Monday, February 11, 2008

New Civil Rights Bill Hits Congress

A new bill introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative John Lewis aims to reverse or modify seven workplace-related decisions handed down by the United States Supreme Court over the past two decades. Entitled the Civil Rights Act of 2008 (S. 2554/H.R. 2159), the bill aims to "restore, reaffirm, and reconcile legal rights and remedies under civil rights statutes."

The Civil Rights Act of 2008 addresses a number of employment issues, including age and gender discrimination laws and improper use of federal funding. The seeks to restrict mandatory arbitration clauses, eliminate damage caps in gender and religious discrimination cases, reward successful plaintiffs with expert witness fees, and allow state employees to seek damages from their employers for age discrimination and Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") violations. The bill also contains a provision allowing undocumented workers to recover backpay for labor and employment law violations.

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