Suit also alleges discrimination against non-Hispanics, intentional underpayment of women
A Baltimore staffing agency for federal contractors allegedly hired Hispanic construction laborers, and then harassed and discriminated against them. It also allowed supervisors of other federal contractors to assault them physically, make racial slurs, and threaten them with deportation. The allegations were made in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
The suit also alleges that WMS Solutions LLC discriminated against non-Hispanic applicants, intentionally paid female workers less per hour than males and assigned fewer work hours to African American, Caucasian and female laborers.
The department alleges that since at least Feb. 1, 2011, WMS favored hiring Hispanic laborers, and that company managers knowingly permitted abusive practices by supervisors at their work sites. In addition to physical and verbal abuse and harassment, supervisors intimidated laborers with videos of detained and deported Hispanic workers. Despite knowing of the illegal harassment, WMS managers took no action to stop it.
“WMS allowed workers it hired to be exploited and abused. It denied job opportunities to qualified workers based on race and ethnicity. It underpaid female workers and assigned fewer work hours based on race and gender,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “We have taken action on behalf of these workers. OFCCP is prepared to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that no federal contractors and subcontractors engage in discrimination or harassment.”
OFCCP discovered the company’s discriminatory practices in its review to determine WMS’ compliance with Executive Order 11246. The order prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. OFCCP filed its complaint with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges after it did not secure an agreement from WMS to pay back wages and interest to the affected workers; extend job offers to the rejected applicants; and provide a working environment for its employees free of harassment, intimidation and coercion.
United Airlines says the flight attendant who allegedly denied a Muslim woman an unopened can of soda will no longer serve customers on their planes.
Tahera Ahmad, director of interfaith engagement and associate chaplain at Northwestern University, penned a troubling Facebook post last weekend in which she said a flight attendant refused to provide her with an unopened can of Diet Coke because she might “use it as a weapon.”
“After investigating this matter, United has ensured that the flight attendant, a Shuttle America employee, will no longer serve United customers,” Charles Hobart, a spokesman for United, told The Huffington Post in an emailed statement. “While United did not operate the flight, Ms. Ahmad was our customer and we apologize to her for what occurred on the flight.”
The ordeal — which Ahmad said left her in tears after a fellow passenger told her to “shut the f**k up” — began a firestorm of media coverage. The hashtags #UnitedForTahera and #IslamophobiaISREAL quickly spread across social media with many calling for a boycott of the airline.
Ahmad said she was initially “truly disappointed” with United and that the airline was dismissive of her claims, boiling them down to a misunderstanding rather than an act of discrimination.
“This isn’t about me and a soda can,” she told The Guardian. “It’s about systemic injustice that is perpetuated throughout our community.”
Ahmad did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The crew member in question is an employee of Shuttle America, a division ofRepublic Airways that contracts with airlines like United Express and Delta. While Hobart said the flight attendant would no longer fly with United, it’s unclear if she’s been fired.
“United does not tolerate behavior that is discriminatory — or that appears to be discriminatory — against our customers or employees,” Hobart said.
A representative for Republic Airways said the company couldn’t comment on individual personnel matters, but that it regretted “the poor judgement and lack of sensitivity demonstrated by one of our flight attendants during a recent interaction with Ms. Ahmad.”
“As a result of this event, we have conducted an initial internal investigation and we are confident that this is an isolated incident,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We are in the process of reaching out to Ms.Ahmad to provide a formal apology.”
Source: Huffington Post
A federal jury has handed a victory to HBO over Mitre Sports International’s claim that a September 2008 segment of “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” misled viewers into thinking that its soccer balls were made by low-paid, underage children in India.
“We are delighted with the jury’s decision, which confirms what we have said since the beginning of this legal proceeding in the fall of 2008: This case was without merit, and the ‘Real Sports’ reporting was unimpeachable,” an HBO spokesman said in a statement. “We couldn’t be prouder of the ‘Real Sports’ franchise and the award-winning work done over the past 20 years.
“We are grateful to the jury for their careful consideration of the evidence.”
