Larry Nassar (NY Daily News: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Tragic Events Involving USA/MSU Gymnastics

**Some of the links in this article contain graphic content**

“Little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”

This was the concluding statement made by Kyle Stephens during her courageous court statements this afternoon at Larry Nassar’s criminal sentencing hearing. As reported on at CNN, “Stephens defiantly stared down Nassar in a Michigan courtroom to inform him that the abuse was over, and his time as a free man was up.”

It’s hard to know where to begin this horrific story, which is sadly still ongoing.

On November 10, 2017, Nassar – who was a doctor for the USA Gymnastics national team for nearly two decades and an assistant professor/team physician at Michigan State University (MSU) for decades as well – pled guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual acts. ESPN reports that Nassar’s crimes involve victims as young as six years old.

It is important to point out that this plea came several months after Nassar pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges, which led to a 60 year prison sentence.

Stephens is sadly one of the many women that Nassar has violated in the past. As NBC News points out, Stephens is just one of the first of “nearly 100 girls and women who are expected to give statements against Nassar,” over the next several days.

In the recent months leading up to today’s court date, high profile athletes (Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney) have come out and publicly stated that they too were abused by their team’s former doctor.

The length of the timespan of Nassar’s actions is truly remarkable, and the Lansing State Journal has a timeline displaying both Nassar’s decades of working with women and young girls and the trail of abuse that he left. However, the timeline is slightly outdated, so click here for more recent information.

By the end of his current sentencing hearing, Nassar will be going away to prison for a long time, but the trail of tragedy that he has left behind him was not forged by him alone.

A man who has had over 100 different women file lawsuits filed against him, with some of those lawsuits stating that Nassar was sexually abusive in the early 1990s, most likely does not maintain positions of power within USA Gymnastics (attending four olympic games) and MSU for so long without help from high-profile enablers.

John Barr and Dan Murphy wrote the following in their article for ESPN The Magazine:

Understanding how Nassar gained unfettered access to young girls and young women over the course of a quarter-century — despite repeated warning signs — means confronting an uncomfortable truth: He didn’t gain that access alone. Nassar was surrounded by a collection of adults who enabled his predatory behavior — a group that included coaches of club, collegiate and elite-level gymnasts, the USA Gymnastics organization, medical professionals, administrators and coaches at Michigan State University, and gymnasts’ parents, whom he groomed just as effectively as those he violated. Now that so much of the Nassar tragedy has been exposed, a lingering question remains: Were each of those enablers complicit or simply conned by a man described as a master manipulator?

Journalists are not the only ones calling for questions to be answered by those who worked with Nassar in his previous places of employment.

During her appearance on Outside the Lines this afternoon, Aly Raisman called for there to be an investigation into the USA Gymnastics administrative handling of this controversy.

Additionally, several weeks ago, Gretchen Whitmer, a former prosecutor who is running to be the 2018 Democratic nominee for Michigan governor, not only called on the MSU president to resign but also publicly requested to the Chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees that a “thorough independent investigation [take place] into the Nassar crimes and all other related offenses.”

(The image at the top of this post is from the NY Daily News: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Headline Highlights are intended to provide quick details regarding recent news stories. Please feel free to seek further information through the contact tab above.

JG

 

 

Remembering Dr. King’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail

Since the poll I put out on Instagram yesterday ended in a tie, I thought it would be more worthwhile to use today’s post discussing one of America’s most memorable civil rights advocates: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

While today is designated primarily as a day of service and remembrance in Dr. King’s name, it is also intended to be a day of discussion. Thus, below are three of my favorite quotes from one of MLK’s most memorable works – Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

1) Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. 

MLK used this powerful statement in response to a criticism he faced while protesting segregation in Alabama. Some of the white religious leaders in the South felt that it was inappropriate for King to conduct demonstrations in Alabama, and they labelled him as an outsider who was seeking to cause confrontation in their neighborhoods. This sentiment was of course not only factually inaccurate, but it was also morally mistaken. Factually, according to his letter, King was invited to Alabama by a local affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization in which King was the president. Morally, King understood that the interconnectedness of American culture meant that “whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly,” and thus, the intense segregation that was taking place in Alabama needed to be addressed for both residents of the state and citizens of the nation.

