Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where we are with the legislation......8/08

Assembly Bill A1563 has unanimously passed the House twice - once on the last day of the last legislative session January 7, 2008 and again on March 13, 2008. Senate Bill S1106 was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 5, 2008. We are hopeful that when the legislature reconvenes in September 2008, S1106 will be expeditiously posted for a vote by the full Senate.

A1563 Amends stalking law to broaden protections for victims. 2nd Reading in the Senate

Identical Bill Number: S1106 Last Session Bill Number: A4354 S3051 Greenstein, Linda R. as Primary SponsorMunoz, Eric as Primary SponsorCryan, Joseph as Primary SponsorEvans, Elease as Primary SponsorOliver, Sheila Y. as Co-SponsorBiondi, Peter J. as Co-SponsorMcKeon, John F. as Co-SponsorGreen, Jerry as Co-SponsorThompson, Samuel D. as Co-SponsorVainieri Huttle, Valerie as Co-SponsorHandlin, Amy H. as Co-SponsorVas, Joseph as Co-SponsorGiblin, Thomas P. as Co-SponsorQuigley, Joan M. as Co-SponsorBarnes, Peter J., III as Co-SponsorLampitt, Pamela R. as Co-SponsorRumpf, Brian E. as Co-SponsorDiegnan, Patrick J., Jr. as Co-SponsorEgan, Joseph V. as Co-SponsorScalera, Frederick as Co-SponsorAlbano, Nelson T. as Co-SponsorJohnson, Gordon M. as Co-SponsorGreenwald, Louis D. as Co-SponsorCruz-Perez, Nilsa as Co-SponsorBramnick, Jon M. as Co-SponsorO'Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. as Co-SponsorChivukula, Upendra J. as Co-Sponsor


1/8/2008 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee2/25/2008 Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading3/13/2008 Passed by the Assembly (78-0-0)3/17/2008 Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee6/5/2008 Reported from Senate Committee, 2nd ReadingIntroduced - 4 pages PDF Format HTML Format Statement - ALP 2/25/08 - 2 pages PDF Format HTML Format Technical Review Of Prefiled Bill - 3 pages PDF Format HTML Format Statement - SJU 6/5/08 - 2 pages PDF Format HTML Format
Committee Voting:ALP 2/25/2008 - r/favorably - Yes {5} No {0} Not Voting {0} Abstains {0} - Roll Call



S1106 Amends stalking law to broaden protections for victims. 2nd Reading in the Senate

Identical Bill Number: A1563 Last Session Bill Number: S3051 Buono, Barbara as Primary SponsorBeck, Jennifer as Primary SponsorTurner, Shirley K. as Co-SponsorMadden, Fred H., Jr. as Co-SponsorGirgenti, John A. as Co-SponsorWeinberg, Loretta as Co-SponsorBateman, Christopher as Co-SponsorKean, Thomas H., Jr. as Co-SponsorStack, Brian P. as Co-Sponsor


2/14/2008 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee6/5/2008 Reported from Senate Committee, 2nd ReadingStatement - SJU 6/5/08 - 2 pages PDF Format HTML Format Introduced - 4 pages PDF Format HTML Format
Committee Voting:SJU 6/5/2008 - r/favorably - Yes {10} No {0} Not Voting {1} Abstains {0} - Roll Call

3 comments:

Alexis Moore said...

Good work on the legislation more anti stalking legislation needs to be enacted on a national scale with this language.

BB said...

This is good legislation but writing good legislation is only relevant to our lives if it is voted into law and then enforced. New Jersey legislators have the choice to act on this meaningful reform as soon as they return. To not act on this is also a choice but not a wise one.

Dawn Martin said...

I applaud your efforts to pass anti-stalking law in New Jersey. I would also love to see federal anti-stalking laws strengthened to prohibit employer retaliation against stalking victims. There is currently no law that expressly prohibits employers from firing or otherwise retaliating against an employee is happens to become a stalking victim -- whether she knows the stalker or is stalked by a stranger roaming freely through the workplace. New York does have an anti-retaliation for stalking statute and proposed federal legislation could be modeled after it.

