Media Coverage

Legal Momentum in the Media

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  • Date: August 19, 2015 Featured In: Bustle

    As the technology becomes more common, the supposed need for statutes of limitations lessens. Lynn Hecht Schafran, director of the National Judicial Education Program at the women's legal defense and education fund Legal Momentum, tells Bustle:

    "Being able to have tangible evidence that carries forward through the years is a very important step toward making it reasonable to lift these statutes of limitations."

    Of course, not every rape victim is given a rape kit, so DNA evidence isn't present in every case.

    Schafran doesn't foresee eliminating statutes of limitations in rape cases happening quickly, and if history's taught us anything, it's that these reforms take a long time. Nebraska became the first state to abolish exemptions for marital rape in 1976, but nearly 40 years later, it's still handled differently than other rape cases in several states, with different punishments, shorter reporting periods, or by being charged under a different criminal code. In the same way, getting rid of time limits on sexual assault cases will not happen overnight, so for now, Cosby and others accused of raping women decades ago will remain free.

  • Date: August 10, 2015 Featured In: The New York Times

    Officer Thompson met with a lawyer at Legal Momentum, a women’s advocacy group, which took her case pro bono. On her behalf, the group filed a pregnancy discrimination charge against the city with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2014.

    Last month, the city settled the case, agreeing to pay Officer Thompson $50,000 and allowing her to take a makeup test in January, according to the settlement papers.

    In addition, the city promised to change its policy and to include, for the first time, women with pregnancy-related or childbirth-related conditions among those eligible to take makeup exams. City officials also agreed to pay $15,000 to cover Legal Momentum’s legal fees.

  • Date: August 4, 2015 Featured In: New York Daily News

    City bureaucrats refused to let a pregnant cop reschedule her sergeant’s exam — even though the test was on her due date.

    Now, thanks to a legal challenge by the determined officer, the city has changed its policy . . . .

    With the help of her union and lawyers from Legal Momentum, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That led to a settlement with the city changing its policy.

  • Date: August 4, 2015 Featured In: The New York Post

    Both Thompson and the PBA repeatedly requested a new date, but were denied and instead offered “useless ‘accommodations’ — a pillow to sit on and extra time for the test — when she was already in labor,” according to Legal Momentum, a women’s-rights group that advocated on her behalf.

  • Date: July 27, 2015 Featured In: WPIX 11

    Legal Momentum's Senior Vice President and Director of the National Judicial Education Program, Lynn Hecht Schafran, commented on the Bill Cosby rape allegations in this WPIX evening news story.

    “I’m very glad that this is finally coming out in such a graphic form that it will smack people in the face,” said Lynn Hecht Schafran, executive Vice President of Legal Momentum, the women’s legal defense fund.

    She and her organization are why it’s illegal and actionable if somebody displays pornography in the workplace. They also successfully carried out legal action that resulted in the ceasing of firefighters and other first responders from harassing women in the workplace.

    Hecht Schafran has handled many cases similar to those profiled in the article, and she points one thing out about most of the alleged survivors of Cosby’s abuse. Assuming it happened, it took place way too long ago to take legal action.

    “We need to get rid of the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault,” Hecht Schafran said.

  • Date: June 30, 2015 Featured In: Journal of Forensic Nursing

    This interview with National Judicial Education Program Project Attorney Claudia Bayliff discusses the language that is used to describe sexual violence, the importance of language choices, and how language shapes perceptions. Ms. Bayliff frequently presents on this topic to multidisciplinary audiences around the country. The program is also available as an online curriculum, Raped or “Seduced?” How Language Helps Shape Our Perceptions of Sexual Violence.

  • Date: June 3, 2015 Featured In: The Guardian

    This opinion piece by Legal Momentum's Executive Vice President and Legal Director, Penny M. Venetis, calls for FIFA to include an end to gender bias in much-needed reforms.

  • Date: June 1, 2015 Featured In: Bloomberg Business

    The scarf ruling not only supported religious freedom in hiring but also gender equity, said Penny Venetis, executive vice president and legal director of Legal Momentum, the New York-based nonprofit that advocates the legal rights of women.

    “Even though this ruling was about religious freedom, it was also against gender discrimination and stereotypical thinking about beauty in hiring decisions,” Venetis said.

    The case is reminiscent of lawsuits filed by female flight attendants in the 1970s and 1980s who challenged dress codes imposed on them by airlines that mandated wearing short skirts and revealing clothing -- and won in court, she said.

    “Dress codes can be a license to discriminate about people” and especially women, Venetis said.

  • Date: May 12, 2015 Featured In: Miami Herald

    Legal Momentum's President and CEO, Carol Robles-Román, and Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First, wrote this Miami Herald Op-Ed piece calling on the Obama administration to end the detention of immigrant families.

  • Date: April 6, 2015 Featured In: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

    An exhibition titled Until Safety Is Guaranteed: Women and the Fight against Violence opens on April 6, 2015, and runs through August 14, 2015. It will be on view on the first floor of the Schlesinger Library, Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    "Gender-Based Violence and the Law

    "As grassroots organizations protested violence against women and offered services to battered women and rape survivors, they also began working with police to improve the treatment of victims by the police and the legal system writ large. Following their lead, larger organizations such as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (currently Legal Momentum) began to advocate for systemic change. They lobbied for legislative action that would protect women from the all-too-common violence they were subjected to in American society. In addition, they provided training for judges through their National Judicial Education Program, offering instruction in the special conditions of survivors of domestic violence and rape. The continued work of these organizations resulted in passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, its subsequent reauthorization in 2000, and another hard-won reauthorization in 2014."

  • Date: March 25, 2015 Featured In: Bloomberg Business

    The U.S. Supreme Court backed the rights of pregnant workers, reviving a lawsuit by a former United Parcel Service Inc. driver who left her job when the company wouldn’t provide the less strenuous work recommended by her doctor.

    The justices, voting 6-3, sent the case back for a possible trial, which would center on UPS’s reasons for refusing to accommodate Peggy Young’s needs while giving temporary assignments to workers recovering from on-the-job injuries.

    “The Supreme Court has made clear that federal law mandates employers to accommodate pregnant women on the same terms as everyone else,” Carol Robles-Roman, president of the women’s-rights group Legal Momentum, said in a statement.

  • Date: March 17, 2015 Featured In: National Law Journal

    The facts are mixed and murky in Ellen Pao’s widely publicized sex discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. But whatever the ultimate result, a few points are clear. The venture-capital culture is out of touch with the realities of contemporary workplaces, where half the talent pool is female. And the premises of anti-discrimination law are out of touch with the realities of women’s experience, where much gender bias is unconscious and implicit, rather than overt and intentional.