Saturday, August 01, 2015

Crashed

 My laptop crashed and until it comes back from the computer hospital I will not be blogging ��

Friday, July 31, 2015

It’s Against My Religion!

More and more people are saying that they have a right to discriminate because their religion gives them that right.
Balancing Freedoms in the WorkplaceA recent lawsuit filed in Michigan raises questions about how an employer can balance employees' religious freedoms with employees' sexual orientations.Human Resources Online
By William Atkinson
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Former Ford Motor Co. engineer Thomas Banks said in a federal lawsuit filed in early July that the automaker and an employment services firm both violated his religious freedom when they fired him for posting an anti-gay comment on Ford's website.

Banks, who describes himself as a Christian, worked at Ford for three years on assignment from Rapid Global Business Solutions, an employment service firm.

In July 2014, in response to a Ford intranet article celebrating the 20th anniversary of a group fostering an inclusive workplace for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, Banks posted a comment saying, among other things, that Ford has no place promoting sodomy and immoral sexual conduct. Banks also claimed that the article was an assault on his religious beliefs.
We are going to see this more and more in the workplace. I know of one case where an employee refused to wear an Ally sticker on her badge because if her religion and she used male pronouns when she was assigned a trans woman client. The company policy is that they treat all their clients the same; with respect and dignity.

The article goes on to say,
Does this case have implications for employers beyond those who are involved in this specific case itself?

Many legal experts would say yes.

"I think there will be a run of lawsuits which will claim that the application of the right of a homosexual couple to marry is an unconstitutional infringement on a person's or business owner's religious freedom," says Emilee Boyle Gehling, an attorney with Goosmann Law Firm in Sioux City, Iowa.
[…]
In light of the Banks case, Sasser [chief counsel for Liberty Institute a conservative organization] believes that employers should be careful to review calls for the company to participate in "social issues of the day," to ensure that the company is ready to handle the conversations that such issues may create within the workplace. "Second, employers should train supervisors about Title VII and its implications for people of all faiths, in order to ensure that supervisors treat with care the intersection of social issues the company is promoting and religious objections," he says. "Employers should acknowledge that religious liberty is protected, and that conversations and issue resolution techniques are far superior to taking punitive action against a religiously-motivated employee."
I see many more of these cases coming forward as companies become more inclusive they will start butting heads with religious conservatives who feel that they have a right to discriminate.

It should be interesting to see what happens with that case worker, does she have a legal right to be disrespectful to their clients? Or does the company have the right to require employees to treat all clients with respect and dignity?

Why Does It Always Take A Lawsuit

It seems like it always takes a lawsuit for a business to do the right thing. Here in Connecticut a police officer was harassed and discriminated against but the city is playing hardball.
Middletown files nonsuit motion against fired transgenderofficer
The Middletown Press
By Brian Zahn
July 30, 2015
  MIDDLETOWN >> Francesca Quaranta, a former Middletown police officer who was fired for exhausting all her leave time from the force, must defend against motions to dismiss two lawsuits she brought against either the city or a city board.
  In an ongoing suit, Quaranta, a transgender woman who began her transition while employed with the department, initially alleged discrimination from the city and various police employees.
  The city moved for a nonsuit on July 23, saying Quaranta would not revise her suit after an April 13 court order claimed she did not have the jurisdiction to allege discrimination from individual defendants. The basis of the claim was they were not mentioned in her application to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Motion after motion it seems like the city is doing everything to stall the case from being heard. As one commenter said that it will probably be cheaper to just give her the pension than to pay all the lawyers.

Meanwhile down in New Jersey,
Transgender Newark teacher files suit claiming advocacy ledto firing
NJ.com
By Dan Ivers
July 30, 2015
  A longtime former Newark schools employee has filed suit against the district, claiming she was repeatedly faced discrimination because she is a transgender woman.
  In her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in February, Christine Hamlett alleges that she was passed over for promotions and was subjected to other unduly harsh treatment before eventually being fired in 2013.
  The termination marked the end of a 42-year run working for the school district, after being hired as James Hamlett in 1970. She worked as a social studies teacher in various schools before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 1983, according to the complaint.
And of course the school filed a motion to dismiss,
Attorneys for the district have filed motions to dismiss two of the suit's three counts for wrongful discharge and breach of contract, and a ruling is expected soon, according to Hamlett's South Orange-based attorney Christina Bennett. Hamlett is seeking unspecified damages.
Why does it always take lawsuits to get people to do the right thing?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