Variety reports that jurors listened to weeks of detailed testimony and closing arguments in Mitre’s defamation suit, in what HBO’s attorney Dane Butswinkas said was “a trial based on suggestion, not a trial by evidence.” He repeatedly showed footage of children sewing soccer balls with a degree of precision that he surmised could not have been learned recently.
Among other things, Mitre contended that it does not produce soccer balls in Meerut, which is where the children were filmed, even though that may not have been evident to viewers due to editing. Mitre claimed that the 2008 segment was manipulated, and that in fact it has been working to stem child labor practices internationally.
The report was called both “Children of Industry” and “Childhood Lost,” and Mitre contended that the segment made it look as if it was unconcerned with the use of child labor. It sued in 2008, seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Mitre’s lawsuit contended that even though the segment mentions that 10 international brands were made by child labor, it targeted only Mitre.
The Editors Guild of India on Sunday deplored the controversial circular issued by Delhi government regarding defamatory news, calling it a “crude attempt” to “still” media criticism and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
According to Business Standard, the Editors Guild said it is shocked by the circular asking public officials to report “defamatory imputations” relating to the Chief Minister, ministers and public officials in respect of their conduct in relation to their public functions for the purpose of launching criminal defamation proceedings against the media, thereby enthroning “intolerance as official policy”.
“At a time when the trend is towards greater transparency and openness in public administration, this crude attempt to still media criticism of officials performing public functions is deplorable,” the Editors Guild said in a statement.
The Editors Guild said that it is strange that a Chief Minister and a party that rode to power on a popular democratic platform should turn “intolerant” when in office.
“It is doubly ironic that Mr Kejriwal who in the Supreme Court has challenged the constitutional validity of the criminal defamation provisions of the Indian Penal Code when used against him should direct his government to use the same provisions against the media,” it added.
The Guild called upon Kejriwal and the Delhi Government to withdraw the circular on defamation forthwith and also ensure free access to its offices.
“The Delhi circular on defamation brings out once again the dangers posed to free expression by the criminal defamation provisions in the hands of an intolerant government,” it said.
The statement said it has been the position of the Guild that defamation should be decriminalised and treated as a “purely civil wrong”.
Criminal defamation goes against the international standards on freedom of expression and imposes an unreasonable restriction on freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution, it said.
“The harassment of journalists and media through criminal proceedings would chill scrutiny and criticism of public officials discharging public functions and prevent the media from performing its legitimate role in a democracy,” it added.
The recent Shreya Singhal judgment of the Supreme Court that struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as unconstitutional, has opened up pathways for wider and more nuanced debates on free speech in India. Now under judicial scrutiny are Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, pertaining to criminal defamation.
During the hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of these provisions, the Supreme Court has issued notice to the government. The petitions contend that Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC travel beyond the restrictions enshrined in Article 19(2), thus constricting free speech beyond reasonable limits.
The Hindu had in 2003 filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the vires of Section 499, inter alia on grounds that it violated the freedom of press guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a). As the law stands, defamation is both a civil wrong and a criminal offence. In a civil action, a person may be sued for monetary compensation while a criminal wrong can invite imprisonment up to two years.
With the former being an effective enough remedy, the latter needs to be repealed. Under Article 19(2), free speech can be curtailed only by way of reasonable restrictions. Such a restriction must not be arbitrary or excessive, and the impairment of freedom must be ‘as little as possible’. But criminal prosecution in India can be incredibly harassing and intimidating, and have a chilling effect, thus being an ‘unreasonable’ restriction.
The government has sought a report from the Law Commission of India on the issue. A joint consultation paper published by the LCI in September 2014 notes that the respondents “overwhelmingly expressed dissatisfaction with the present state of defamation law”. Considering the need to repeal Section 499, it acknowledged that criminal defamation laws violated international norms, and that the penalty of incarceration up to two years was clearly disproportionate.
The recent history of defamation laws is riddled with misuse by politicians and corporations to silence the media, activists and criticisms. The spate of defamation cases filed during the 2014 Lok Sabha election is evidence of this. Defamatory acts that may harm public order are covered by Sections 124, 153 and 153A, and so criminal defamation does not serve any overarching public interest.
