October 31 | October
18 | September 18
| August 31 | July
23 | March 7 | February
20 | February 15 | January
The issue of genetic discrimination is starting
to become a major issue that Congress is beginning to address.
A bill getting a lot of attention, the Genetic Nondiscrimination
in Health Insurance and Employment Act, H.R. 602, sponsored
by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), has been criticized by some
in the business community for being too broad in its definition
of "genetic information" and creating the possibility
of unlimited liability for employers and health plans. The legislation,
with 255 sponsors, would prohibit health plans and insurers
from discriminating in enrollment, eligibility, contribution
rates, and premium rates based on genetic information. It also
would make it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate
based on protected genetic information.
Text of H.R. 602: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.602:
Co-sponsors of H.R. 602:
To view a full copy of the latest
Watch Report in PDF format, please visit:
News and Analysis of Major Legal and Policy Issues Affecting
the Private Sector written by Daren Bakst, Policy Counsel,
- Raymond J. LaJeunesse of the National Right to Work Legal Defense
Foundation recently testified to Congress concerning Beck enforcement.
Find his testimony here: http://www.nrtw.org/b/rjltestimony.htm.
- Read John Irving's paper on the re-employment
rights of members of the armed services and reserves HERE.
August 31, 2001
Reversing himself, a federal judge has ruled
that states and their agencies are immune from suits under Title
II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the section that
covers discrimination by any "public entity" in its
provision of "services, programs or activities."
Judge Harvey Bartle III of the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania had previously refused to dismiss
Jones v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, saying that a "strong
majority" of the federal appellate courts had concluded
that states have no 11th Amendment immunity under Title II.
But Bartle said he was forced to reconsider his ruling after
the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Board of
Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett in which the
justices held that states are immune from suit under Title I
of the ADA, the section that covers employment discrimination.
July 23, 2001
by Eugene Volokh, from http://www.reason.com
June 4, 2001
Workplace harassment law, the nation's number-one form of speech
code, has taken yet another step toward controlling what we may
read and say. Libraries, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission has just ruled, may be breaking the law if they dare
to give adult patrons complete and unfiltered Internet access.
March 7, 2001
- University of Alabama at Birmingham Board of Trustees,
et al. v. Patricia Garrett, et. al.,
On February 21, 2001 the United States Supreme Court decided
the consolidated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cases filed
by two state employees against the State of Alabama. A registered
nurse, Patricia Garrett, and a security officer, Milton Ash, alleged
violations of the ADA because the state employer would not accommodate
their disabilities. Alabama argued that it should be immune from
such suits, and while the District Court agreed, the Court of
Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed this decision.
Following a familiar five-to-four split decision pattern, the
United States Supreme Court reversed and held that the Eleventh
Amendment barred state employees from suing a state employer for
damages under Title I of the ADA. The Chief Justices majority
opinion was joined by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia,
Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Justice Kennedy, joined
by Justice OConnor, also filed a concurring opinion. Justices
John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined
Justice Breyer's dissenting opinion. The Court declined to consider
the Title II claims (relating to access to programs).
The Court found that the Eleventh Amendment barred these claims
for monetary damages because Congress lacked the power to create
substantive rights pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment. Rather,
Congress could enact remedial legislation that prohibited otherwise
lawful state conduct only where there was pattern of constitutional
violations by the states. The ADAs legislative record failed
to establish such a pattern. In effect, the Court ruled that the
instances of discrimination were not sufficiently numerous to
constitute a "pattern" of conduct by the states. Thus
the Court did not reach the issue of whether the particular discriminatory
acts in the legislative record arose to the level of "irrational"
discrimination precluded by the Cleburne decision. See
Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc., 473 U.S. 432
(1985) (holding that legislation that discriminates against the
disabled must meet "rational basis" review).
The Courts ruling was limited to the portion of the ADA
requiring employers to make "reasonable accommodations"
for disabled employees, but may foreshadow future decisions regarding
accessibility of government services and programs. Title II claimants
will find it difficult, in light of Garrett, to show that
Congress had an adequate record of a pattern of constitutional
violations by the states against the disabled. This ruling continues
a trend in recent Supreme Court Eleventh Amendment decisions limiting
the power to Congress to create substantive rights pursuant to
its powers under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.
February 20, 2001
Regulations" Affect Affirmative Action, Government Contractors
- On November 22, 2000, the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia ruled that a large international
union can no longer force railroad and airline employees nationwide
to endure a burdensome annual objection scheme in order to reclaim
forced union dues used for politics. The ruling was issued in
a federal class-action lawsuit National Right to Work Legal Defense
attorneys filed last February in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia for six United Airlines passenger
service employees against the International Association of Machinists
& Aerospace Workers (IAM). On October 12, 2000, the court
had allowed the case to be maintained as a class action on behalf
of more than 1000 nonmembers forced to pay dues to the IAM as
a condition of employment under the Railway Labor Act. Lutz v.
IAM, 196 F.R.D. 447 (E.D. Va. 2000). Under the IAM's scheme, union
officials required railroad and airline employees to file an annual
written objection to paying forced union dues for politics, instead
of allowing employees to make their ongoing objections known only
once. The court held that "the annual objection requirement
fails First Amendment scrutiny because the requirement is without
a valid justification and imposes an undue burden that creates
a risk that funds 'will be used... to finance ideological activities
unrelated to collective bargaining.'" Lutz v. IAM, 121 F.
Supp. 2d 498, 507, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17360 (E.D. Va. 2000)
(quoting Teachers Local 1 v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292, 305 (1986)).
The court reasoned that the union's "refusal to honor continuing
objections imposes an unjustifiable barrier for nonmembers seeking
to maintain a status quo ante of objecting nonmembership, and
instead has, as a default, the unconstitutional exaction of fees."
Raymond J. LaJeunesse, Jr.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.
8001 Braddock Rd., Suite 600
Springfield, VA 22160
(703) 321-8510 or (800) 336-3600
FAX (703) 321-9319
February 15, 2001
January 16, 2001
2003 The Federalist Society