We are deeply saddened and grieve the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a fearless champion and brilliant jurist who dedicated her life to fighting for gender equality and providing equal treatment to all under the law. She is an inspiration to us in her steadfast belief that the power of the law can and should be used to help drive necessary social change. Her philosophy paved the way for our work as a gender justice legal organization in many ways, including in her important recognition that discrimination against women hurts everyone in society and that supporting male caregivers is critical to supporting all families.
Judge Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York issued a decision striking down key regulatory restrictions on the ability of workers to use their emergency paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General’s office challenging elements of the Department of Labor’s regulations that significantly impair the ability of workers to use their rights. As the New York Attorney General remarked on Twitter of this decision, “This is a major victory for workers across New York and our entire nation.”
July 26th marked 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—a groundbreaking law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, housing, and public spaces. Since its passage, the ADA has led to transformative changes in our workplaces and communities. Critically, the law guarantees workers with disabilities a right to the reasonable accommodations they need to stay healthy and working. Unfortunately, too many workers have been unable to access the protections they are legally entitled to under the ADA.
With many schools, camps, and child care facilities closed, millions of parents are left making impossible choices between raising their kids and earning a paycheck. This is not an individual issue. This is a systemic issue. And Congress must act now to put systems in place to support working parents.
In reaching this decision, the Court adhered to its precedent, having found a nearly identical Texas law unconstitutional in the 2016 case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. This case is undoubtedly a victory, ensuring that those most impacted by these bans including low-income women, women of color, trans & non-binary people of color, and those in rural communities will retain access to critical services, but also serves as a reminder that we were only one vote away from precedent being overturned. More than that, attacks on reproductive health remain rampant.
June 19th marks the day in 1865 that Major General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that enslaved people in the U.S. were freed, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Juneteenth has since become a popular annual day of reflection and a celebration of freedom and resilience within the African American community, particularly across the South.
A Better Balance is saddened and outraged by the ongoing, racist police and vigilante violence against Black people across the country, and we join Black leaders nationwide in demanding justice and meaningful reform. As we mourn for the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many others, we join over 400 other organizations in calling on Congress to address the police killings and violence against Black people, and to swiftly pass meaningful police reform legislation.
In the midst of COVID-19, pregnant workers and new moms, especially those on the front lines or returning to workplaces as states re-open — deserve more than our gratitude this Mother's Day. They deserve better laws and policies, and, importantly, they need to feel empowered to advocate for their needs and rights. That’s why, day in and day out, we are supporting countless pregnant women and new moms facing uncertainty and fear as the pandemic rages by listening, taking action, and empowering workers to know their rights.
You're invited! Please join A Better Balance Co-Presidents Dina Bakst and Sherry Leiwant, with special guest U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, for a discussion of today's legal landscape for workers and families and the critical next steps we must take to ensure their protection, both during this crisis and beyond.
As the way we work continues to evolve, the number of people working in ways that do not fit within traditional employer/employee frameworks is likely to grow. Yet our laws have not caught up. As the way we work continues to evolve, the number of people working in ways that do not fit within traditional employer/employee frameworks is likely to grow. Yet our laws have not caught up. Though legislation has been introduced to extend additional coverage, the leading federal employment antidiscrimination law, Title VII, does not apply to independent contractors.