2) In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. 

In contrast to some of the other civil rights activists of his time, MLK was a strong supporter of non-violent activism. In Birmingham, as well as the many other cities in which he sought to address racial inequities, Dr. King began his reform efforts by attempting to negotiate change with the political and economic leaders of the city. Once he and his team realized that not enough of these leaders were willing to negotiate, Dr. King organized direct, non-violent, action in an effort to drive these individuals to the negotiating table. While seeking to avoid violence, King was not afraid of being controversial: “I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, but there is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth … the purpose of action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”

3) There are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.” 

Whenever activists for reformed laws engage in civil disobedience a certain type of irony takes place. As MLK writes in his letter, “one may well ask, ‘how can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others [which outlaw segregation]?” In answering this question, Dr. King acknowledges that, unlike people, not all laws are created equal. He writes, among other qualification, that “an unjust law is a code inflicted upon a minority which that minority had no part in enacting or creating because it did not have the unhampered right to vote. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up the segregation laws was democratically elected?” In this manner, King establishes a position similar to the message preached by our nation’s Founding Fathers regarding representation and tyrannical rule. With these sentiments in mind, King was willing to protest against the laws of Birmingham while knowing that engaging in such actions risked time in jail. Thus, the image at the top of this post is not one of a man who committed a wrong act in Alabama; it is a picture of a man who was committed to setting things right in Alabama at all costs.

Of course, Dr. King said much more in the many influential speeches and writings that he made throughout his life. He also said a lot more in this specific letter; he called out violent activists within his community, and he strongly criticized “the white moderate” community.

MLK’s letter can be read in full here.

Poll for tomorrow:

Lavar Ball (Photo Credit CNN)

Lavar Ball Sued While The Army And NHL Feud

Weekend Wrap-Up

Last Week’s Articles:

Google Sued for Allegedly Discriminating Against Women & Men

Trump vs the 25th Amendment

DOJ Withdraws Obama Administration’s Marijuana Guidance

US Military Challenges Las Vegas Golden Knights’ Name and Color Scheme

 

Things I Missed:

New Indictments Could Implicate Hilary Clinton

Judge Blocks Trump’s DACA Plans

Big Baller Brand Lawsuit

 

Weekend wrap-ups are designed to highlight the stories discussed over the past week and draw attention to some news stories that haven’t yet been discussed.
Army Files Complaint Against Golden Knights

The US Military’s Most Recent Target…The NHL?

This week, ESPN reported that the “United States Army filed a challenge with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Wednesday, saying the Vegas Golden Knights’ name is associated with the military branch.”

The filing, which can be read in full here, begins by stating that the “Department of the Army (“Opposer”), an agency of the United States Government … believes it will be damaged by registration of the mark Las Vegas Golden Knights.”

Background Information

For those of you who need some context, the Las Vegas Golden Knights are a team in the NHL which was recently established. Their logo consists of vintage looking military headgear with a color scheme of black, gold, and gray (though their jerseys also consists of a sliver of red).

So what exactly is the problem?

Well, “since at least 1969,” the army has maintained, and continues to use, a trademark under the name Golden Knights. The army’s mark is in connection with its parachute team, which is known as the Golden Knights, and public relations/recruiting materials which utilize a nearly identical color pattern as the Las Vegas hockey team.

The army’s challenge states that the NHL team “has not claimed any colors for use with the mark in [their] application,” and that the army “has acquired exclusive rights in the mark that predates any rights upon which [the NHL team] may rely” because of its “longstanding, widespread, and continuous use of its mark.”

What makes this case particularly interesting is that the majority owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, Bill Foley, graduated from the US Military Academy in 1967. While Foley has publicly written that the “development and use of the name Vegas Golden Knights was based upon Nevada being the largest gold producing state in the country and the golden tones of the Las Vegas strip,” there are just a few problems with that line of defense.

First, that statement may explain why Foley decided to use the term golden, but it does not explain his determination to use the term knights. In fact, Foley was arguably more passionate about using the word knights in his team’s branding, as he reportedly filed trademarks for not only the “Golden Knights,” but also the “Silver Knights,” and the “Desert Knights.”

