The second day of the Symposium was held at New York University School of Law in New York City. Professor and Director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, Leonard M. Baynes, provided the opening remarks for Day two. After his remarks, Professor Baynes moderated the first panel of the day, which applied the New York experience to Title VII Federalism. The panelists, Allegra A. Chapman Esq., Sandra E. Pullman Esq. and Anjana Samant Esq. are all assistant attorney generals in the NYS Office of the Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau.
The panel first explained that as assistant attorney generals they are able to do a lot of work in a variety of ways to defend and protect employees against discrimination through local, state and federal laws. They investigate potential violations of discrimination when employees come to them with a case and there is good faith basis for the claim. The panel was then able to talk about specific groups that are discriminated against, in New York City in particular, and ways in which they can help. They described pregnancy discrimination as tricky to prove because claiming a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) means that the expecting mother has to prove her pregnancy is causing another separate health issue. New York luckily saw this problem and recently passed a law to help women in the workplace during their pregnancy called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA).
The panel continued to talk about the LGBT community and cited to a 2011 survey results that shows about one half of transgendered employees were not promoted or hired because of their gender. Although Title VII still does not cover gender identity, the panel clarifies that LGBT activists are working with NYC to create city laws for equal discrimination protection. The last group facing discrimination that the panel discussed was employees with criminal records. Like the LGBT community, these employees do not have Title VII protection, but the city is trying to make laws that would help applicants get their foot in the door. The panel mentioned the “ban the box” law in Buffalo, NY, which prevents employers from asking about criminal records on an employment application, as a good example of protecting applicants with criminal records.
In the second panel of the morning, Professor Karen Fernbach ’78, Regional director of Region 2 of the National Labor Relations Board, moderated a panel entitled “Unmet Challenges of Title VII: Labor Opportunities.” Fernbach asked a variety of questions to a panel comprised of Paula Clarity ’07, Associate at Archer, Byington, Glennon & Levine, LLP, William B. Gould, IV, Charles A. Beardsley Professor of Law Emeritus at Stanford Law School, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and chair of The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Jay Jaffe, Esq. Senior Managing Counsel 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Amanda Jaret ’13 2013-2014 Law Fellow at the AFL-CIO, Wilma Liebman, visiting Lecturer at Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and School of Law and chairman of the NLRB (2009-2011).
After lunch, the final panel of the symposium was comprised of prominent practicing lawyers who provided their perspectives on the Future of Title VII. David R. Marshall, a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer, LLP, led the discussion with practitioners: Paula Clarity ’07, Associate at Archer, Byington, Glennon & Levine, LLP, Alfred G. Feliu, Esq. Partner at Vandenberg & Feliu, LLP, William Li ’09, Associate at the Boyd Law Group, PLLC, Michael H. Masri ’95, Partner at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP, Terry O’Neil, ’70, Partner at Bond, Schoeneck & King, LLP, Robert J. Nobile, ’84, Partner at Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, and Michael Starr Esq., Partner at Holland and Knight. Much of the panel’s discussion focused on how lawyers are realistically tackling discrimination in the workplace and what the next steps are in continuing the decline of discrimination. Ralph Carter ’14 provided the closing remarks for the symposium, thanking the co-chairs Professor Gregory and Professor Baynes and all the organizations that helped organize the event.