Memo to “Independent Women’s Forum”: You Probably Should Oppose Gender Discrimination
Unfortunately, Michelle Bernard, President of the so-called Independent Women's Forum, must have gotten the wrong memo about the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. There are so many flaws in the arguments she made during a recent Hardball "debate" with Cecille Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, that I almost don't know where to begin. But Nicole Belle over at CrooksandLiars (h/t) was far more patient and provides a great critique as well as a link to the video. Check it out.
I just wanted to point out how it seems that debating tort "reformers" about policies to improve the civil justice system will inevitably result in the tort "reformer" pulling out a (now-wrinkled) piece of paper and reciting the usual litany of stale talking points. One size fits all, apparently. Bernard invoked the following:
1) Employers will stop hiring women as a result of this legislation. Depending on the occasion, this argument puts on different outfits. When it's a consumer protection law, it goes with the "this law will cost consumers more because products will now cost more" get-up. But it's basically arguing that outlawing corporate misconduct will cause the corporate actor to retaliate against the intended beneficiary of the law, so it's not even worth it. Just let the bad behavior continue. Of course, forget that the lawsuits can be avoided by just not discriminating.
2) This is a payday for trial lawyers, will open the gates for all kinds of litigation, some of which will have merit, some of which will not. (Yawn. We're all too familiar with that.)
3) It will make women feel like victims. A common, and particularly annoying, tort "reform" talking point is that enabling people to sue when they are injured by another's wrongdoing only perpetuates an unhealthy sense of victimhood. Often this is tagged onto the critique about Americans being spoiled brats who insist on hanging on to those pesky legal rights of theirs. But when applied to Ledbetter, what's this really saying? That a law that empowers women not to be victims is bad because it acknowledges that their victimization occurs? That it is fine for women to actually be victims of pay discrimination, just as long as they don't feel like victims? And, that being able to sue for those lost wages and simultaneously sock-it-to a bigoted employer is nothing compared to the sense of victimhood women experience because a law actually acknowledges the existence of discrimination and seeks to do something to combat it?
Well, that's pretty awkward, now isn't it?
Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 9:56 PM, Feb 01, 2009 in Debates with Tort "Reformers" | Debunking Tort "Reform" | Discrimination | Employment Discrimination | Labor/Employment | Legislation | Right to Access the Courts | Tort "Reform" & Gender | Tort Reform Movement's Concept of "Over-victimization"
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