Second, Foley’s statement was published after it became widely known that the military was actively looking into Foley’s team.

Third, Foley’s defense does not explain why he did not wait for approval from his alma matter, but he did clear the use of the name with Clarkson University, a small school in Potsdam, New York, whose sports teams are referred to as the Golden Knights. This decision is highly questionable, given the fact that the uniforms worn by Clarkson’s hockey team look nothing like the Las Vegas team’s jerseys, yet the army’s use of its trademark incorporates nearly identical colors to Foley’s team.

Lastly, previous statements from the hockey team’s General Manager, George McPhee, which were made at the time of the hockey team’s big reveal of their uniforms, contradict Foley’s statement. At the time, The Washington Post reported that McPhee stated the following when asked about the team’s color scheme:

Bill Foley is a West Point guy, sort of using those colors,” Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee said. “You know his history at West Point. You know about the classmates he had that he lost serving this country. So, those colors mean a lot to us, and will mean a lot to our players. And we’re really proud of the logo. It’s clean, it’s symmetrical, it’s kind of bold, and again it stands for something.

No mention of Nevada’s gold production was reported on in that article.

Likelihood of success?

While the impetuses behind the decision making of the hockey team’s top personnel can easily be called into question on this matter, the damages cited by the military seem pretty far fetched in certain portions of their filing.

Page 7 contains the following, relatively weak, challenges that the military claims it will be burdened with if the Las Vegas Gold Knights continue on as their are currently:

If [the hockey team] is allowed to register exclusive rights in Las Vegas Golden Knights in connection with entertainment services, namely, professional ice hockey exhibition services, the public is likely to be confused as to whether the U.S. Government or the [hockey team] controls the quality and nature of the services or endorses or sponsors [the hockey team’s] services

[The army] believes it will be damaged by the registration of [the hockey team’s] proposed mark because it so resembles [the army’s] mark as to be likely to cause confusion, mistake, or to deceive consumers, with consequent injury to [the army] and the public.

[The army] believes it will be damaged by the registration of [the hockey team’s] mark because it so resembles [the army’s] Golden Knights as to falsely suggest a connection between [the hockey team and the army] or between [the hockey team’s] services and [the army’s] services, with consequent injury to [the army] and the public. 

I think it is safe to say that nobody in America believes that Marc-Andre Fleury is an agent of the US Government; and it’s probably also a fairly reasonable belief to think that those who buy NHL stamped tickets are not under the impression that they are going to see the army’s parachute team perform at the T-Mobile arena against the Edmonton Oilers.

That being said, the Las Vegas team did reportedly register and use the mark “without the consent, authorization, license, or permission of the army” (as stated in point 22), and the team’s use of the mark may likely lead to the dilution of “the distinctive quality of [the army’s] famous Golden Knights mark” (as stated in point 25).

However, I find it hard to believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board will force the NHL’s latest expansion team to entirely rebrand itself based on the evidence provided in this challenge.

Headline Highlights are intended to provide quick details regarding recent news stories. Please feel free to seek further information through the contact tab above.

JG

Is The Justice Department Reversing Obama’s Marijuana Policy?

The headlines these days sure make it sound like that is the case, but a closer look at what Attorney General Jeff Sessions actually did last week would suggest that the new policy’s words do not substantively differ from those of the old one. For today’s Throwback Thursday, let’s talk a look at how tensions have gotten so high over the most recent marijuana directive coming out of Washington D.C.

The Obama Administration

Prior to looking at Sessions’ recent actions it is worth noting the context that was established by President Obama’s administration.

On August 29th, 2013, Deputy Attorney General James Cole sent out a memorandum from the Department of Justice (DOJ) which was addressed to all United States attorneys under the subject heading “Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement.” This document is now commonly known as the Cole Memo.

The Cole Memo and the multiple other guidance documents that preceded it under Obama’s administration were noteworthy, because they established a stated policy on what federal prosecutors should do when they came across an ever-increasing legal dilemma: federal law passed by Congress (such as the Controlled Substances Act [CSA]) has “determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime,” however more and more state laws are enabling the use and distribution of marijuana to varying degrees.

