Monday, December 4, 2017

How This Messed Up World Creates Business For Discrimination Lawyers

Since November last year, I have noticed an increase in racial discrimination and harassment, sexual harassment, and other discrimination cases.  It makes me sad.  Every day some famous man is fired for engaging in years of sexually harassing os sexually abusive conduct.

I believe that most people are kind, compassionate and giving.  But those other ones, the minority of folks who are insecure, inhumane, and petty, are sure more visible right now.  Most men do not treat women in the vile ways of Matt Lauer, Louis CK, Harvey Weinstein and the like.  But, there are enough people who abuse power, who are evil, who denigrate others, that we have a serious societal dilemma.

I know we, collectively, are better than this.  I hope so, anyway.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

[Editor’s note] Yes, Lynne has an editor, now. She’s been occupied, fighting for truth, justice and fairness. She’s back now. Watch this space for an update on the continuing struggle.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Justice Because of the Uncommon Courage of Regular People

I came across some news items that make me think of the role of employment discrimination cases in our society. Companies, like all people, tend to look out for their best self interest, be it personal, financial, or simply business. Discrimination verdicts can cause employers to change their attitudes of what makes a valid business decision.

There was a case against a large chain of restaurants whose management turned a blind eye to vile sexual harassment, eventually leading to a large plaintiff's verdict. Post-judgment, that company now recruits employees, while advertising its generous benefits and safe working conditions. 

There was another company that retaliated against its employees for blowing the whistle on unlawful discrimination. Now that company is touted as “spoiling” its employees with generous perks and fair work conditions.

There was another major company, one of the largest in the world, whose managers at one time told disabled applicants,  “We don't hire people like you.” Now that company is regarded around the world as a leader in workplace fairness and accommodations for the disabled. 

None of these companies would have changed their practices were it not for costly discrimination verdicts and settlements.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” In reality, the force that brings about justice is a civil one, brought about by conscious action of the brave employees willing to stand up for their rights.

Which leads me to another of my favorite quotes, “People do the right thing if you make them."  I am thankful for my clients, who, with uncommon courage, in some small but important way, have helped to bend the arc of history toward justice.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

You neo-nazis and white supremacists are evil.

I have been representing African-Americans and others in protected class against discriminatory employers for many years, and what is going on now with our fake president is unprecedented. "There are good people marching with the neo-nazis and kkk?" Really? Not in my book. I guess those "good" people did not consider annihilation of Jews and subjugation, lynching and raping African-Americans as evil acts.  "White supremacist" boys will be "white supremacist" boys, right?  And those  confederate "rebels" who wanted to perpetrate slaverym with its concomitant violence, rape, and cruelty, well, they weren't really traitorous monsters, were they?  You neo-nazis and white supremacists are evil.

Our fake president lives in a world I cannot fathom.  He has no moral core.  He is infantile, narcissistic and insecure.  He has emboldened the worst in our midst, many of whom are trolls on the internet and may troll my blog.  They are the cowards among us, too afraid to lend their names to their racist, anti-Semitic and sexists troll posts.  You neo-nazis and white supremacists are evil.

As I have written before, I have seen an uptick in racial harassment claims since our fake president was elected.  I guess I may benefit financially from all of the hatred, since this outrageous conduct is more apparent and easier to prove in court.  However, I would rather the world be filled with caring and compassion rather than hatred and bigotry. You neo-nazis and white supremacists are evil.

All of you neo-nazis, white supremacists and internet trolls, some of whom will be responding on either my blog or Tony's, I have a few questions for you.  What made you be so afraid and hate-filled?  Did your mother not love you enough?  Are you so insecure that you fear people who you deem are different than you?  Are you simply a sociopath, caring only about yourself with the inability to feel empathy?  Why are you so despicable?  You neo-nazis and white supremacists are evil.

We must be intolerant of hatred and bigotry.  Look what happened in Germany, and in this country before the Civil War.  Sometimes there really is good vs evil, and you neo-nazis, white supremacists and kkk'ers are evil.You neo-nazis and white supremacists are evil.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The NAACP's Travel Advisory - Discrimination in Missouri

Much has happened in the last year that directly affects Missouri’s African-Americans, women, the disabled, religious minorities and older people.  Donald Trump was elected and then Missouri passed and Governor Greitens signed a draconian bill rolling back hard-fought civil rights.  

Since the presidential election, there was an uptick in racist rants on social media and in the public.  For some people, it seems to be okay to publicly show their vilest racist side, and they seem to be emboldened by the Trump presidency.  I see the increased overt racism daily in the calls my office gets from prospective new clients.  Up until recently, white people’s use of the “n” word was rare, the word had become anathema to civilized society.  But now, I have several race discrimination cases where the ‘n’ world is hurled at African-Americans with abandon.  My docket of race discrimination cases has markedly increased since the election, as well as harassment against gays and Lesbians.

But, it is not only the election of  President Trump, an admitted sexual assailant, that coincides with increased harassment cases.  This past legislative session, Governor Greitens signed SB 43 which rolls back protections for minorities and women in Missouri.  Missouri is the first and only state to go backwards in civil rights.  The new bill prohibits holding individuals accountable for racist, sexist, ageist actions.  The NAACP has issued a travel warning for Missouri as a consequence of the bill’s passage.  It’s a sad state in our nation where we stop protecting people from discrimination and harassment.

