Tag Archives: Law

Letter re Enemy Combatants in Boston

Dear Editor:

In your editorial “Enemy Combatants in Boston,” Review and Outlook, April 22, 2013, you make many sound points regarding Miranda rights due perpetrators of attacks against the American sovereign and the larger role of due process with regard to enemy combatants. You were, however, mistaken about one detail: The Boston Marathon bombing was not the most successful terrorist attack since 9/11, as you claimed. What about the brutal Benghazi attacks on our embassy, every inch American soil in Libya, or the 13 American soldiers killed and 30 injured at Fort Hood in 2009, both attacks inflicted in the explicit name of Jihad?

We can discuss exactly what is the best way to protect American citizens’ civil liberties, or the role of due process in this murky twilight between war and peace. But make no mistake: The U.S. homeland is most certainly part of the terror battlefield. It is Ground Zero.

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, National Security

American Apparel hipster-in-chief sued for sexual harassment, indignant that employees don’t keep quiet

Irene Morales, a young employee at a Chelsea American Apparel, is suing Dov Charney for sexual harassment. According to the New York Daily News, Morales seeks $260M in damages for forced sex acts over a period of eight months when she was only eighteen.

What makes this case so crazy is that according to AA’s response to Morales’s suit, CEO Charney makes employees sign “an agreement to submit any future claims to confidential binding arbitration.” That is: AA makes teen hires sign a contractual promise not to bring any public lawsuits against the company.

AA claims the hush contract was instituted to “protect the privacy interests of employees and former employees, and to prevent predatory plaintiffs and their attorneys from attempting to use the media to extort the company”:

The company intends to file a formal complaint with the NY state bar seeking disciplinary action against [the employee’s] lawyers who we believe are engaged in an illegal conspiracy to extort money from American Apparel. We are very confident that [her] claims will be promptly referred by the court to confidential binding arbitration where her claims and the company’s counter-claims will be resolved, we believe fully in favor of the company.

In fact, American Apparel employees keep suing Dov Charney for sexual harassment. It seems strange, right, that an employer who looks like this:

would be accused of sexual harassment? In response to a 2005 sexual harassment suit where an employee complained that Charney regularly walked around AA offices in his underwear, Charney said at his deposition: “I frequently drop my pants to show people my new product.”

This does not sound like healing.

American Apparel has attempted to turn Charney’s allure into a workable brand identity. Having risen risen to fame for hiring and firing employees based on full-length photos alone, AA famously fills its website and ads with half-naked young men and women twisted into poses and contexts that are…suggestive, at best.

When even hyper-suggestive ads aren’t working, American Apparel seems finally eager to silence Charney’s reputation. Not by healing, of course! By enforcing “confidential binding arbitration.”

Individuals and companies can enter into private contracts as they see fit. But this sounds more like silencing a teenager under an exploitative employer relationship.

What happened between Charney and the employees claiming harassment is hard to know for sure. But if you shake a haystack and a bunch of needles fall out — well — I certainly wouldn’t let my teenage self play in that haystack.

Here’s the full statement AA released in response to Morales’s suit (via HuffPo):

We have been informed today that Irene Morales, a former employee of American Apparel who left the company without complaint and resigned with a letter of gratitude regarding her positive experience at the company, has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in New York against the company. Upon her resignation, Ms. Morales acknowledged in writing that she had no pending claims against the company and signed a severance agreement which included a full release of claims and an agreement to submit any future claims to confidential binding arbitration. All American Apparel’s employees are subject to the same confidential arbitration agreement signed by Ms. Morales in order to protect the privacy interests of employees and former employees, and to prevent predatory plaintiffs and their attorneys from attempting to use the media to extort the company. Such an arbitration process was initiated by the company against Ms. Morales several weeks ago. The company intends to file a formal complaint with the NY state bar seeking disciplinary action against Ms. Morales’ lawyers who we believe are engaged in an illegal conspiracy to extort money from American Apparel. We are very confident that Ms. Morales’ claims will be promptly referred by the court to confidential binding arbitration where her claims and the company’s counter-claims will be resolved, we believe fully in favor of the company.

American Apparel founder Dov Charney accused of forcing teen employee into sex act in $260M suit

American Apparel Almost Bankrupt; Supply and Demand Alive and Well

Former Employee Sues Dov Charney For Sexual Assault

2 Comments

Filed under Unkategorized

After 28 Years, What Should We Keep and What Should We NIX?

Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law on June 23, 1972. Title IX most famously applies to women’s sports, but in fact the law is much broader than that:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.

The U.S. Department of Education gives grants of financial assistance to schools and colleges. The Title IX regulation describes the conduct that violates Title IX. Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include sexual harassment, the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics, and discrimination based on pregnancy.

On its 28th anniversary today, Title IX continues to elicit controversial opinions with regard to its extension from sports to science. Though extenders’ laudably recommend supporting women in a male-dominated field, the problem with legislative “support” is that it leads to twisted legal realities.

In school sports, Title IX has developed a controversial reputation for its creation of a de facto “quota” system. Just as true supporters of civil rights disdain quotas as racial basis for education, it makes little sense to impose equality on high school students at the expense of their choice.

Title IX supporters promote the legislation as permitting women to enter athletic fields formerly reserved exclusively for men. Dissenters argue that we should not cancel men’s sports if there is no female equivalent — if women are more interested in the arts, for example, it makes more sense to encourage participation there, rather than require young women to match the interests of their Y-chromosomed counterparts in the interest of quota metrics.

Feminism is, after all, about choice. Stated the New York Times in a 2008 article:

The members of Congress and women’s groups who have pushed for science to be “Title Nined” say there is evidence that women face discrimination in certain sciences, but the quality of that evidence is disputed. Critics say there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s.

In this debate, neither side doubts that women can excel in all fields of science. In fact, their growing presence in former male bastions of science is a chief argument against the need for federal intervention.

American law is premised on protecting negative rights. This means that we are “free from” interference with our right to live as we please. If there is some outside force restricting our choice, legally we are entitled to ask for that force’s removal.

Yet if, as the NYT reports, women’s interest is lagging in pursuing scientific careers, there is no infringement. Feminism is about choice, not about forcing women into certain careers simply because there are few women already represented in those fields.

The Times goes on to quote psychologist Susan Pinker:

Now, you might think those preferences would be different if society didn’t discourage girls and women from pursuits like computer science and physics. But if you read “The Sexual Paradox,” Susan Pinker’s book about gender differences, you’ll find just the opposite problem.

Ms. Pinker, a clinical psychologist and columnist for The Globe and Mail in Canada (and sister of Steven Pinker, the Harvard psychologist), argues that the campaign for gender parity infantilizes women by assuming they don’t know what they want.

Women know what we want. Feminism is about feeling empowered to achieve whatever it is that we want. Feminism is not about imposing some mandated quota across fields, be they professional or athletic.

titleix.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Unkategorized

Gulf Coast Shrimping Insurance

Re Q’s insurance situation for shrimp farmers in the Gulf: Is the shrimping livelihood insurable against foreseeable manmade disasters?

There’s a market for what’s called aquaculture insurance, and I’m sure there will be some significant claims on those policies (most of which are held through the Lloyds of London market.) It’s not quite as significant as the claims BP and other refiners will put in on their energy insurance policies (I’ve seen estimates of about $1.5 billion in energy insurance claims) but that’s largely because most shrimpers probably don’t have much in the way of insurance on their stocks of shrimp.

Instead, they’re more likely to take out general business interruption policies, which would pay off in the case of any prolonged cessation in income. So, yeah, the spill would be covered, but they’d have been thinking more of hurricanes and such when they took out their policies.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Economy, Law

Links

Starting ’em young: Retailer apologizing for sexualizing seven-year-olds.

Holder decides to try KSM in Manhattan after all, despite everything.

Here’s the soundtrack for my paper-writing week. I can’t stop listening to the first song.

Tough Love: “Your anorexia is not welcome at our new house.”

TED: Science can answer moral questions.

1 Comment

Filed under Unkategorized

What Is an “Event”?

My Insurance Law prof started the semester on a light note; we began by discussing how insurance companies should characterize Sept. 11.  Coverage turns on the definition of “event”: Was the towers’ collapse one event, or two?

Anyway, this XKCD reflects a bit drier humor considering how much actually turns on that question of whether we’re talking about two simultaneous devastating events, or just one:

Semicontrolled Demolition

Leave a comment

Filed under Unkategorized

Oh, Mason

I cannot get enough of this car parked in Mason’s student lot.  Yesterday my Contracts seminar devolved into a discussion of which was the “best” apostle.  Today these bumper stickers.  My law school is special.

My law school is special!

Leave a comment

Filed under Unkategorized