San Francisco office and chair of the employment team. [Bloomberg]
- Fox News named Lily Fu Claffee as general counsel as Dianne Brandi, the company’s embattled executive vice president of legal and business affairs, remains “on voluntary personal leave.” [Law.com]
That’s all for this week. What should be on my radar? Shoot me a note, with story ideas, tips or suggestions: [email protected]
Source: Google News : https://www.law.com/2018/05/10/labor-of-law-barriers-to-gender-equality-dol-leadership-posts-fill-out-plus-who-got-the-work/