The Jury Talks Back

12/27/2008

Bias against mothers and others? Oh brother!

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 10:29 pm

Michael Cohn and Heather Farley are two people with far too much time on their hands.

Cohn went to a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball game on Mother’s Day in 2005 and demanded one of the free tote bags the Angels were giving to women fans.  After he was denied, Cohn left the game and contacted his lawyer, who wrote a letter to the Angels.  The team responded by sending tote bags to Cohn, his lawyer, and two friends who also complained.  Nevertheless, Cohn filed a lawsuit against the Angels, claiming that the promotion was illegal sex discrimination.  Cohn argued that the giveaway was a violation of the Unruh act, which prohibits California businesses from discriminating on the basis of sex and other protected categories.

The state appeals court ruled in favor of the Angels, stating that the team intended to honor all mothers.  Since it would be impractical for the team to verify that each woman who received a tote bag was a mother, the Angels were entitled to provide tote bags to all adult women.  The gift of a tote bag is distinguished from a discounted admission price (such as ladies day), which would violate Unruh.  According to the court ruling, Cohn deliberately went to the game with the intent to sue, and he and his friends had been involved in a number of previous “shakedown” lawsuits.

Farley, meanwhile, complained in October when Facebook removed photos showing her breastfeeding her baby from her personal page.  Facebook’s policy prohibits photos that show the areola around the nipple.  When she posted another breastfeeding photo, Facebook sent Farley a letter threatening to delete her account. Whereupon the Provo, Utah mother sent out an email that generated support from other breastfeeding moms and lactation advocates.  A Facebook group site has already garnered over 70,000 members, who have posted nearly 3,000 photos of breastfeeding.  According to the San Jose Mercury News, however, a rally called for Saturday at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto drew only a few protestors, who bore signs reading “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is not Obscene.”  Company executives did not appear to be at work.

There’s nothing I could add to the court ruling on the Mother’s Day promotion except that, with fans like Cohn, teams may be less likely to offer such promotions.  As for the breastfeeding protest, while I support the rights of mothers to breastfeed in public when done discreetly, Facebook has every right to determine its own standards and terms of service.  If the protesters disagree, they are free to join a different social network website.  They are free to develop their own social network website.  They are free to exchange photos the old-fashioned way — by email.  Or they are free to get a life.

Story Ideas for the LA Times

Filed under: California Politics — Kevin M @ 6:33 pm
  • The California budget crisis:
    • How bad is it?
    • Where is the money going?
    • Why did we have a deficit even during the boom years?
    • Are public pensions really the problem people say they are?
    • What, besides raising taxes or closing libraries, can be done?
    • Should we repeal Prop 13, raise income taxes, lay off 30,000 state & local workers?  What?
    • Can the state go bankrupt?  What would that mean?
    • Who’s to blame?
    • You would think that they could fill the paper for weeks with this.  (Just “who’s to blame” alone…)
  • L.A. Government:
    • How’s Mayor Whatshisname doing?
    • The city council?
    • How deep is the local deficit, how high the pensions, etc?
    • Are they dealing with business, or spending their time remodeling offices, pandering to their base and denouncing Burma?
    • Should we re-elect any of them?
  • Traffic:
    • How bad is it?
    • How has it changed over the last 20-30 years?
    • What opportunities have been missed?
    • What has gone right?
    • How is Obama’s public works stimulus going to play out here (have we even made up a list of projects?)?
    • Is there a master plan for rail or is it all just hodgepodge notions and community negotiations?
    • What will it be like in 20 years if, as expected, nothing is done?
    • Whose fault is it?
  • Will we EVER get a pro football team?

There’s more where that came from.  See the comments, too.


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