HOMETOWN NOW CELEBRATES WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH BY MAKING HISTORY FOR WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE
Hometown NOW will celebrate Women's History Month by holding a demonstration to raise awareness about a dangerous trend sweeping workplaces, threatening to set back civil rights gains more than 30 years: mandatory arbitration of discrimination claims.
Under this policy, employees with discrimination claims in almost every industry could find themselves shut out of court. Mandatory arbitration, is fast becoming the preferred alternative for many employers.
"Mandatory arbitration allows employers to evade the stricter civil rights law enacted after Anita Hill made sexual harassment front-page news," NOW President Patricia Ireland said, referring to the Civil Rights Act of 1991. At NOW's insistence, that act gives women the right to a trial by jury and the right to receive damages in employment discrimination cases under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
While mandatory arbitration of employment disputes is a new practice in many companies, it has long been a fact of life for those employed in the securities industry, where stockbrokers and other employees are forced to agree to arbitration in order to work in the field.
Following months of nationwide demonstrations organized by NOW activists across the country the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), voted to remove the requirement that industry employees submit employment discrimination complaints to arbitration boards.
While the NASD vote is cause for celebration, NOW's work is far from over. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must approve and implement the NASD rule change. Hometown NOW will join NOW activists across the nation in demonstrations at regional and national SEC offices to encourage approval of the rule change.
"We will celebrate Women's History Month by making history for women in the workplace," Hometown NOW President Maria Mujer said. "We will continue our protests until mandatory arbitration is eliminated in the security industry -- and every industry," Mujer said.
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