In The Courts Again

Down in Huston HERO is back in the courts and this time we lost. The case was heard in the Texas Supreme Court,
Texas Supreme Court Throws Out Houston's LGBT Protections
The ruling comes three months after a judge ruled that opponents of Houston's controversial non-discrimination ordinance failed to force a repeal referendum.
The Advocate
By Dawn Ennis
July 24, 2015

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that city leaders must either repeal its controversial equal rights ordinance, enacted in May 2014, or place it on the November ballot, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"We agree with the Relators that the City Secretary certified their petition and thereby invoked the City Council's ministerial duty to reconsider and repeal the ordinance or submit it to popular vote," said the Texas Supreme Court, in what is called a per curiam opinion. "The legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored."
[…]
Texas's high court sided with City Secretary Anna Russell who earlier said enough signatures were gathered to force a repeal measure on HERO be placed on an upcoming ballot. The city's out mayor, Annise Parker, disagreed with Russell and said many of the signatures were invalid.
The media in Huston has been against us, the Huffington Post writes,
The "sexual predator" talking point has been thoroughly debunked by law enforcement experts, government officials, and advocates for sexual assault victims in states and cities that have had laws like HERO on their books for years. Non-discrimination laws don't make sexual assault legal, and sexual predators don't decide to act based on whether a local non-discrimination ordinance exists.

That kind of irresponsible coverage continued after HERO's passage, as the push to put the ordinance on the ballot gave way to an intense legal battle. Houston's Fox affiliate continued to uncritically repeat the bogus "bathroom" myth, and before long, Fox News' national network took notice. Led by Mike Huckabee, the network turned the fight in Houston into a national conservative rallying cry, peddling myths about HERO and misrepresenting legal proceedings to stoke outrage. Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined Huckabee in using the controversy to establish his social conservative bona fides. By November of 2014, thousands of activists were descending on Houston to rally against HERO and demand a public vote.

But that didn't stop local media outlets in Houston from uncritically repeating the "bathroom" myth in their reporting on HERO. Opponents' talking points permeated local news coverage of the ordinance, resulting in a public debate that focused on conservative fearmongering rather than anti-LGBT discrimination…
[…]
That kind of irresponsible coverage continued after HERO's passage, as the push to put the ordinance on the ballot gave way to an intense legal battle. Houston's Fox affiliate continued to uncritically repeat the bogus "bathroom" myth, and before long, Fox News' national network took notice. Led by Mike Huckabee, the network turned the fight in Houston into a national conservative rallying cry, peddling myths about HERO and misrepresenting legal proceedings to stoke outrage. Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined Huckabee in using the controversy to establish his social conservative bona fides. By November of 2014, thousands of activists were descending on Houston to rally against HERO and demand a public vote.
I have said many times that human rights should never be put to a popular vote because they tend to impose bigotry on a marginalized minority. There is a history of ballot referendum taking away basic human rights, in the majority of states where women suffrage was on the ballot it was voted down, marriage equality was made illegal by constitutional referendums in states, and non-=discrimination laws were repealed by referendums. Will the citizens of Huston do the right thing or will the bigots win?

The Battle Begins

On Sunday I wrote about Facebooks policy on “Real Names” and how it hurts trans people and now Germany has taken on Facebook.
Germany Takes On Facebook’s ‘Real Name’ Policy
ThinkProgress
By Lauren C. Williams
July 30, 2015

German privacy regulators determined Facebook’s controversial “real name” policy violates individual privacy rights under the country’s data protection law and that consumers can use pseudonyms if they choose.

The Hamburg data protection authority said Tuesday the social network could no longer force users to provide government documentation such as passports, drivers licenses, and other ID forms to verify their Facebook account and use the site.

“As in many other complaints against Facebook, this case demonstrates that the network wants to enforce the so-called real names policy with no regard to national legislation,” said Johannes Caspar, the agency’s commissioner, adding that pseudonyms are permitted under German law and “the unauthorised modification of the pseudonym … blatantly violated the right to informational self-determination and constitutes a deliberate infringement of the Data Protection Act.”
Of course Facebook is not taking this sitting down,
Facebook disagreed. “We’re disappointed Facebook’s authentic name policy is being revisited, since German courts have reviewed it on multiple occasions and regulators have determined it fully complies with applicable European data protection law,” a spokesperson said in a statement to ThinkProgress. “The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people’s privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they’re sharing and connecting with.”
Too bad we don’t have laws like Europe, but it would have to get through the Republican Congress where businesses can do no wrong.