Even though Section 499 provides safeguards by means of exceptions, the threat of criminal prosecution is in itself unreasonable and excessive. This is not to say that defamation must not be discouraged. But decriminalising it will bring the IPC in accord with Article 19(2), ensuring that the means used to discourage defamation do not end up damping legitimate criticism.
Rotherham’s three Labour MPs have won a round in their defamation action against Ukip politician Jane Collins over remarks she made about them in relation to the town’s child abuse scandal.
Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley, John Healey, who represents Wentworth and Dearne, and Sarah Champion, who succeeded Denis MacShane in the Rotherham constituency, are suing Jane Collins, the MEP for Rotherham who is Ukip’s candidate for Rotherham at next week’s General Election.
The Labour MPs claim for slander and libel was related from a speech Ms Collins gave at Ukip’s conference in September suggesting the three MPs ‘knew all about’ child sexual exploitation in the town – a month after a report found that about 1,400 children in the area had been abused between 1997 and 2013.
Sir Kevin and Mr Healey also sued Caven Vines, Ukip’s leader on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, for libel and slander over remarks he made about them in a live Sky News interview in January in relation to their alleged knowledge of the abuse.
London High Court on Labour MPs suit
Today, at London’s High Court, Mr Justice Warby made preliminary findings which will allow the litigation action to move onto the next stage.
In the action against Mr Vines, Mr Justice Warby said he had failed to put forward any defence which could possibly succeed. Mr Vines, who represented himself, has been ordered to pay £15,000 legal costs, with the damages he will pay to be assessed at a later date if not agreed.
The judge said that Ms Collins’s words meant, as an allegation of fact, that each of the MPs knew many of the details of the exploitation yet deliberately chose not to intervene but allowed it to continue.
They also meant, as expressions of opinion, that they acted in this way for motives of political correctness, political cowardice or political selfishness and that they were guilty of misconduct so grave that it was or should be criminal, as it aided the perpetrators and made the MPs just as culpable.
The judge said: “This trial has required me to consider only how the defendant’s words would have struck the ordinary reasonable member of her audience.
“It has been no part of my task to determine whether the meanings that I have found the words to bear are, or may be, defensible.”
Lawyers for Ms Collins had argued that it was a political speech which did not contain any allegation of fact but expressed an opinion to the effect that the MPs were likely to have known that sexual exploitation was a serious problem in the area.
The judge said that well-established principles of law relating to meaning and the distinction between fact and comment made some allowance for the need to give free rein to political speech.
Atlanta R&B singer K. Michelle who said on a reality TV show that the CEO of her former record label mismanaged her career and beat her years ago in a hotel room has prevailed in a defamation lawsuit the CEO brought in Fulton County Superior Court.
Judge Robert McBurney granted summary judgment on April 9 to Kimberly Michelle Pate, better known in the music industry as K. Michelle, and the reality show’s production companies.
K. Michelle was a cast member on a VH1 show called “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” which featured recording artists trying to reach fame. During the first season of the show, Pate discussed her soured personal and professional relationship with Mickey Wright Jr., who goes by the trade name MeMpHiTz and was CEO of the Hitz Committee record label.
McBurney wrote that Wright’s defamation claims against Pate and the show producers were without merit because Wright failed to prove that Pate’s statements on the show were false, that they hurt his reputation and that they were negligently aired. The judge added that Wright is a public figure and couldn’t prove K. Michelle and the defendants acted with actual malice, the high standard that applies in defamation cases brought by public figures.
Wright plans to appeal, said one of his attorneys, Conti Moore. Neither Moore, who is a solo practitioner in Orlando, Florida, nor her co-counsel Alcide Honore, a partner at Hooper & Honore in Atlanta, would comment on McBurney’s findings.
Meanwhile, defense lawyers are seeking attorney fees. Cynthia Counts of Counts Law Group represented K. Michelle. The other defendants included Viacom International, which was represented by S. Derek Bauer and Christopher Cottrell of McKenna, Long & Aldridge; and Monami Entertainment and NFGTV (now known as Eastern TV), which were represented by Christy Hull Eikhoff and Jonathan Parente of Alston & Bird. Viacom in partnership with Monami and NFGTV produced “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.”