In the meantime, I am trying to address employer retaliation for stalking in the context of sex discrimination/sexual harassment law, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I have a case pending before the United States Supreme Court and hope that it will assert jurisdiction to address this issue. An Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) petition in support of my petition for review will be filed by several women's advocacy/victims' rights groups. Groups interested in joining the Amicus Brief are encouraged to do so, as discussed in the Press Release below.

PRESS RELEASE: August 14, 2008
Contact: Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin e-mail: dvmartinlaw@yahoo.com
(202) 408-7040; (703) 642-0207 website: www.dvmartinlaw.com

“Working while Female:” Supreme Court Asked to Reverse Case Holding that a Woman
Can be Fired for being Stalked by a Stranger in her Workplace

Washington, D.C. – Today, Dawn V. Martin filed a Petition for Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in her own case, Martin v. Howard University and Alice Gresham Bullock, alleging sexual harassment/hostile work environment and retaliation for protesting sexual harassment. See Petition for Certiorari and Petition Appendix consisting of relevant decisions in the case, exhibits and transcript of Appellate Argument.

As a law professor at Howard University, Prof. Martin was stalked by a delusional, homeless, serial stalker of African-American female professors. The stalker was searching for the physical embodiment of his "fantasy," or ideal wife. Instead of following its own security policies and procedures to ban the stalker from campus, Howard responded to her requests for protection by refusing to renew of her teaching contract.

Martin raises the concept of “gender profiling” in employment cases. Prof. Martin was nothing more than “working while female” when she was targeted by the serial campus stalker, Leonard Harrison. Harrison had been targeting women of color, at various universities, since at least the 1980s. The delusional Harrison believed that his “natural wife,” or “soul-mate,” was the physical embodiment of a fictional character, Geneva Crenshaw, in a book, And We Are Not Saved, written by the renowned NYU law professor, Derrick Bell. The application of “gender profiling” to sexual harassment cases in will also set precedent for racial, ethnic, religious profiling workplace harassment cases.

The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) supported Ms. Martin at the D.C. Circuit level by filing an Amicus Curiae (friend of the Court) Brief. NAWL stressed the importance of this case to women at work and on campuses. Eighty percent of stalking victims are women. Groups are now coordinating to file an Amicus Curiae Petition to the Supreme Court by September 15, 2008. (Interested groups should contact Ms. Martin at dvmartinlaw@yahoo.com.) See Briefs at http://www.dvmartinlaw.com/MartinvHowardU.html.

In 1999, the federal district court set precedent in Martin by adopting the EEOC Regulation 29 CFR 1604.11(e), holding that an employer can be held liable for the sexual harassment of an employee, by a non-employee, if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to stop it. Judge Hogan identified the jury questions as whether: 1) Harrison’s harassment was severe and pervasive enough to constitute a hostile work environment; and 2) Howard took reasonable steps to end it.
The jury agreed with Prof. Martin that Harrison’s harassment did create a “hostile work environment” for her. The jury also agreed that Howard’s administrators did not take reasonable steps to end it. Despite the factual findings in Ms. Martin’s favor, the jury verdict was for Howard. Misunderstanding some legal definitions, the jury found that the harassment was not based on sex -- meaning that Prof. Martin’s complaints were not “protected activity” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. There was therefore no statute to protect her against any retaliatory act that Howard took against her for being a stalking victim. The verdict is inconsistent with Judge Hogan’s 1999 and 2005 decisions, holding that that Harrison’s conduct was “based on sex;” yet, Judge Hogan refused to vacate the verdict. If not reversed, this decision leaves a woman with absolutely no remedy for being stalked in her workplace or being fired in retaliation for complaining about it.