Before the change in the law, discrimination had to be a “contributing factor” for an adverse action to be compensable.  The Missouri Legislature recently changed the contributing factor standard to requiring that unlawful discrimination be “the motivating factor,” which increases the burden on those harassed to prove liability.  That, coupled with the elimination of individual liability, makes a race or sex or age discrimination case enormously more difficult to bring.  The change in the law is akin to arguments about whether a well is poisoned.  If a little bit of poison is mixed in a well full of water, it is undrinkable.  The well need not be filled with a 100% solution of poison for it to be tainted.  The law gives license to employers to fabricate non-discriminatory reasons for their actions.  A portion of racist or sexist behavior is now acceptable, although is anathema to this nation’s historic goal of equality.

As you might imagine, discrimination laws with less enforcement capabilities give a green light to those who want to overtly discriminate based on race, sex, or age.  The sexual harassment cases I have taken has also increased.  While individuals who are discriminated against have far less protection, they are still flocking to seek counsel.

With the election of Trump and the passage of SB 43, my caseload is growing.  I guess, even though it is against my personal financial interest, I would prefer to be out of business because racism, sexism and ageism become a thing of the past.  It looks like I will have work to do for many, many years to come.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Trump - I've Seen His Kind Before

Years ago I represented a brave woman who spoke truth to power. She sued a powerful man and his bizarre wife for race discrimination. As the case progressed, the couple kept digging holes for themselves.  They made self-destructive statements to the press, in their depositions and in public. They were their own worst enemies. Ultimately, they were defeated not by me nor by my client, but by themselves and their own imprudent actions.

Donald Trump, with his tweets and his media interviews, is his own worst enemy. Telling Lester Holt that he fired Comey to stop the Russia investigation was foolhardy.  Trump's tweets show who he really is, an insecure man, demanding allegiance. His skin is so thin it's surprising his organs don't just burst out.  Trump is filled with both hubris and doubt.

If Trump's fate goes the way he is heading, he is going to do himself in politically. Ignorance, coupled with insecure hubris, if there can be such a thing, will get him in the end. I hope he doesn't take us with him.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Covfefe Is Everywhere

There is covfefe everywhere, and I have just about had enough of it. Every day, from the White House to state legislatures, we are knee deep in covfefe. It's spring. Usually at this time we are surrounded by petunias, lilies, roses, but due to our governmental dysfunction, the world is covered in nasty covfefe. What vile creature excretes this nasty waste?

If we don't get some good, upstanding, honest covfefe cleaners, I fear we are lost. Covfefe is already filling the landfills, the trash heaps and the capitol.  The stench of covfefe pervades Washington, D.C., Jefferson City, Missouri and many state capitals. We were taught that the U.S.was special.  The land of the free and the home of the covfefe-less brave. Not so.

If we can get rid of this covfefe, we stand a chance. In fact, covfefe is actually manufactured in Russia. That's what I hear. Take your stinking covfefe back to the Russkies.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Easy to Be Hard by Three Dog Night

This song's lyrics keeps going through my head after the Missouri Legislative Session:

Easy to Be Hard from the musical Hair, covered by Three Dog Night

  "How can people be so heartless
   How can people be so cruel
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about being proud
How about I need a friend, I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
You know I'm hung up on you
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
Especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about being proud
How about I need a friend, I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be proud, easy to say no
Easy to be gone, easy to say no
Come on, easy to get read
Easy to say no
But too easy to be cold
Easy to say no
But too easy to say no"
Songwriters: Galt Mac Dermot / Gerome Ragni / James Rado
Easy to Be Hard lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Get Affordable, Great Health Insurance With Pre-existing Conditions

Do you need health insurance and you, like many others, have pre-existing conditions?  Screw Trump and Congress. Here is what you should do:

1.  Apply to be a "community" or "visiting" student at a college like the University of Missouri-Kansas City or whatever is local to you. No need for transcripts, etc. just get permission to take a course for credit. (I have taken the History of Rock and Roll, Physics for Non-Majors, and Women's Studies, Ancient Classic Literature, and in the fall, a photography class.)

2.  Enroll in the course. Take the class.  Make sure the college provides health insurance for domestic students.  An added benefit is learning new things. A three credit hour class costs about $1000 a semester at UMKC.  

3.  Sign up for domestic student health insurance. At UMKC it is with Aetna. You can sign up per semester, or on August 15, for a year. The annual cost is approximately $2500. The insurance is great, since most people in the group are 18-22 year olds. $4500 per year (a class for 2 semesters, plus the insurance) averages $375 per month, about half of what comparable insurance costs for me, a 64 year old, under Obamacare, assuming no government subsidy. 

The student health insurance for an older non-smoker ineligible for subsidies, like me, is much better than Obamacare, and cheaper, and not subject to political whimsy.  I paid less than $2500 for great health care coverage for an entire year, as compared to $800 per month with the ACA.  Check out the college of your choice. I bet you can find a good deal.