“We believe that if ever there was a frivolous lawsuit, this was it,” Counts said. “The plaintiff’s admissions [in his depositions and complaint] were so powerful that I genuinely thought his attorneys would dismiss the suit. Rather, the plaintiff continued to use the court and social media in an effort to generate publicity and new business opportunities for himself.”
In his order, McBurney pointed out that while Wright’s suit was pending, he pitched an idea for his own reality show in which the litigation would be part of the story line. McBurney also said Wright and his lawyers frustrated the court because they were “unwilling for many months to identify with the requisite specificity—indeed, for some time, without any specificity—the allegedly defamatory statements.”
“That was the first skirmish,” said Viacom attorney Bauer. “The plaintiff, in his initial complaint and discovery responses, just quoted huge portions and minutes of programming. He wouldn’t tell us what the actual words were that he alleged to be defamatory.”
According to McBurney’s order, Wright filed an amended complaint that the court interpreted as outlining three essential claims of slanderous statements about him: that he threatened Pate’s child, mismanaged Pate’s career and beat her.
In 2008, Wright signed K. Michelle to his Hitz Committee label. Shortly afterward, the two struck up a romantic relationship. In July 2009, they were involved in an altercation in a Memphis hotel room, which led to their breakup, though the pair continued to work together until 2010.
In 2012, K. Michelle appeared on the first season of “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.” In several episodes she referred to her struggles to make a name for herself as a recording artist and blamed an unnamed record executive.
During the first episode, McBurney noted in his order, Pate told the audience that she was romantically involved with her former record executive until “one day he flipped and he beat my ass.”
K. Michelle also stated, “He bought chains, rings, everything out of my recording budget. Over $2 million with nothing to show for it. No album, no music, no anything.”
While the show never identified Wright, he identified himself on Twitter and other social media sites as the subject of Pate’s comments. He also gave multiple radio interviews during which he identified himself as the unnamed record executive, according to case filings.
In his order, McBurney found that Wright could not sufficiently prove that Pate’s comments accusing Wright of threatening to kill her son were ever broadcast on the show—one of the main criteria for proving defamation. Pate’s words describing the alleged threat were censored by the show with a bleep, McBurney said.
As for Pate’s comments on the show regarding the financial and business mismanagement of her career, McBurney found that they were exaggerated but also protected against defamation liability. Citing the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal, 497 U.S. 1, McBurney said, “courts have found that statements made as part of an emotional, heated or adversarial debate often negate the impression that the speaker/publisher was asserting an objective fact.”
McBurney then went a step further, stating that even if Wright had proved that K. Michelle intended her comments to be assertions of fact, Wright could not prove that her statements were “demonstrably false.” His order outlined undisputed facts in the case that show Wright bought himself and others jewelry out of the record label budget, told K. Michelle that the record company’s total investment in her was $2 million and admitted that he would withdraw money from one artist’s account and apply it toward another artist.
McBurney also found Pate’s statements on the show that Wright beat her were not false.
Former NSW deputy premier Andrew Stoner says broadcaster Alan Jones defamed him by saying he “sold out” his farming constituency and gave favourable treatment to mining and resources companies in return for political donations to the Nationals.
But on Tuesday, lawyers for the top-rating 2GB breakfast host Alan Jones told the Supreme Court the term “sold out” is too ambiguous to be put to a jury.
Mr Stoner is suing Alan Jones and Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham for defamation over a series of five broadcasts in June and August last year regarding the contentious issues of coal seam gas and coal mining in regional NSW.
Mr Stoner’s barrister, Terence Tobin, QC, told Justice Lucy McCallum the broadcasts were “an extraordinarily virulent attack” on the former Nationals leader, who did not recontest his seat of Oxley at the March election.
Matthew Richardson, who is acting for Jones and Mr Buckingham, opposed several of the defamatory imputations pleaded by Mr Stoner.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Richardson said he would not argue that calling someone a “gun for hire” was not defamatory but suggested it had not been pleaded correctly.
