A Group of Black Farmers Intervene in a Texas Debt Relief Lawsuit

A group of Black farmers is seeking to jump into the Texas federal court battle that has stalled a $5 billion debt relief program for farmers of color.

The motion to intervene filed on Tuesday by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund includes declarations from six farmers alleging discrimination from the Agriculture Department and Farm Service Agency loan programs.

The farmers argue that debt relief is key to their businesses’ survival and that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his Justice Department attorneys can’t be counted on to defend the debt relief program as vigorously as the Black farmers federation will.

Read the source article at Politics, Policy, Political News

The New Jersey Governor Signs the NJLAD to Expand Age Discrimination Protections

On October 5, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law amendments to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) that significantly expand causes of action available to older workers. While NJLAD has always prohibited age-based discrimination in employment, the new amendments create a new private right of action for forced retirement claims and eliminates a safe harbor provision which limited damages and gave small businesses more flexibility to manage their workforces.

Prior to the amendments, NJLAD provided no private right of action for forced retirement claims. Instead, plaintiff-employees were only permitted to bring forced retirement claims by submitting a complaint to the Office of the Attorney General. Following the amendments, plaintiff-employees may now either bring standalone forced retirement lawsuits, or include forced retirement causes of action with other discrimination claims under NJLAD. This portion of the amendments will likely significantly increase claims brought against businesses, both in the number of age discrimination lawsuits and the scope of other discrimination claims.

Read the source article at jdsupra.com

The NAACP Wants to Meet With Mark Zuckerberg Following Facebook’s Hate Speech Revelations

The NAACP is reportedly calling for a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, citing concerns of hate speech on the social media platform.

The move by the civil rights organization comes after former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen told a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday that a study showed that the company had only taken action on 3 to 5 percent of hate speech on the platform.

“Vaccine hesitation, political violence and white supremacy are rampant,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement, according to Bloomberg News, referring to the statistic. “Profiting on hate and disinformation is sickening and evil.”

Read the source article at The Hill

The Parents of a Boy Who Died From a Brain-Eating Amoeba Found at a Splash Pad Sue the City

The parents of a 3-year-old boy who died after being infected with a rare brain-eating amoeba that was found at a Texas splash pad he’d visited sued the city that operated it for negligence on Monday.

Tariq Williams and Kayla Mitchell filed the lawsuit against the city of Arlington in Tarrant County District Court in Fort Worth. Their son, Bakari Williams, died Sept. 11 after being hospitalized with primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a rare and typically fatal infection caused by the naegleria fowleri amoeba.

The city announced his death last week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the amoeba in water samples collected from the splash pad Bakari had visited. A city official also said that a review had found gaps in their daily inspection program that resulted in maintenance standards not being met at the city’s splash pads.

Read the source article at Associated Press News

A Texas Prison Chaplain Claims Qualified Immunity in a Discrimination Suit

A federal prison chaplain accused of discriminating against non-Catholic believers has claimed he should be protected from a lawsuit because he is entitled to qualified immunity.

Michael Onuh, the Catholic chaplain at Carswell FMC prison in Fort Worth, was sued by Casey Campbell, a Protestant chaplain at the prison, in 2019. The lawsuit accuses Onuh of subjecting colleagues and inmates to religious discrimination and harassment over the course of seven years while the Federal Bureau of Prisons ignored complaints.

The Bureau of Prisons has declined to answer questions from the Star-Telegram, citing the pending lawsuit. The Fort Worth Diocese doesn’t have jurisdiction over federal prison chaplains, according to a spokesperson. Onuh could not be reached for comment.

Read the source article at star-telegram.com

A Google Security Official Faces a Harassment Lawsuit

According to a lawsuit filed this week, a senior manager on Google’s global security team cruelly joked about a company security guard over text messages, which form part of a pattern of workplace harassment against the homosexual, Black employee.

David Brown, who filed the lawsuit, is jointly employed by the Alphabet Inc unit and security company Allied Universal. Brown is seeking unspecified monetary damages for alleged physical and emotional harassment at Google’s LA offices based on both his race and sexual orientation. The suit claims the harassment took place between 2014 and last year. 

Brown’s supervisor, Henry Linares, allegedly accounted for much of the harassment, including “grabbing him on the buttocks, kicking him in the groin, throwing him through a window head first and brutally grabbing his nipples.” According to the filing, Linares was fired for other reasons this year. 

Read the source article at Lawyer Monthly

A Lawsuit Is Filed Over a Back Bay Station Escalator Malfunction That Injured 9 People

A family has filed a lawsuit after a malfunction on an escalator at an MBTA station in Boston injured nine people.

The escalator from the Amtrak and commuter rail platform to the lobby of the Back Bay Station suddenly reversed Sunday evening, sending riders tumbling down.

Karson and Holly Bethay and their two children, of Louisiana, suffered multiple fractures, and “extensive” lacerations, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday, the Boston Globe reported.

Read the source article at Boston News, Weather and Sports

Vanderbilt University Faces a Discrimination Lawsuit From a Transgender Navy Veteran

A transgender woman is suing Vanderbilt University saying she was ridiculed after transitioning from male to female. The lawsuit alleges longtime employee Olivia Hill was victim to vulgar abuse and ridicule after her transition surgery. Hill has worked for 25 years at the Vanderbilt University Power Plant.

“I knew how things were going to possibly be, but I really had hoped that people would be genuine,” Hill said. “I mean these are people that were friends of mine.”

Hill is represented by well-known civil rights attorney Abby Rubenfeld, who claims Vanderbilt demonstrated ‘stunning hypocrisy’ by violating its own policies of support for LGBT employees. “Vanderbilt is supposedly a great school in terms of their non-discrimination policies,” Rubenfeld said. “They talk the talk, and we want them to walk the walk as well.”

Read the source article at wsmv.com

The Owner of Four Hydroelectric Dams Sues Maine Agencies Over Fish Passage Regulations

The owner of four hydroelectric dams on the Kennebec River sued two Maine agencies on Monday alleging they improperly cooperated on fish passage regulations that impact the future of the dams and fish populations.

The lawsuit filed in Kennebec Superior Court is the latest brought by Brookfield Renewable Power, a subsidiary of a large Canadian company that owns many of the dams in the state, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The lawsuit contends that the Department of Marine Resources improperly helped the Department of Environmental Protection draft fish passage policies, claiming that the cooperation between state agencies violates a 1993 settlement between the dams’ then-owners, environmental groups and state and federal bodies.

Read the source article at Associated Press News

CA State Treasurer Fiona Ma Is Accused of Sexual Harassment, Racial Discrimination, and Wrongful Termination

California state Treasurer Fiona Ma repeatedly shared hotel rooms with employees, a practice she says saved money but that business experts contend crosses an ethical line and can lead to lawsuits like one Ma now faces, the Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday.

Judith Blackwell, the former head of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, sued Ma in July, alleging sexual harassment, racial discrimination and wrongful termination. Ma said the allegations are without merit.

Records obtained by the Bee show Ma shared a hotel room with her chief of staff, Genevieve Jopanda, 13 times over two years. She also stayed with four other aides at a three-bedroom property on a trip. There’s no policy in the state’s human resources manual on whether managers and staff can share hotel rooms.

Read the source article at Associated Press News