Blumenthal, Delauro, Franken To Hold Press Conference Announcing Bill To Restore Workers' Right To Challenge Workplace Discrimination In Court

(Washington, DC) — Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20—the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart—Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) will hold a press conference in the Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC 212 at 2:15 pm, to announce that they are introducing legislation to restore the workers’ rights that were eroded by the Dukes decision.
 
Betty Dukes, the lead plaintiff in the case, will also be speaking at the press conference, along with representatives from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Partnership for Women & Families, and the National Women’s Law Center.
 
The bill, called the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act, would allow workers to hold employers accountable in cases of workplace discrimination by ensuring that employees can once again band together to challenge discriminatory employment practices.
 
WHO:

  • U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
  • U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
  • Dukes v. Wal-Mart lead plaintiff Betty Dukes
  • Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President for Policy, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Sarah Crawford, Director of Workplace Fairness, National Partnership for Women & Families
  • Emily Martin, Vice President and General Counsel, National Women’s Law Center

WHAT: Press Conference to introduce Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act, which would restore the rights of workers to file class action discrimination lawsuits against their employers.


WHEN: Wednesday, June 20, 2:15 p.m.


WHERE: Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC-212
 
In 2001, Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart employee of six years, brought a case on behalf of herself and her female co-workers, arguing that Wal-Mart's policies allowed gender bias – rather than performance and merit – to determine who would be promoted or given raises. Last June, in a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court blocked the case from proceeding to trial as a class action, concluding that, to proceed as a group, the women first had to show “convincing proof of a companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy.” This high standard is typically reserved for a trial on the merits, not for class certification. As Justice Ginsburg explained in her dissent, the Court's decision “disqualifies the class from the starting gate.”
 
The Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act would restore the ability of a group of plaintiffs to challenge discriminatory employment practices by clarifying that plaintiffs need not prove their case at the class certification stage.