In the first four broadcasts, Alan Jones attacked Mr Stoner as “dumb as a plank of wood” and accused him of describing a group of anti-coal seam gas protesters at Bentley on the NSW north coast as “professional bludgers”.
Jones also labelled Mr Stoner a “gutless wonder” and an “intellectual incompetent”.
On August 29, Jones interviewed Mr Buckingham in relation to the Shenhua coal mine in the Liverpool Plains.
Mr Buckingham said “the first thing Andrew Stoner did … when he came into government was to facilitate one of the biggest coal mines in the heart of the Liverpool Plains, Shenhua”.
He accused Mr Stoner of “undermining his constituency, the farmers”.
They also discussed allegations before the Independent Commission Against Corruption about the former mining mogul Nathan Tinkler.
At the time of the August 29 broadcast, ICAC was hearing allegations that then NSW Labor government ministers Eric Roozendaal and Joe Tripodi had taken steps to help Mr Tinkler secure approval for a coal loader in the Newcastle suburb of Mayfield.
“Lots of money flowed from Nathan Tinkler and his interests to the National Party and after they got into government Andrew Stoner and [another Nationals MP] did the bidding of Nathan Tinkler,” Mr Buckingham said.
“They kept in train the process that Joe Tripodi and Eric Roozendaal set in place.”
In his statement of claim Mr Stoner says the broadcasts conveyed him as not fit to be NSW Nationals leader or Deputy Premier and that he favoured miners over the welfare of the community.
It says Mr Buckingham had imputed that Mr Stoner “acted corruptly in promoting the coal interests of Nathan Tinkler as a pay-off for donations to the [National] party”. Mr Stoner says the imputations are false.
On Tuesday, Mr Tobin said the mere mention of the ICAC created a “whiff of corruption” around his client.
Justice McCallum will hand down her judgment on which imputations can go to the jury on Friday.
BANGKOK (AFP) – A Thailand bookseller was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in jail for selling books that allegedly defamed the monarchy, the latest in a string of convictions under the country’s notorious lese majeste law.
Thailand’s Court of Appeals overturned a 2014 court decision which had cleared Thailand bookseller Udomsak Wattanaworachaiwathin of any wrongdoing in a case which stretches back nine years.
A bail request was set to be heard later Wednesday.
The 66-year-old was initially arrested in May 2006 for selling two books that allegedly defamed Thailand’s revered but ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej during a protest in a downtown Bangkok park.
Bruce Jenner’s sex change transgender TV interview with Diane Sawyer is coming up, and little tidbits about the interview are starting to leak on the Internet. We already know that Bruce Jenner told Diane Sawyer that he’s only worried about his children as he undergoes a public transition, but a report from Radar Online suggests that Kris Jenner is not happy about Bruce’s decision to do a TV special.
An alleged family friend tells Radar, “ Kris Jenner snapped this weekend and is now threatening him with a defamation suit, demanding that he let her see the Diane Sawyer interview and what is filmed so far of the documentary.”
The same source also adds, “Kris told Bruce that if he defames her in any way, or their brand, she is going to sue him for everything that he is worth… She told him that, if not for her, he would be broke…”
Of course, Bruce Jenner reportedly has no plans to badmouth Kris because she is the ‘mother of his children’ and he would never, ever do such a thing. Man, I almost wonder who this ‘source’ is getting their information from…..cough……
Anyway, it’s fairly obvious that as Bruce Jenner slowly comes out with the truth about his sex change, his children and his ex-wife stand on polar opposite ends of the spectrum. His children are remaining publicly supportive of him, even if they don’t quite understand his situation. Meanwhile, Kris Jenner is seething inside, even though she doesn’t want to receive backlash for going public with her opinion.
What do you guys think? Will Bruce Jenner slip up during the interview and/or TV special and say something defaming about Kris Jenner, and if he does, would she actually go through with a defamation lawsuit? Or is she just exaggerating to try to prevent Bruce from doing the TV special? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.