Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sexist Supreme Court Rules in Favor Of Male Supremacy and AT&T

AT&T could have just done the right thing, but why should the fabulously wealthy corporation miss an opportunity to screw women? Lucky for AT&T, their brothers own the Supreme Court and yesteryear's blatant gender discrimination continues as today's Legal AT&T Male Supremacy Policy of 2009.

Yet another painful reminder that this is not your mama's liberal Supreme Court. While it was never a feminist court, the High Court has certainly seen far better, or liberal, days. And yes, a Supreme Court comprised of 8 men and 1 woman is a supremely sexist court.

The testosterone rich Roberts Court ruled (7-2) that when Congress passed the 1979 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, they didn't really mean it. In the view of the Boy Court -- It's not illegal for AT&T to honor the 1960s blatant discrimination against women by sending out small feminine retirement checks to mothers and large masculine retirement checks to fathers.

With so many fathers on the Supreme Court, who is surprised?

I hope no woman who is reading this is a customer of AT&T.

It used to be legal to discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace. If a woman took maternity leave, that time wouldn’t count toward her retirement benefits. The 1979 Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) changed all that: “If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job because of her pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee.”

But what happens to women who took maternity leave before 1979? The 9th Circuit ruled in 2007 that the new law should apply to these women. However, today the Supreme Court voted to overturn the 9th Circuit’s ruling.

AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, involved four women who worked at AT&T and took maternity leave prior to 1979. They said that each reduced retirement check they receive is “a fresh act of discrimination.” A seven-member majority on the Supreme Court, however, agreed with AT&T: Because Congress did not make the PDA retroactive, the company had no obligation to pay the women for past discrimination.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer were the two dissenting voices. Ginsburg wrote that even though PDA does not explicitly address grievances prior to 1979, it does say that all pregnancy-discrimination in the workplace must cease:

The plaintiffs (now respondents) in this action will receive, for the rest of their lives, lower pension benefits than colleagues who worked for AT&T no longer than they did. They will experience this discrimination not simply because of the adverse action to which they were subjected pre-PDA. Rather, they are harmed today because AT&T has refused fully to heed the PDA’s core command: Hereafter, for “all employment-related purposes,” disadvantageous treatment “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” must cease. … I would hold that AT&T committed a current violation of Title VII when, post-PDA, it did not totally discontinue reliance upon a pension calculation premised on the notion that pregnancy-based classifications display no gender bias.