Thanks to the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution, such dilemmas are often not dilemmas at all, since federal law takes priority over contradicting state law. However, given the United State’s history with what has often been referred to as the Drug War, the Obama administration sought to ease the enforcement of what it believed to be heavy-handed drug laws to minimize federal expenses and optimize the judicial branch’s limited time and resources.

Hence, the Cole Memo.

What Does The Cole Memo Actually Say?

Unlike what many of the political pundits have been saying, the text of the Cole Memo did not legalize marijuana at the federal level. In fact, this guidance document outwardly stated that the “Department of Justice is committed to enforcement of the CSA consistent with” the determinations about marijuana that are quoted above.

What made the Cole Memo a defining policy initiative of the Obama administration is that it called upon federal prosecutors to utilize what is often called prosecutorial discretion when faced with a case involving marijuana in a state that permitted the marijuana-related conduct that was in dispute.

Under the Cole Memo’s directives, preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing “the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal” under their own law – in some form – to other states, preventing “drugged driving,” and preventing “marijuana possession or use on federal property” were all still priorities of the DOJ on paper.

Outside of those priorities, and the several others that were listed in the memo, Cole wrote that the federal government would “on a case-by-case basis” appropriately rely on the states and their local enforcement to handle marijuana related conduct through strict and vigilant enforcement of their own narcotics laws. For example, pages 3-4 of the memo state the following:

The Department’s guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health, and other law enforcement interests. A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice. Jurisdictions that have implemented systems that provide for regulation of marijuana activity must provide the necessary resources and demonstrate the willingness to enforce their laws and regulations in a manner that ensures they do not undermine federal enforcement priorities. (emphasis added)

In short, critics of this document felt that it was an abuse of prosecutorial discretion, and supporters felt that it fell in line with the traditional prosecutorial relationship between the state and federal government on such matters. Either way, the Cole Memo itself did not federally legalize marijuana; even its closing paragraph states that “neither the guidance herein nor any state or local law provides a legal defense to a violation of federal law, including any civil or criminal violation of the CSA.” (emphasis added)

So what exactly did Sessions do?

On January 4th, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released his own memorandum from the DOJ which was addressed to all United States attorneys under the subject heading “Marijuana Enforcement.”

In this new memo, Sessions echoes Cole’s statements regarding the federal laws that are still on the books and therefore in need of enforcement by the DOJ: “[The Controlled Substances Act] reflect Congress’s determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity is a serious crime.”

In short, this memo was a much less detailed one page version of the Cole Memo. It lacks Cole’s lengthy discussion of how discretion should be applied to states, but it does state that federal prosecutors ought to use discretion in their enforcement of federal marijuana-related laws:

In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the Department’s finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions … These principles require federal prosecutors deciding which cases to prosecute to weigh all relevant considerations, including federal law enforcement priorities set by the Attorney General, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community.

What has raised some peoples concerns is that Session’s memo calls for the previous guidance documents sent out during Obama’s presidency to be immediately rescinded, and, viewing Sessions as a proponent of reigniting the federal war on drugs, these individuals fear that this memorandum is the first step toward targeting states that have legalized marijuana.

It is worth pointing out that Sessions’ new guidance document is already having local effects, as the US attorney for Massachusetts just recently stated “that he would not rule out criminal prosecutions of participants in the state-regulated marijuana business,” according to the Boston Globe. Of course, such prosecutions could have taken place under the Cole Memo as well.

However, while concerns regarding a renewed war on drugs may currently to some people be justified, channeling those concerns at Jeff Sessions is not.

It is the job of the attorney general and the DOJ as a whole to play by the rules that Congress creates. As seen in the text of the Cole Memo, federal laws need to be enforced regardless of where a certain presidential administration falls on the political spectrum.

If people have a problem with how the federal government is dealing with its marijuana laws, our constitutional system is designed to have them take their grievances to the branch that makes them, not the one that enforces them.

Throwback Thursday posts are intended to show how a specific legal issue has changed over time. If you have any further questions, please contact me through the tab above.

JG

President Trump

Will The 25th Amendment Take Trump Down?

For those of you who do not feel like reading a break down of constitutional law, I can give you the short answer: it is incredibly unlikely. However, some political pundits and journalists are still claiming that the 25th Amendment ought to be invoked.

