Employment Law in a Recession: Gawker’s Unemployment Stories Analyzed


Gawker runs a weekly series of letters from readers called Unemployment Stories. The stories are touching and informative. Some themes have been discussed elsewhere ad nauseum–the longer one is unemployed, the less likely one is to get a job; student loans and health care debt are crippling; unemployment breeds severe depression and often substance abuse; race and sex discrimination happen.

But the Gawker stories also reveal some less obvious ways our employment laws are either failing us or simply being ignored. Let us count the ways: Continue reading

Catholic School Fires Woman for Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization

A woman in Indiana was fired from her job as a Catholic school teacher for using in vitro fertilization. Her situation manages to implicate virtually all of the recent topics on this blog — discrimination based on reproductive choices, specifically pregnancy-related, the ministerial exception to federal anti-discrimination laws, and disability discrimination. Whoa boy.

Emily Herx was fired from her job at a Catholic school for undergoing in vitro fertilization, which the school appeared to think was very un-Catholic, as well as “grave and immoral.”  Continue reading

Advice on Landing a Job, If You Happen to be Male/Young/White, etc.

The economy is a wreck, and everyone’s looking for a job. The unemployment numbers for blacks and Hispanics continue to outpace that of whites.  If you think the disparities are all about education levels, think again. Discrimination complaints at the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) are at an all time high. While not every  complaint is valid, it’s a good bet that discrimination in hiring is affecting a large number of job seekers.

A recent  article on LearnVest reveals just how flawed the hiring process is. While the article reads like advice, the real lesson is that hiring decisions are permeated with bias and the opportunity to discriminate. Continue reading

Birth Control Discrimination in the Details Part II: What’s Pregnancy Got to Do With it?

This is a three-part follow up on a piece I wrote for Slate magazine on whether discrimination against people taking prescription birth control is illegal under federal anti-discrimination law.

What does pregnancy have to do with birth control? Clearly, there is some overlap: women take birth control to avoid becoming pregnant, only women can become pregnant, and only women can take prescription birth control. The latter two facts may change at some point in the distant future, but at the moment, they hold true. Continue reading