Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Nationwide and the Eighth Circuit Court, denying Ames’ petition for a review of her case’s dismissal. The trial court’s decision — which the Circuit Court upheld — said that for Nationwide’s firing of Ames for taking time to express milk at work could not have been sexist because under certain circumstances, some men can lactate, too.
“The court’s reasoning in this case echoes old Supreme Court pronouncements that discriminating against pregnant women at work isn’t sex discrimination because both men and women can be non-pregnant,” Sherwin wrote. “Congress long ago rejected this ridiculous reasoning when it passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It’s disheartening to see it resurface again.”
The Court also found that the dismissive statement that Ames should “go home and be with (her) babies” was in fact gender neutral and not directed at Ames because she was a new mother.
Why does this not surprise me? Fuckers.
Wow. This is unbelievably blatant. One thing that really jumped out at me:
It was her first day back from maternity leave and Nationwide denied her access to the company’s “lactation room” for new mothers because they said they needed three days to process Ames’ paperwork, a requirement no one had seen fit to tell Ames about until the day she returned to work.
How common are lactation rooms? Anyway, it seems obvious that if they had a special room for lactating mothers, but refused to let a woman just back from maternity leave use it, that they were deliberately forcing her out. And everything else in the story is consistent with that. It was just overtly cruel treatment.
That court reasoning sounds like an obnoxious joke from an adolescent.
Our little company has a lactation room (just an unused shower room that doubles as our emergency supplies storage room)… (It might be a requirement in California)
Sure men can lactate. Although males lactating is always a sign their hormone levels are completely fucked up in a bad way. Usually pituitary tumors of some kind.
I bet you could even force a man to give birth with enough surgical intervention and externally applied pressure, provided you don’t care about the man’s or infant’s survival.
Does this mean that women shouldn’t have a right to maternity leave at all?
/Pissed off rant.
Get with the times. That hasn’t legally counted as sexism since 1994.
That this sort of utterly ridiculous bullshit spews from the highest court of the land is an incredibly heinous scandal, and one of the most chilling omens so far of irredeemable decadence in America’s social infrastructure.
Abandon all hope, USAnians. The rest of us will grimly cling to what little is left for us.
The SCOTUS didn’t rule, they declined to hear the case. That’s a far cry from condoning it.
While the reasoning seems spurious, the SCOTUS needs only four justices to agree that it’s worth taking on. If there weren’t even that many it hints that there are other factors at play.
Of course, one major factor that often plays out in these decisions is the simple heuristic fact that they can only take so many cases a year, and that means they’ll decline to take certain cases, even if they know that they have merit, for other pressing issues. Sometimes they wait to see if the ruling repeats itself, or if it seems like a one-off. All the cases SCOTUS chooses to take ultimately are important. It’s not just SCOTUS either, other appeals courts decline to hear cases all the time.
I knew an old army lawyer who told me that he once had an excellent, solid case get ruled on by a bad judge, and then simply didn’t get granted the appeal. You basically have to have a case of solid national concern to get heard by SCOTUS. This is part of why it really is up to the voters to pass strong legislation that doesn’t have a chance of getting watered down in court like this, and to get really involved in the legislative process. It’s also SUPER important (more than voting for president) to vote in good judges and prosecutors. You think cops are bad? Bad prosecutors are worse.
Still rates a 9.5 for bogosity.
Slight side-note, not relating to the specifics or the merits of the case:
This story is written horribly, you can’t tell what court ruled what. This is journalism by press release. (It borders on plagiarism, really.) The ACLU’s blog post isn’t very clear on the procedures, but it’s written by someone who knew what they were talking about, and translated by someone who clearly doesn’t over at RS. This sort of stuff used to drive me crazy when I volunteered for a community radio show about environmental issues in my town. It was a show run by good people with no budget, which meant you basically relied on press-releases and official statements in order to do your reporting. This is why ever major corporation worth its stock-price has a “newsroom” now. It’s one of the major reasons why journalism in this country has gotten absolutely shot to hell.
We live in interesting times…
Ixnay the ogiclay! The rabble aren’t going to rouse themselves…
They added a pretty crucial correction as well:
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Eighth Circuit Court's decision claimed men could lactate. That language was included in the district court's decision, not the circuit court ruling. The Eighth Circuit upheld the lower court's decision on other grounds
Just gonna leave this here…
I’m guessing that this particular decision was substantially driven by jerkitude; but there also seems to be a more general fascination among at least some legal types for pretending that what they do is some sort of exercise in deductive logic.
“Was the firing sexist?” Well, ‘sexism’ consists of the unequal treatment of a person on account of their sex, implicitly to their detriment; but there exist men who lactate as well as women who lactate; ergo lactation is not a sex-linked characteristic and firing someone for the same is not an unequal treatment on account of sex; but on account of a non-sex-linked behavior, QED!
And, like much of deductive logic outside of mathematics, this tends to be somewhere between ‘useless’ and ‘actively a mockery of useful’. Probability, population-level numbers, and similar messy, inconvenient ‘empirical reality’ matter.
I’m speechless and have nothing coherent to offer. Seriously, the mind boggles …
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