Thursday, January 7, 2010

Good News, Bad News: New Jersey Edition

So, admittedly, New Jersey is not a state I spend a ton of time reading about, but today two bits of news worth knowing came across my radar. I'm left with mixed feelings about these goings-on in the Garden State.

Thumbs Up, NJ!

The NJ appeals court ruled yesterday that sexual harassment and discrimination laws apply to business owners and their clients, in a decision that expands application of the laws beyond just employer-employee relationships. A description of the case from
Eileen Tortorello, the owner of J.T.’s Tire Service Inc., in South Plainfield, filed suit against United Rentals North America Inc. and its Piscataway branch manager, Harold Hinkes, in January 2008, alleging Hinkes stopped buying tires from the firm after she refused his sexual advances.

United Rentals sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing sexual harassment is prohibited only in a workplace environment. In addition, the company, while acknowledging that the facts in the case are true, said they did not rise to the level of sex discrimination.
This is big news, with the three-judge panel overturning a previous ruling in order to allow Tortorello to sue United Rentals North America, Inc. after one of the company's managers pulled his business after his sexual advances were rejected by Tortorello.

We'll be interested to see how the case develops, but for now, a thumbsup!

Now, for the bad news -

Thumbs Down, NJ!

After an hour and a half of heated public debate in the Senate chamber, the state Senate rejected a bill to permit same-sex marriage. Though New Jersey legalized civil unions in 2006, supporters of the marriage legislation argue that same-sex couples are still discriminated against in some ways, citing hospital visitation rights and pension benefits.

This is just another disappointing chapter in the ongoing battle for equal rights for the LGBTQ community. A definite thumbs down on this one.

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