Why was the 25th Amendment created?

Prior to getting into the details of the 25th Amendment, it is important to understand the context behind it. As written by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII), the 25th Amendment was originally proposed by Congress and later ratified by the states following the shocking assassination of President Kennedy, and it became highly relevant in political discourse when it was used multiple times in the 1970s after President Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

Given its late addition to the Constitution, the 25th Amendment has obviously not been a part of federal politics for the majority of American history; nevertheless, the questions that the amendment addresses have often come up throughout our nation’s existence.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) offers the following background information on the amendment:

The Twenty–fifth Amendment was an effort to resolve some of the continuing issues revolving about the office of the President; that is, what happens upon the death, removal, or resignation of the President and what is the course to follow if for some reason the President becomes disabled to such a degree that he cannot fulfill his responsibilities? The practice had been well established that the Vice President became President upon the death of the President, as had happened eight times in our history.

[However] seven Vice Presidents had died in office and one had resigned, so that for some twenty per cent of United States history there had been no Vice President to step up. But the seemingly most insoluble problem was that of presidential inability—Garfield lying in a coma for eighty days before succumbing to the effects of an assassin’s bullet, Wilson an invalid for the last eighteen months of his term, the result of a stroke—with its unanswered questions: who was to determine the existence of an inability, how was the matter to be handled if the President sought to continue, in what manner should the Vice President act, would he be acting President or President, what was to happen if the President recovered. (emphasis added)

President Trump vs The 25th Amendment

The following is a bullet-point list of how the 25th Amendment answers the questions discussed in CRS’s breakdown, and, as stated above, those who are ardent advocates of Trump’s removal may not find the answers that they are seeking.

  • Section 3 of the amendment states the following:
    • “Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”
      • In plain English, section 3 means that Vice President Pence can become president if the President pro tempore of the Senate (Orrin Hatch) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Paul Ryan) receive a letter from President Trump stating that he is unable to continue to serve. Anybody that knows the slightest bit about Trump’s personality can easily foresee the slim probability of this situation arising.
  • Section 4 of the amendment accounts for situations in which the president does not transmit a written declaration of his/her inability to serve. The first portion of section 4 describes an alternative method of removal in the following manner:
    • “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”
      • In short, an alternative means of removal can commence if Pence and a majority of President Trump’s Cabinet (or a body established by Congress) send a letter to Senator Hatch and Representative Ryan stating that Trump is unfit to serve. In such a scenario, Pence would become president as long as Trump does not counter the initial written declaration.
  • The remainder of section 4 explains what happens if the president maintains that he/she is still fit for the White House despite the beliefs of the vice president and the president’s cabinet/a body established by Congress:
    • “Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.”
      • Put simply, if President Trump were to write his own letter to Senator Hatch and Representative Ryan denying the assessment of Pence and a majority of his cabinet (or a body established by Congress), then he would once again become president. However, if another letter is sent by Pence and a majority of Trump’s cabinet (or a body established by Congress) again denying Trump’s fitness to serve, then the determination must be made by Congress. If two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives vote that Trump is unfit, then Pence becomes president, otherwise Trump will stay in office.

To summarize, the 25th Amendment’s power to remove the president has two pathways to Trump. Either Trump can decide for himself that he is unfit for office, or Congress must take part in a burdensome process that requires a higher level of votes than impeachment proceedings.*

Given the current status quo in D.C., for those who believe that President Trump needs to be removed from the White House, I would suggest expressing such a desire through the ballot box as opposed to expressing it through invocations of the 25th Amendment.

 

*While the impeachment process also requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate to be completed, it needs only a simple majority vote of the House to commence

Deep Dives are intended to be detailed analyses of specific legal questions/court cases. This article should not be read to imply that the president ought to be removed, rather it is a hypothetical analysis of how the 25th Amendment could take part in such a removal process. Please feel free to contact me through the tab above with any further questions.

JG

Google

Google Discriminates Against Women AND Men?

It has been a rough start to 2018 for Google. Just eight days into the new year, the giant tech company has been faced with two major lawsuits alleging widespread discrimination.

Lawsuit Involving Discrimination Against Women

On January 3rd, the class-action lawsuit which accused Google of willfully paying women less than men was revised and refiled in California.

