18 May 2010

TWO WORDS =s THE key to World Peace AND World Prosperity: HONOR WOMEN

i) May 2010 by Elizabeth Black http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/05/19/abused-women-in-maryland-arent-lying
ABUSIVE fathers are more likely to obtain primary custody when domestic violence is present, alleged or not.

ii) How Family Courts Punish Abused Women

17 May 2010 by R. Dianne Bartlow http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/05/17/how-family-courts-punish-abused-women

“The dirtiest little secret in America” is that family courts, in deciding custody, often wreak devastation upon mothers and children.

So argue Mo Therese Hannah and Barry Goldstein, editors of the new anthology Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody, which brings to light what many familiar with the family court system have long known: Designed to dispense justice, the system has become instead “an instrument of oppression,” particularly in cases involving domestic violence.

To find a chilling example of what the editors mean, we need look no further than the recent murder of infant Wyatt Garcia, reported in the Daily Beast:

Wyatt Garcia was born in April 2009. Nine months later, he was shot and killed by his father, who then turned the gun on himself.

It might have turned out differently—if a family-court judge had listened to Wyatt’s mother.

Wyatt’s mother, Katie Tagle, had previously filed three motions in family court for an order of protection against the baby’s father, Stephen Garcia, alleging that he had physically assaulted her and harassed her and her family. Garcia was apparently jealous that she was dating again. In the last motion, Tagle charged that Garcia “had threatened to kill her and their baby.”

The San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Robert Lemkau chose to believe Garcia’s denials over the evidence supplied by Tagle – which included emails, text messages, and voice messages, according to the Daily Beast. Tagle says she was treated like a “criminal” and “complaining woman.”

One goal of Hannah and Goldstein’s book is to convince judges, attorneys, and others who work in the court system that all forms of abusive behavior, whether physical, verbal, financial or legal, cause harm to women and children. On the legal side, men who abuse their female intimate partners have successfully used strategies such as false accusations, harassment, manipulation, and intimidation to win custody while often driving their victims into poverty. According to contributing author and lawyer Joan Zorza:

Abusive men not only harass their victims, many harass their partners’ lawyers and manipulate those in and connected with the court system who are supposed to insure that children are placed with their better parent in a safe, nurturing environment.

This makes it all the stranger that about half of the time batterers win custody in family courts. They are actually more likely to win custody than men who do not abuse their partners, according to Zorza. Over the past nine months, 75 children have been murdered by abusive fathers who used custody battles to get even with the mothers, according to the Daily Beast.

Yet Katie Tagle’s dismissive treatment by family courts is all-too-familiar. While there has been a growing awareness over the last 30 years of the harm domestic violence causes, courts are more and more ignoring women’s allegations of domestic violence and holding them responsible for their own abuse. This is largely due to courts’ reliance upon mental health experts who have inadequate training in intimate violence or child sexual abuse and who are easily manipulated by batterers.

Gender bias plays a large role in this backlash, according to the editors:

Compared to men, women are disbelieved more often, held to much higher standards, and judged far more punitively for failings such as drinking, use of drugs, adultery or hostility to their partners. …Such behaviors are readily seen as grounds for giving the father custody.

Hannah and Goldstein hope to also expose two particularly harmful court practices that have evolved over the last several decades: Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), and “friendly parent” statutes. PAS provides a handy–and utterly without basis–refutation to incest and abuse claims by blaming mothers for any hostility that the children feel towards their fathers, maintaining that children love and respect their fathers unless a “poisonous” mother has convinced them otherwise. Even alleged incest and violence are not deemed reason enough for children to independently turn against their fathers.

Since PAS has been deemed by the American Psychological Association to have no scientific backing, at least 32 states have incorporated the milder sounding “friendly parent” concept into their custody laws. This gives custody to the parent who will encourage the child to have more contact and a better relationship with the other parent. Often mothers are hurt by the friendly parent concept, since they can be deemed “unfriendly” for saying anything against the father, including alleging abuse. Zorza says that, ironically enough:

The unfriendly behavior of noncustodial parents (usually the father), such as not paying child support, physically or verbally abusing the mother, or stalking her, is not considered as meeting the definition of unfriendly.

With such an approach, Zorza says, family violence is discounted, and abusers are empowered while battered women are disempowered. Ultimately, children are harmed.

Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody will be instructive for policymakers, those working in the family justice system, and members of the media–which the authors say has by-and-large failed to expose custody court scandals. But it is a must-read for any mother involved in a child custody battle, and especially for mothers trying get free from an abusive relationship.

iii) Female Sales Reps Win Case Against (birth control - maker!) Novartis In Largest Gender Discrimination Case to Go to Verdict // Jury Says Pharma Giant Discriminated Against Women and LARGEST - EVER AWARD in GENDER - BIAS case // http://www.law.com/jsp/law/LawArticleFriendly.jsp?id=1202458479079


NEW YORK, 17 May 17 / PRNewswire -- A New York jury handed Novartis Pharmaceuticals a bitter pill today, finding the giant drug maker guilty of gender discrimination in pay, promotional opportunities and pregnancy-related matters. The nation-wide class of 5,600 female sales representatives earned the victory in Judge Colleen McMahon's courtroom in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In addition to delivering a verdict for the Plaintiffs, the jury awarded the 12 testifying witnesses some $3.36 million in compensatory damages for the specific instances of discrimination testified to by those witnesses. This award is just the beginning of the money that will be associated with this verdict.

In deliberations tomorrow, the jury will determine how much in punitive damages to award against the company in order to punish it for its discriminatory acts and to deter it from behaving so in the future.

Judge McMahon will determine a separate amount of class damages for the approximate 5,600 individuals in the class at a later date. Those class damages will include back-pay damages for lost earnings.

In separate proceedings, compensatory damages will be decided for each member of the class that opts-in. Those damages will include money for the pain and suffering caused by Novartis' discriminatory acts.

In addition, Judge McMahon now has the opportunity to order Novartis to make changes to its policies and procedures in order to prevent future discriminatory behavior.
The class includes female sales representatives who have worked for the drug giant between 2002 and 2007. Thirteen of them testified during the five week trial. The class action was originally filed in 2004. The case is Amy Velez et al., vs. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation 04 Civ. 09194.

The case was the largest gender discrimination matter ever to go to trial in the U.S.

The women were represented by David Sanford, Steven Wittels and Katherine Kimpel in the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of Sanford, Wittels & Heisler LLP, and Grant Morris, of Washington, D.C.

"Today's verdict sends a clear and powerful message to Novartis and every corporation in the United States: women are equal partners in our workforce. The days of second-class citizenship are over. Play by the rules or be subject to great exposure – financially and reputationally," said David Sanford. "This verdict is the first step in bringing about long overdue changes at Novartis and other companies that encourage or tolerate unfair treatment of women in their workplaces. We'll have to wait and see just how much the jury awards in punitive damages, but this is certainly a company that deserves to be punished for the way it has mistreated working women in this country."

"This jury learned that Novartis is not somewhere you would want your wife, your mother, your sister or your daughter to work," said Kate Kimpel. "Novartis expected its female employees to do more than just go out and market its drugs -- Novartis has a corporate culture that expects female representatives to be available and amenable to sexual advances from the doctors they call on. Time and time again, Novartis looked the other way when female representatives complained about inappropriate doctors. And then, to add insult to injury, Novartis paid those same women less, wouldn't promote them into management, and punished them if they got pregnant. Novartis refused to treat its female employees as the competent and hard-working professionals that they were and are."

On the first day of the trial in the defense's opening statement, Novartis' own attorney said of an abusive male district manager, who had shown female sales reps pornography and invited them to sit on his lap, "He wasn't that bad a manager. He was just terrible with women." *!*!*!

Novartis kept that manager on staff, actively managing women in the field, for years after it first learned of his inappropriate behavior.

Although several of Novartis' witnesses claimed it had a "zero tolerance policy" for discrimination, those same witnesses admitted that managers were not terminated or demoted even when complaints of discrimination were substantiated by HR.

Steven Wittels said of today's victory, "This jury has sent a message to Novartis ---- Get your house in order! Change your culture: the 'old boys network' will not be tolerated. Provide your HR department with enough resources to create policies which mandate employment equity across the board, and provides training and guidance as well as people to make sure the laws are respected and followed."

Novartis was created in 1996 through a merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, the company had 2009 sales of $44.3 billion.

Sanford Wittels & Heisler is a law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco that specializes in employment discrimination, wage and hour, consumer and complex corporate class action litigation and has represented thousands of individuals in some of the major class action cases in the United States. The firm also represents individual clients in employment, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower, public accommodations, commercial, medical malpractice, and personal injury matters. More information at www.SWHlegal.com

*!*!*! DEFINITION of "MANAGER" ---- IF a person canNOT work managing ... women, THEN the person canNOT work ... managing!

IF he canNOT manage himself, then he canNOT ... MANAGE!

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