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Companies do the right thing, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg fights back.

Jun01

by

Trolling for some good news this week—an exercise in futility if there ever was one—I came upon the news of a new Benetton ad campaign. Colors of Domestic Violence features models made up to appear bruised and lacerated (while still being thin and fashionable).) Boy, that didn’t help turn my frown upside down. Was Benetton really engaged in an exercise this cynical, touting their fall line under the guise of public service, while glamorizing the domestic violence victim’s injuries?
But before I could get my panties even more wadded up than they already were (damn you, adorable but control-free boy shorts!), it turned out that the ad is a fake. Benetton has categorically denied being involved in any way with its creation. No word yet on who actually made it. An ambitious art student with time to kill? Neo-fascists, hellbent on destroying Benetton’s diversity-embracing aesthetic?
Speaking of corporate responsibility regarding public welfare, The Washington Post recently highlighted companies that are (really) working to fight domestic violence. Corporations are beginning to understand that the impact of domestic violence extends far beyond the home. According to the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, $727.8 million is lost each year due to domestic violence, with over 7.9 million paid workdays lost per year. This doesn’t include the increase in sick days and decreased productivity. Domestic violence can also spread to the workplace, putting other employees at risk. Despite these frightening statistics, only 4 percent of all establishments educate their employees on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace.
Some companies, though, have risen to the challenge, creating policies that protect their employes and prevent further violence. Liz Claiborne has been singled out by the CAEPV for its exemplary efforts to protect and defend victims, both within its employee population and in the world at large. After an internal survey found that almost one quarter of their employees had suffered some form of domestic violence, the company decided to take action. Liz Claiborne’s corporate policy protects victimized employees by (to name a few highlights): providing escorts to and from transportation, removing victims’ names from public directories, enforcing restraining orders on company property, allowing time off for court appearances or for safety reasons, and confidential access to corporate security resources. In addition, Liz Claiborne educates all of their employees on domestic violence, and sponsors two public awareness websites: Love is Not Abuse and Love is Respect (which is geared toward teens). If even a handful of companies followed Liz Claiborne’s model, thousands of lives could be saved. So how about it, corporate world?
In other news, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has found her voice, and she’s not shutting up. After the partial-birth abortion ban decision and this week’s discrimination ruling, Justice Ginsburg read dissents from the bench—an unusal move for her, according to the Times. “The oral dissent has not been, until now, Justice Ginsburg’s style. She has gone years without delivering one, and never before in her 15 years on the court has she delivered two in one term. In her past dissents, both oral and written, she has been reluctant to breach the court’s collegial norms.” Not anymore, it seems.
Justice Ginsburg has a lot to be angry about. A month ago, she slammed her opponents—Justices Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas—for upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Their decision, she stated, reflected “ancient notions about women’s place in the family and under the Constitution — ideas that have long since been discredited.” Tuesday’s decision, which found that workers could only sue for pay discrimination within 180 days of their first received paycheck, had Justice Ginsburg speaking up again.
The case before the court concerned Lilly M. Ledbetter, an employee of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, who learned late in her 20-year career that she was earning less than any of her colleagues, including those with positions to junior to hers. Too late, said the Supreme Court. This decision ignored workplace realities regarding pay discrimination, according to Justice Ginsburg. ” Pay disparities, of the kind Ledbetter experienced,have a closer kinship to hostile work environment claims than to charges of a single episode of discrimination. Ledbetter’s claim… rested not on one particular paycheck, but on ‘the cumulative effect of individual acts.'” She then called upon the Congress to correct this decision.
As the sole remaining woman on the court, perhaps Justice Ginsburg feels an added responsibility to make her voice heard. Perhaps she sees the Supreme Court turning into a political machine used by the right. Whatever the reason, RBG, we join everyone else in saluting you, and look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

About the author

Alice Bradley

http://www.finslippy.com
Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


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8 Responses to “Companies do the right thing, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg fights back.”

  1. Kim Wells Jun 01 at 2:49 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for taking note of the “good news” about what companies are doing to address domestic violence and the workplace!

  2. JO Jun 02 at 5:54 pm Reply Reply

    Those justices truly believe men have dominion over women, just like they do animals. And ladies, they don’t believe in birth control either…careful how you vote.

  3. kate Jun 03 at 1:11 am Reply Reply

    Oh, goodness. RBG, you’re fighting the good fight, but I think you need backup, stat.
    And, they make clothes for mommies, but I will so much be buying from Liz Claiborne before I *ever* buy from American Apparel.

  4. ozma Jun 03 at 11:26 pm Reply Reply

    The Supreme Court is so scary now. No matter what we manage politically in the next few years to try and ameliorate the recent catastrophes Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas are going to be there for a very, very long time.

  5. bex Jun 04 at 12:39 pm Reply Reply

    kudos to corporations for getting on the ball about domestic violence…but it’s too bad there always has to be a potential harm to business before anyone steps up…

  6. Melanie Jun 04 at 7:47 pm Reply Reply

    It’s nice to hear about someone trying to make things better instead of all the damn bad news out there. You get so sick of negativity.

  7. RLJ Jun 05 at 11:53 am Reply Reply

    4% companies educate their workforce on domestic violence? Sounds pretty progressive to me…
    But your Supreme Court is a disaster. I don’t think a few more ovaries up there are going to change much, not if they are attached to the likes of Ms Miers anyway. And they never retire; you just have to wait till they drop dead so you can replace them; but that always seems to happen when some moron is in the White House. I mean, how long can Stevens keep breathing? Can he make it till 2009? And will the US electorate vote in another donkey anyway?
    Sorry, poor you. Time to move to Europe.

  8. dinka Jun 05 at 8:42 pm Reply Reply

    Partial birth abortion is one of the most unneccessary and most cruel procedures. Why someone would be opposed to banning it regardless of their political views, i really don’t know.

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