Ms. Martin told the Court: “The precedent set by this Court will determine how employers and educational institutions will respond to stalking and other types of workplace and campus violence – particularly when it is directed against women. If a woman can be stalked in her workplace, and fired for asking her employer to take reasonable steps to keep him out of the workplace, then women will be forced to choose between their safety and their livelihood – a Hobson’s choice.”
Prof. Martin only asked Howard to follow its own security policy and ban Harrison from campus. The D.C. police department specifically advised Howard to ban Harrison from campus and hold him for arrest for stalking if he returned. Howard never banned Harrison from campus. Instead, Howard removed Prof. Martin from the campus. Howard’s Law School Dean, Alice Gresham Bullock, openly expressed her hostility toward Prof. Martin for her complaints, actually mocking her to the EEOC, stating: “Martin did not seem satisfied with my response. I was left with the impression that she wanted me to wrestle the stalker down.”

The district court held that “groping” and “touching” are “typical” indicia of sexual harassment cases and that since Harrison did not touch Prof. Martin, the jury had reason to find that she was not sexually harassed. The precedent set by this decision arguably requires that a woman to be assaulted in order to establish that she was sexually harassed in her workplace. The court also held that because, on one occasion in 1990, Harrison threatened Prof Bell seven years earlier, this was enough to defeat Ms. Martin’s claim that Harrison harassed her because of her gender; however, Ms. Martin repeatedly pointed out that Harrison did not stalk Prof. Bell. The legal definition of “stalking” requires repeated acts of harassment directed toward the same victim. Harrison contacted Prof. Bell on only one occasion, and then only to solicit his assistance in identifying the next woman he would stalk -- any woman that he believed might be the “model” for “Geneva Crenshaw.” Ms. Martin said, “Howard’s argument is like saying that John Hinckley did not sexually harass Jodie Foster when he stalked her because he also attempted to kill President Reagan. The fact that a sexually harassing stalker may also have committed a violent act against a man in his lifetime does not negate the fact that he sexually harassed a woman in another setting.”

Howard repeatedly changed and contradicted its own stated reasons for Prof. Martin’s non-renewal. At trial, then Appointments Committee Chairperson, Prof. Isaiah Leggett, now Montgomery County Maryland Executive, shockingly resorted to a football analogy, comparing Martin to an aging “veteran” football player. Howard’s counsel told the jurors that the “team” decided to go with the “rookie quarterback” even though she had “less experience” than Prof. Martin, because “that rookie” might be the team’s “franchise player one day.” Howard used this analogy in its closing argument, seeming to admit to age discrimination rather than retaliation. Howard never explained how playing football is like teaching law school or addressed the fact that it is also illegal to discriminate on the basis of age.

Martin also presented issues regarding actionable retaliation under Title VII, but the Court of Appeals deemed these issues moot. The Court of Appeals’ failure to reverse the district court on this issue leaves its precedent intact: an employer may cancel advertised vacancies without and it cannot be challenged under Title VII. Under this ruling, an employer may simply “pull down” a “Help Wanted” sign to avoid hiring an applicant with prior EEO activity or because of his/her race, gender, or other protected group membership.

Ms. Martin also asks the Court to define the circumstances under which Title VII plaintiffs can be ordered to pay the litigation costs of the defendants. The National Organization of Women (NOW) recently ran a campaign protesting the 11th Circuit’s assessment of costs against the plaintiff in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, after she lost her sex discrimination case at the Supreme Court. Such assessments unfairly punish plaintiff who file civil rights claims, in good faith, in the public interest. Absent reversal, Martin will have a deterrent effect on not only sex discrimination suits, but suits alleging discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, disability and age as well. All civil rights groups should be concerned about this precedent.

The Court of Appeals also did not explain why Dean Alice Gresham Bullock’s perjury does not require vacating the verdict. In a July 1, 1999 memorandum to Howard’s General Counsel, Dean Bullock admitted that she perceived that Harrison might “stalk or otherwise harass” Prof. Martin or “other women” on campus; yet, at trial, she testified that she never perceived Harrison’s harassment as sexual harassment, or harassment based on gender. In their Briefs, neither Howard nor Dean Bullock’s personal counsel denied that she committed perjury. Instead, they argued that perjury does not constitute “fraud” requiring reversal.






