EBG Attorneys, Carrie Corcoran and Meg Thering, Speak at the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York's 2012 Convention About Labor and Employment Law Issues Affecting Female Attorneys
Carrie Corcoran and I spoke at the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York’s 2012 convention on Saturday, June 2 at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. Our presentation was entitled “Labor and Employment Law Issues Affecting Female Attorneys.” During our presentation, we presented statistics about the number of females in the legal profession and the number of females reaching the top echelons of the legal profession. This information inspired an interesting discussion with the audience members proffering their own ideas for why more females may not be attaining top career achievements in the law. Some attributed the numbers to outright sexism in the profession. Others pointed to family responsibilities such as women taking time off to have children or having greater domestic responsibilities than male counterparts with stay-at-home wives. Yet others attributed it to the fact that some women who have a financial cushion due to successful husbands decide to opt out of the workplace (whereas men who do this may be frowned upon by society). Still others believed it was due to practice areas that women pursued within the legal profession.
We then offered a primer on federal, state, and local laws that may affect female attorneys such as anti-discrimination statutes (including not just Title VII and the state and city Human Rights Laws, but also laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of physical appearance, lifestyle discrimination statutes, and marital/family status anti-discrimination statutes), the Family Medical Leave Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Dodd-Frank Act. We also presented about caregiver discrimination and lactation accommodation. During this discussion, the audience debated whether the law should mandate accommodations for women and whether society has an obligation to make it easier for women to balance careers and children. The audience also debated whether certain laws, such as statutes that provide employees with leave to attend school functions for their children, may be unfair to workers without children.
Following this, we discussed how having – and promoting – more female attorneys may make a firm more profitable, and we talked about ways firms might legally accomplish this. We ended our presentation with discussions about the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights and workplace bullying.
The presentation was well received. The audience was very engaged, and the attendees posed a lot of interesting thoughts and questions.