We previously expressed the view that the gender gap in the U.S. employment markets has evolved little despite President Obama’s efforts on behalf of women since his Inauguration, congress has prevented most of his measures from being enacted.  But the first bill the president signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (2009), struck down a court decision disadvantaging women who claims discrimination in the work place. The measure, and others, provided a modicum of progress for employed women.

As we have observed previously in this Blog, progress has been tragically slow.  Women hold a mere 4.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions.  Almost a quarter of the firms on the same list have no women in executive positions. Google reported that only 17% of its technology workers are female.

Naturally, those figures are viewing the top of the employment spectrum.  For those of us who live and work below the top rung, in the vast middle class, treatment of women is little better.  Actually, it is worse.

A recent national journalistic piece counselled employers about firing employees.  Many employers need the advice.  Employers can be ruthless when they decide they want to remove an employee – regardless of the employee’s tenure or devotion to the firm.

The journalist’s coaching was not directed towards the subject of fairness towards the employees.  Rather, the theme was concerned protection employers from former employee lawsuits.

The first employer protection issue, naturally, focused on the “at-will” employment doctrine.  People believe that “at-will” employment is the standard across the nation.  Most employees probably are “at-will.”  It means they may be terminated for any reason or terminated or no reason.

Many people have experienced their employer’s abuse.  The abuse may take the form of verbal humiliations and disgrace, demotion, dismissal from employment and replacement by a younger, less experienced and less costly employee or coercion to work for reduce or no compensation or benefits.

Employers justify their antics by citing weak demand in an anemic economy.  Oddly, most people fail to protest or fight back.  After all, the employer has the leverage in the employment relationship.

In many employment relationships the employer hires an employee as an “at-will” employee who could be fired or demoted for any reason or no reason.  At the same time, the employers often induce prospective employees by providing them with a handbook delineating fairness procedures including progressive discipline with warnings and evaluations to keep the employee posted on his or her status.

Many individuals who experienced injuries resulting from medical procedures do not pursue the care provider for the monetary (or non-monetary) compensation related to their injuries — for a variety of reasons.  The primary reason is litigation’s tension, uncertainty and expense.

Whether a health care provider caused a medically-related injury is a question for a jury to decide based on witness testimony, including expert physicians or nurses.

No injured person should go without compensation to pay for the costs of repair – to his or her body, psyche or bank account.

Racial discrimination in law enforcement is constantly in the news these days.  Another form of discrimination that does not make headlines often is gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination is rampant in American society.  This notion is particularly true in the field of employment.  Women compose approximately 49 percent of the US labor pool.  Women have elevated to chief executive officer in a few major US corporations.  But women are CEO’s in merely 3 percent of public US firms.

Furthermore, white college-graduated males earn 40 percent more than white women with the same credentials.

The Vermont Supreme Court recently confirmed that notion in Taylor v. Fletcher Allen Medical Center, a case involving a woman who experienced complications arising from lumbar spinal surgery. But it is more than a truism; it is a rule of law that plaintiffs must present medical negligence evidence through an expert in the field who is knowledgeable and experience concerning the type of procedure and injury and familiar with the plaintiff’s medical records.  The rule exists in the New England states and in most states in the U.S.


In the case, after the patient underwent the surgery, she experienced an accident in the hospital in which a nurse did not assist her appropriately during a bathroom visit.  The woman fell.  She experienced renewed physical pain. The woman asserted that the nurse was negligent, causing her to fall and re-injure her spine. She claimed that the fall caused a new injury causing her to experience severe physical and emotional pain. She also contended that the corrective surgery failed to adequately resolve her pre-surgery pain condition. Finally, she alleged that the hospital “covered-up” a key CT scan. Unable to find an attorney, she sued the hospital that performed the surgery on her own.  Continue reading →

Money damages for “whistleblowers” have become more common in recent years, in part because the Obama administration has emphasized prosecution of company and hospital officials who benefitted from their false claims for federal payments or reimbursements.

Private whistleblowers have also received monetary awards for exposing wrongful or illegal activities of their corporate employers. In the federal realm, the “False Claims Act” prohibits contractors from seeking payments or reimbursements for goods or services delivered to the government.  The law was enacted during the Lincoln administration in order to penalize companies seeking reimbursement or payments for military goods for the U. S. effort in the Civil War.   Continue reading →