PRESS RELEASE: August 14, 2008
Contact: Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin e-mail: dvmartinlaw@yahoo.com
(202) 408-7040; (703) 642-0207 website: www.dvmartinlaw.com

“Working while Female:” Supreme Court Asked to Reverse Case Holding that a Woman
Can be Fired for being Stalked by a Stranger in her Workplace

Washington, D.C. – Today, Dawn V. Martin filed a Petition for Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in her own case, Martin v. Howard University and Alice Gresham Bullock, alleging sexual harassment/hostile work environment and retaliation for protesting sexual harassment. See Petition for Certiorari and Petition Appendix consisting of relevant decisions in the case, exhibits and transcript of Appellate Argument.

As a law professor at Howard University, Prof. Martin was stalked by a delusional, homeless, serial stalker of African-American female professors. The stalker was searching for the physical embodiment of his "fantasy," or ideal wife. Instead of following its own security policies and procedures to ban the stalker from campus, Howard responded to her requests for protection by refusing to renew of her teaching contract.

Martin raises the concept of “gender profiling” in employment cases. Prof. Martin was nothing more than “working while female” when she was targeted by the serial campus stalker, Leonard Harrison. Harrison had been targeting women of color, at various universities, since at least the 1980s. The delusional Harrison believed that his “natural wife,” or “soul-mate,” was the physical embodiment of a fictional character, Geneva Crenshaw, in a book, And We Are Not Saved, written by the renowned NYU law professor, Derrick Bell. The application of “gender profiling” to sexual harassment cases in will also set precedent for racial, ethnic, religious profiling workplace harassment cases.

The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) supported Ms. Martin at the D.C. Circuit level by filing an Amicus Curiae (friend of the Court) Brief. NAWL stressed the importance of this case to women at work and on campuses. Eighty percent of stalking victims are women. Groups are now coordinating to file an Amicus Curiae Petition to the Supreme Court by September 15, 2008. (Interested groups should contact Ms. Martin at dvmartinlaw@yahoo.com.) See Briefs at http://www.dvmartinlaw.com/MartinvHowardU.html.

In 1999, the federal district court set precedent in Martin by adopting the EEOC Regulation 29 CFR 1604.11(e), holding that an employer can be held liable for the sexual harassment of an employee, by a non-employee, if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to stop it. Judge Hogan identified the jury questions as whether: 1) Harrison’s harassment was severe and pervasive enough to constitute a hostile work environment; and 2) Howard took reasonable steps to end it.
The jury agreed with Prof. Martin that Harrison’s harassment did create a “hostile work environment” for her. The jury also agreed that Howard’s administrators did not take reasonable steps to end it. Despite the factual findings in Ms. Martin’s favor, the jury verdict was for Howard. Misunderstanding some legal definitions, the jury found that the harassment was not based on sex -- meaning that Prof. Martin’s complaints were not “protected activity” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. There was therefore no statute to protect her against any retaliatory act that Howard took against her for being a stalking victim. The verdict is inconsistent with Judge Hogan’s 1999 and 2005 decisions, holding that that Harrison’s conduct was “based on sex;” yet, Judge Hogan refused to vacate the verdict. If not reversed, this decision leaves a woman with absolutely no remedy for being stalked in her workplace or being fired in retaliation for complaining about it.

