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Civil Rights Act of 2008?

Good news for employees. Workplace Prof Blog reports on a new Democrat bill introduced in the House and Senate, the Civil Rights Act of 2008, H.R. 2159 & S. 2554, which will significantly expand employees’ rights under federal law. With a Democrat likely to be occupying the presidency for the next term, I think this bill has got a good chance of being passed in some form. Workplace Prof Blog gives the highlights of the bill as follows:

* eliminate the 1991 Civil Rights Act damage caps under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
* amend the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to allow the “bona fide factor other than sex” defense only if an employer shows that the factor was job-related was actually used and further legitimate business purposes,
* adds compensatory and punitive damages to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) remedial framework (which includes the EPA),
* amends the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to prohibit clauses requiring arbitration of federal constitution or statutory claims, unless parties knowingly and voluntarily consented after the dispute arises, or as part of a collective bargaining agreement,
* allow winning plaintiffs to recover expert fees and expand the definition of prevailing party,
* give the NLRB authority to award backpay to undocumented workers,
* provide individuals the right to sue federally funded programs under Title VI, Title IX, the Rehabilitation Act, and the ADA,
* require that ADEA disparate impact claims be analyzed the same as Title VII claims,
* condition states’ receipts of federal funds on states’ waiver of sovereign immunity against individual claims for monetary damages under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the FLSA, and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for this bill.

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