Discussion: Reid References Jill Abramson When Talking Pay Equity On Senate Floor

Discussion for article #222811

Abramson wanted wage parity with the man, Keller, she succeeded, nothing wrong with that. Agreeing with the NT Times and its reporting and its slant has to be left out of that conversation.

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If this had been a right wing rag, everyone and their cousin on the left would be up in arms. But because it is the NYT, “we don’t have enough information.”

First off, we yet don’t know all the facts. Abramson and her PR folks are suggesting that the wage issue was material in her dismissal. The NY Times says it was not a factor and that Ms. Abramson’s compensation was comparable to Bill Keller, the man she replaced. Looking at Ms. Abramson’s claim, there are two questions that bother me:

  1. For such a high profile job, one would think that her compensation was negotiated and that she had competent representation during those negotiations.
  2. Why would one expect a new editor to be paid as much or more than the person she replaced? After all, one wouldn’t expect the Lakers to pay Mike D’Antoni as much as they paid Phil Jackson. (of course, Bill Keller is no Phil Jackson by you get what I mean.)
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I think the entire NY Times staff has gotten (or maybe always was?) snottily unbearable. It’s hard for me to take either side of this situation seriously, as I suspect Sulzberger is as full of himself as Abramson is. It’s just a colossal wreck of egos…which pretty much sums up most of their staff.

It’s up to the employer who is hired and fired…not Harry Reid or anyone else. Period.

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Love it. Harry Reid is playing hard ball. Give’em hell Harry!

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Never shoot at a target that you don’t plainly see, Harry. You will soon have plenty of better targets. Save your ammo for them.

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Another gem from Harry Reid. I wonder if Durbin or Schumer will challenge him for minority leader next year.

Not very familiar with the labor laws, are you?

29 U.S. Code § 215
(a) After the expiration of one hundred and twenty days from June 25, 1938, it shall be unlawful for any person—
…
(3) to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee;
29 U.S. Code § 218c
(a) Prohibition
No employer shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee with respect to his or her compensation, terms, conditions, or other privileges of employment because the employee (or an individual acting at the request of the employee) has—
(1) received a credit under section 36B of title 26 or a subsidy under section 18071 of title 42;
(2) provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide or cause to be provided to the employer, the Federal Government, or the attorney general of a State information relating to any violation of, or any act or omission the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of, any provision of this title (or an amendment made by this title)
(3) testified or is about to testify in a proceeding concerning such violation;
(4) assisted or participated, or is about to assist or participate, in such a proceeding; or
(5) objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, practice, or assigned task that the employee (or other such person) reasonably believed to be in violation of any provision of this title (or amendment), or any order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban under this title (or amendment).
(b) Complaint procedure
(1) In general
An employee who believes that he or she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against by any employer in violation of this section may seek relief in accordance with the procedures, notifications, burdens of proof, remedies, and statutes of limitation set forth in section 2087 (b) of title 15.
(2) No limitation on rights
Nothing in this section shall be deemed to diminish the rights, privileges, or remedies of any employee under any Federal or State law or under any collective bargaining agreement. The rights and remedies in this section may not be waived by any agreement, policy, form, or condition of employment.

You may not believe it, but there are laws that protect employees from wrongful termination, both on the federal and state level.

Yes this.

But a question from a non-lawyer to someone familiar with labor law:

At this point the nyt will try to demonstrate that the firing was for cause (“management style” was floated) and entirely unrelated to her current claim of discrimination, and Abramson will argue that her firing and any management friction arose following her starting to push back for discrimination. Correct? Presumably this all hinges on whether or not the Times built a proper case for firing and properly documented her perceived failings prior to firing, or whether she properly and visibly recorded discrimination claims.

As per comment above, the issue isn’t whether she had competent representation at salary negotiations or if there was any salary differential with men, but whether or not she was fired after raising the issue? Would she have had to lodge some sort of formal complaint to have any legal standing on this, or is it entirely determined by an investigation of fact? I think this is where Ledbetter is relevant, but again, not a lawyer.

This is one of the things I don’t get about employment law and discrimination. Anyone who suspects they might get fired soon can first publicly claim or inquire about potential discriminatory practices against them… and then after the specter of discrimination is raised the company basically can’t fire them? or has to pay them to go away, yes?

I know there are gazillions of legitimate claims of discrimination (I’m not doubting those or even if there was discrimination here), incredible power differential between employers and employees in general, and I know none of the real facts of this case. But there’s often lots of money and bruised ego’s involved too and seems so ripe for abuse. Just curious about how these things play out in the real world.

Any smarty-pants care to weigh in?