Ms. Martin told the Court: “The precedent set by this Court will determine how employers and educational institutions will respond to stalking and other types of workplace and campus violence – particularly when it is directed against women. If a woman can be stalked in her workplace, and fired for asking her employer to take reasonable steps to keep him out of the workplace, then women will be forced to choose between their safety and their livelihood – a Hobson’s choice.”
Prof. Martin only asked Howard to follow its own security policy and ban Harrison from campus. The D.C. police department specifically advised Howard to ban Harrison from campus and hold him for arrest for stalking if he returned. Howard never banned Harrison from campus. Instead, Howard removed Prof. Martin from the campus. Howard’s Law School Dean, Alice Gresham Bullock, openly expressed her hostility toward Prof. Martin for her complaints, actually mocking her to the EEOC, stating: “Martin did not seem satisfied with my response. I was left with the impression that she wanted me to wrestle the stalker down.”

The district court held that “groping” and “touching” are “typical” indicia of sexual harassment cases and that since Harrison did not touch Prof. Martin, the jury had reason to find that she was not sexually harassed. The precedent set by this decision arguably requires that a woman to be assaulted in order to establish that she was sexually harassed in her workplace. The court also held that because, on one occasion in 1990, Harrison threatened Prof Bell seven years earlier, this was enough to defeat Ms. Martin’s claim that Harrison harassed her because of her gender; however, Ms. Martin repeatedly pointed out that Harrison did not stalk Prof. Bell. The legal definition of “stalking” requires repeated acts of harassment directed toward the same victim. Harrison contacted Prof. Bell on only one occasion, and then only to solicit his assistance in identifying the next woman he would stalk -- any woman that he believed might be the “model” for “Geneva Crenshaw.” Ms. Martin said, “Howard’s argument is like saying that John Hinckley did not sexually harass Jodie Foster when he stalked her because he also attempted to kill President Reagan. The fact that a sexually harassing stalker may also have committed a violent act against a man in his lifetime does not negate the fact that he sexually harassed a woman in another setting.”

Howard repeatedly changed and contradicted its own stated reasons for Prof. Martin’s non-renewal. At trial, then Appointments Committee Chairperson, Prof. Isaiah Leggett, now Montgomery County Maryland Executive, shockingly resorted to a football analogy, comparing Martin to an aging “veteran” football player. Howard’s counsel told the jurors that the “team” decided to go with the “rookie quarterback” even though she had “less experience” than Prof. Martin, because “that rookie” might be the team’s “franchise player one day.” Howard used this analogy in its closing argument, seeming to admit to age discrimination rather than retaliation. Howard never explained how playing football is like teaching law school or addressed the fact that it is also illegal to discriminate on the basis of age.

Martin also presented issues regarding actionable retaliation under Title VII, but the Court of Appeals deemed these issues moot. The Court of Appeals’ failure to reverse the district court on this issue leaves its precedent intact: an employer may cancel advertised vacancies without and it cannot be challenged under Title VII. Under this ruling, an employer may simply “pull down” a “Help Wanted” sign to avoid hiring an applicant with prior EEO activity or because of his/her race, gender, or other protected group membership.

Ms. Martin also asks the Court to define the circumstances under which Title VII plaintiffs can be ordered to pay the litigation costs of the defendants. The National Organization of Women (NOW) recently ran a campaign protesting the 11th Circuit’s assessment of costs against the plaintiff in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, after she lost her sex discrimination case at the Supreme Court. Such assessments unfairly punish plaintiff who file civil rights claims, in good faith, in the public interest. Absent reversal, Martin will have a deterrent effect on not only sex discrimination suits, but suits alleging discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, disability and age as well. All civil rights groups should be concerned about this precedent.

The Court of Appeals also did not explain why Dean Alice Gresham Bullock’s perjury does not require vacating the verdict. In a July 1, 1999 memorandum to Howard’s General Counsel, Dean Bullock admitted that she perceived that Harrison might “stalk or otherwise harass” Prof. Martin or “other women” on campus; yet, at trial, she testified that she never perceived Harrison’s harassment as sexual harassment, or harassment based on gender. In their Briefs, neither Howard nor Dean Bullock’s personal counsel denied that she committed perjury. Instead, they argued that perjury does not constitute “fraud” requiring reversal.