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John Winer talked to the Mercury News about our lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland

Our firm sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland on behalf of a young man sexually abused by a convicted, pedophile priest. WBT’s John Winer talked to the Mercury News about the lawsuit and why it’s important to shine a light on the Catholic Church’s ongoing failure to resolve the clergy abuse crisis.

 

Catholic priest sexual abuse survivor suing Oakland Diocese and East Bay churches

 

 

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Rampant for LGBT Service Members

A newly released study found that sexual harassment, assault, and stalking remain a persistent problem in the U.S. military. Service members identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) may face enhanced risk compared to heterosexual service members. According to the CUNY Grad School of Public Health & Health Policy, despite the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, there are still concerns over the persistence of military sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination against LGBT service members.

The study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress by Oregon State University and the University of Southern California revealed that LGBT service members face an elevated risk of sexual harassment, assault, and stalking while in the military than their non-LGBT counterparts. It also found that although women of all sexual orientations experienced sexual harassment to some degree, queer men faced more harassment than straight men. Participants reported stalking as an issue, reporting twice as many incidents compared to straight participants. Lead author Ashley Schuyler claimed that although the study indicated that more research is needed to understand the issue of stalking in the military, being confined in close quarters with others for months could increase the risk. “We’re trying to understand where stalking fits into that spectrum of experiences, so we can intervene to help people who we know experience harassment or stalking and prevent a potential assault in the future.”

In 1993, President Bill Clinton announced that he intended to eliminate military discrimination based on sexual orientation by implementing the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Under its terms, military service members who identified as LGBT and wanted to join the armed forces would no longer be forced to lie about their sexual orientation. In 2010, the House and Senate voted in favor to repeal and over-turn the policy, and in 2011, the nation decided that LGBT military personnel should no longer fear discharge due to admitting to their sexual preference.

Unfortunately, three years after the Obama administration told transgender individuals they could serve openly and have access to personal medical care, the Trump administration reversed its course. According to an NBC news report, many service members say they’ve been forced to choose between continued service and their dignity and basic health care needs.

While the U.S. has made great efforts towards achieving equality in the military, there is still work to be done for the members of the LGBT community. The findings demonstrate the prevalence of sexual orientation discrimination among LGBT service members in the military and point to the need for strong accountability and oversight to protect service members while they are serving their country. A study conducted on LGBT military veterans who experienced sexual harassment or assault during military service found that they were linked with negative health outcomes such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms, substance use, and suicidal behavior. It’s clear that the U.S. military still has work to do in providing effective support for openly gay service members by changing military culture and implementing prevention programs to teach against discrimination in order for LGBT service members to feel fully accepted.

US Women’s Soccer: Is the Fight for Equal Pay Over?

Written by John Winer:

Despite their tremendous achievements including four World Cup wins and four gold medals, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) continues their fight for gender pay equity. According to Salary.com, the nation’s finest female soccer athletes lag behind their male counterparts in terms of earnings, and last year, the team decided to fight back by filing a lawsuit for gender discrimination. The lawsuit accused the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) of pervasive discriminatory treatment that affected everything from the players’ paychecks to the fields where they played and the accommodations they were given during competitions. A recent ruling on that lawsuit may have people wondering if the fight for equal pay may be over for them.

In March 2019,  28 players from the USWNT took a stand against gender pay discrimination by filing a class-action lawsuit against the USSF, claiming they were being paid less than the men’s national team and were met with less support, despite their enormous success. The team was seeking $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to Business Insider, the USSF asked the judge to dismiss the case entirely, claiming, “the men’s and women’s players perform such different jobs that there’s no basis for a direct comparison between the two and thus no grounds for a discrimination lawsuit.”

Earlier this month, a federal judge dealt a heavy blow for the USWNT by ruling in favor of the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming he would not allow the equal pay allegations to go forward because the women’s national team had previously rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure that the USMNT has and accepted greater base salaries and benefits. According to Forbes, players from the USWNT argued that although they were paid more, they would have been compensated more had they had the same contract the men’s team had. Although some initial reports claimed their legal battle may be over, the team players dismissed that assumption by filing two motions a week after the ruling, allowing them to appeal and postpone the trial which was scheduled for June.

As the Women’s Sports Foundation reports, the USWNT has been long associated with leading the way in the fight for gender equality in soccer and although they may have suffered a major setback, their fight is not over. Since 2015, the women’s national team has been more popular and has generated more revenue for the soccer federation than the men’s national team, yet still make less than them in the larger scale, revealing the unfairness the players are subjected to. The fight between the USWNT and the Federation exposes how little has changed in the fight for equal rights and against gender discrimination. If organizations such as the USSF continue to remain ignorant of this issue and fail to address it, the issue of gender pay inequity will never be resolved. They need to take action, and that means acknowledging the issue and allowing women to speak about it as well as implementing real policy change.

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