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Trump Declares War on Women’s Rights, These Women Lawyers Say Bring it On

Fatima Goss Graves - Women's Rights
Fatima Goss Graves - President of National Women’s Law Center

Since becoming U.S. President, Donald Trump has mounted an all-out assault on women’s rights. Well, it appears some women attorneys have had enough. On Wednesday morning, they told Trump to bring it on.



The nonprofit National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) announced they have formed Legal Network for Gender Equity with the goal of defending women and girls from sex discrimination in the workplace, in schools and in the health care system.

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NWLC said the Legal Network for Gender Equity has recruited 75 attorneys from across the country who stand ready to fight the administration on women’s rights issues.

“In response to extensive and unprecedented threats to women’s rights, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) announced today that it is launching the first national legal network to combat sex discrimination faced by women and girls,” the organization said in a statement released to the media.




“The Legal Network for Gender Equity has initially recruited 75 attorneys from across the country who stand ready to represent women and girls experiencing sex discrimination on the job, at school, and in the health care system. The Center is assembling the infrastructure for the network to become fully operational in the next several months and will continue to expand its network—with the goal of attorneys participating in every state.”

NWLC President Fatima Goss Graves said the initiative is necessary at this moment when civil rights enforcement and protections are at grave risk.

“We’ve seen a surge of gender-based hostility and harassment across the nation. Escalating federal rollbacks to critical protections in education, the workplace, and health care—which disproportionately threaten low-income women and women of color—have inspired many lawyers to get involved in the legal network and fight for the rights of women and girls,” she said.

Ms. Goss pledged that the new organization will aggressively challenge the Trump administration as it seeks to weaken laws put in place to protect women against sex discrimination, and other women’s rights issues.

“And, as the Trump administration weakens its enforcement of laws protecting against sex discrimination, NWLC will be heading to court, challenging these rollbacks and increasing the number of cases we take on ourselves.”






NWLC announced the first case the new entity will tackle is the case of Kassandra Lawrence, a veteran law enforcement officer in Stafford, Virginia, who faced discrimination on the job during two pregnancies and after she returned to work following the birth of her children.

“And, as the Trump administration weakens its enforcement of laws protecting against sex discrimination, NWLC will be heading to court, challenging these rollbacks and increasing the number of cases we take on ourselves.”

“The first case arising out of Center intake and taken up by a law firm participating in the Legal Network for Gender Equity is that of Kassandra Lawrence, a veteran law enforcement officer in Stafford, Virginia, who faced discrimination on the job during two pregnancies and after she returned to work following the birth of her children.”

“Lawrence’s superiors refused her requests for work accommodations during her pregnancies, required her to take unpaid leave even though she had additional paid leave time in reserve, and would not allow her colleagues to donate their paid sick leave to her when she required surgery after her second pregnancy.”




“Other employees were routinely given work accommodations and allowed to receive donated paid sick leave. Lawrence lost wages, employment benefits, and experienced emotional distress as a result of the discrimination. The Spiggle Law Firm, which specializes in pregnancy discrimination cases, recently filed a lawsuit on Lawrence’s behalf against the Stafford County Sheriff’s office. Tom Spiggle and Phillis Rambsy, partners at the Spiggle Law Firm, will lead the representation of Lawrence,” NWLC said.

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Debra Katz, a member of NWLC’s Legal Network for Gender Equity, expert on sex discrimination law, and partner in Katz, Marshall & Banks, hailed the initiative.

“NWLC’s leadership has demonstrated to at least two generations of women attorneys, like myself, how to be fierce legal advocates. As members of the Network, my firm and dozens of others in the private bar will help ensure that institutions that seek to deprive us of our basic legal and constitutional rights to equal pay, gender equality, and reproductive rights are held accountable,” she said.

 

 

The Staff of The Liberal Advocate News

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