Blog of Rights

Big Win for Pregnant Workers in New York City

Big Win for Pregnant Workers in New York City

By Katharine Bodde, New York Civil Liberties Union at 4:41pm
How many times do we need to hear about a pregnant woman being pushed on to unpaid leave or fired because her employer won't provide some type of simple accommodation – a stool to sit on, a water bottle on a retail floor, more frequent restroom breaks. This week, New York City Council stood up for women in the workplace and took an important step forward by passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This important legislation requires employers make reasonable accommodations in the workplace for employees who become pregnant.
A Pregnant Worker’s Day in Court

A Pregnant Worker’s Day in Court

By Ariela Migdal, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 10:45am

A federal appeals court heard arguments in the case of Peggy Young v. UPSPeggy Young was a package delivery driver for UPS when she became pregnant and asked UPS for a light duty assignment, so that she could continue to work while pregnant, even though her doctor had recommended she not lift more than 20 pounds.

Evening the Field: Title IX's Continuing Impact on Gender Equality in Sports

Evening the Field: Title IX's Continuing Impact on Gender Equality in Sports

By Tiseme Zegeye, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 11:15am

In too many schools, Title IX's requirement for gender equality in school athletics continues to be blatantly ignored.

Use Birth Control? You're Fired!

Use Birth Control? You're Fired!

By Jennifer Dalven, Reproductive Freedom Project at 6:36pm

No joke: A bill pending in Arizona would give your boss the green light to fire you for using birth control.

Pregnant and Parenting Students Are Still Being Pushed Out of School

Pregnant and Parenting Students Are Still Being Pushed Out of School

By Linda Mangel, ACLU of Washington at 6:05pm

Women's History Month gives us an opportunity to reflect on the great strides women and girls have made toward achieving equal rights and equal treatment. Yet, in some ways we are still stuck in the past — as I was reminded of recently when…

30 Years of Fighting Discrimination against Women - It's Time the U.S. Stepped Up

By Lenora M. Lapidus, Women's Rights Project at 3:56pm

Today, the United Nations and the world celebrate 30 years of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the international human rights treaty dedicated to gender equality, adopted by the United Nations…

Why Gene Patents Are Unlawful

By Selene Kaye, ACLU at 11:46am

(Originally posted on ACSBlog.)

Last week the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government's practice of granting patents on human genes - specifically, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are associated with breast and ovarian cancer. In the last 20 or so years the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has issued patents on thousands of human genes — the segments of DNA that we all have in our cells — giving private corporations, individuals, and universities the exclusive rights to those genetic sequences and their usage.

The patents on the BRCA genes are particularly broad and offensive. The PTO has granted Myriad Genetics, a private biotechnology company based in Utah, patents on both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic sequences, on any mutations along those genes, on any methods for locating mutations on the genes, without further specification on the type of methods, and on correlations between genetic mutations and susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer.

The lawsuit charges, as critics of gene patents have argued for years, that gene patents stifle biomedical research and interfere with patients' access to genetic testing. The lawsuit argues that the patents on the BRCA genes are unconstitutional and invalid given the long-standing legal precedent that "products of nature" and "laws of nature" are not patentable. The suit also makes the novel argument that the practice of patenting genes, their correlations with disease, and the thought of comparing two genes violates the First Amendment and interferes with scientific freedom.

Don't Segregate Boys and Girls in Classrooms

Don't Segregate Boys and Girls in Classrooms

By Michael Kimmel, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, Stony Brook University at 11:35am

Is your daughter a tomboy? Your son not especially into football? Does your daughter excel at math...

The Supreme Court Limits Our Employment Rights...Again

The Supreme Court Limits Our Employment Rights...Again

By Christina Black, Women's Rights Project, ACLU & Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:04pm

In a high-profile few weeks of wins and losses at the Supreme Court, there are two end-of-term opinions that will make it more difficult for workers to sue employers who discriminate against them, which may have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle. One…

Remembering the Real Purpose of Patents

Remembering the Real Purpose of Patents

By James Evans, Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Medicine, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill School of Medicine at 10:44am

James Evans, MD, PhD is the Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He was a member of the advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services on…