Originally filed in September 2017, the lawsuit was initiated by four former Google employees – Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, Kelli Wisuri, and Heidi Lamar – on behalf of themselves and their “similarly situated” peers at Google. According to The Register, last month, the judge involved in the case ordered the plaintiffs to “rewrite the complaint as the original covered ‘all women employed at Google,’ and was deemed too broad.”

The revised lawsuit narrows its allegations of discrimination to six categories of employment at Google: Software Engineer Covered Positions, Software Manager Covered Positions, Engineer Covered Positions, Program Manager Covered Positions, Sales Covered Positions, and Early Childhood Education Covered Positions.

The central claim of the lawsuit is that Google has violated and continues to violate the California Equal Pay Act by paying women in these positions less than men for “substantially equal work … or for substantially similar work.”

Additionally, the lawsuit also alleges that Google has violated and continues to violate the Unfair and Unlawful Business Practices Act through, among other actions, “assigning women to lower ‘levels’ (i.e. salary bands) than it assigns men … assigning women to jobs that do not compensate as highly as those populated largely by men [and] promoting women more slowly and at lower rates than it promotes men …”

Some of the most damning statements against Google can be found in the early pages of this lawsuit:

While Google’s policy is that levels should correspond to duties and responsibilities as well as salary, that is not the case; in reality, women in Covered Positions often perform substantially equal or substantially similar work as men in the level above them.

At all relevant times, Google has known or should have known of this pay disparity between its female employees in Covered Positions and male employees performing substantially equal or substantially similar work, yet Google has taken no action to equalize its male and female employees’ pay for substantially equal or substantially similar work. Google’s failure to pay female employees the same compensation paid to male employees for substantially equal or substantially similar work has been and is willful.

The OFCCP’s [Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program] analysis of Google’s compensation data for all 21,000 employees at its Mountain View Headquarters for the year 2015, “found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.” OFCCP’s analysis showed six to seven standard deviations between pay for men and women in nearly every job classification in 2015. Two standard deviations is considered statistically significant; six or seven standard deviations means there is a one in 100 million chance that the disparity occurred randomly or by chance. (emphasis added)

Lawsuit Involving Discrimination Against Men

On January 8th, James Damore and David Gudeman also filed what is intended to be a class action lawsuit against Google, but the classes involved in this complaint are quite different than the ones listed above.

Damore and Gudeman are claiming in their lawsuit that Google discriminates on the basis of “Political Class Period,” “Gender Class Period,” and “Race Class Period.” Specifically, these men are bringing this “class action on behalf of themselves and on behalf of a class and subclasses defined as all employees of Google discriminated against” due to their “perceived conservative political views … their male gender … [and] their Caucasian race.”

Damore’s name may sound familiar.

Last summer, the Google employee wrote a memo regarding the differences between male and female engineers. The memo’s thesis was that “differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership.” In full, his memo was deemed extremely controversial, and Damore was fired shortly after authoring it.

Again, some of the most critical claims are levied against Google in the beginning pages of this lawsuit:

Damore, Gudeman, and other class members were ostracized, belittled, and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males. This is the essence of discrimination—Google formed opinions about and then treated Plaintiffs not based on their individual merits, but rather on their membership in groups with assumed characteristics.

Google employees and managers strongly preferred to hear the same orthodox opinions regurgitated repeatedly, producing an ideological echo chamber, a protected, distorted bubble of groupthink.

… 

Google created an environment of protecting employees who harassed individuals who spoke out against Google’s view or the “Googley way,” as it is sometimes known internally. Google employees knew they could harass Plaintiffs with impunity, given the tone set by managers—and they did so.

Google employs illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates, and openly shames managers of business units who fail to meet their quotas—in the process, openly denigrating male and Caucasian employees as less favored than others.

Not only was the numerical presence of women celebrated at Google solely due to their gender, but the presence of Caucasians and males was mocked with “boos” during company- wide weekly meetings(emphasis added)

 

First Lawsuit – Click Here

Second Lawsuit – Click Here (be sure to check out the exhibits at the end of this lawsuit)

Headline Highlights are intended to provide quick details regarding recent news stories. Please feel free to seek further information through the contact tab above.