A U.K. Lesson: Increased Maternity Rights Diminish Job Prospects for Women?

I’m not buying what this article in the U.K. Daily Telegraph seems to be selling:

Employers may stop giving jobs to women because the cost of maternity leave and temp cover is set to double, legal experts have warned . . . .

New rules mean that female staff due to give birth from next month onwards must receive job perks such as paid holiday, childcare vouchers and gym membership for a full year rather than six months.

Companies will be liable for sex discrimination claims if they refuse to give the same benefits to women throughout 12 months of maternity leave.

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Mandatory Meetings in the Workplace

Paul Secunda takes on Wal-Mart in this new commentary for the Legal Times. Along with coauthors Melissa Hart and Marcia McCormick, he criticizes recent mandatory employee meetings at Wal-Mart that have allegedly pushed employees away from supporting the Democratic presidential nominee. They urge other states to follow the lead of New Jersey in adopting a Freedom from Employer Intimidation Act, which makes it unlawful for any employer to force its employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings whose purpose is to discuss the employer’s opinions on religious and political matters.

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Edwards and Erosion of the Defendant’s Right to Self-Represent

In June, the Supreme Court offered its’ latest pronouncement on the right of criminal defendants to represent themselves in court.  The Court first recognized this constitutional right in 1975 in Faretta v. California, a case that I like to present in my Criminal Procedure course as one of the few instances in which the Supreme Court has given any real weight to the dignitary interests of criminal defendants (which are usually subordinated in criminal procedure to competing objectives, such as judicial economy and reliable fact-finding).  I think the Court was right that it is profoundly demeaning for the state to force a lawyer on an unwilling defendant, and then authorize the lawyer to decide how the defendant’s story will be presented to the jury.  (I discussed this point at greater length in this essay a few years ago.)  Yet, the Court’s post-Faretta decisions have generally worked to diminish the scope of the right to self-representation, and the most recent (Indiana v. Edwards, 128 S.Ct. 2379 (2008)) is no exception.

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