While 2022 has certainly been a difficult year to seek gender justice from the courts, we are proud of NWLC’s litigation efforts. From litigating sex discrimination cases to submitting amicus briefs, we have continued to use litigation as one of our tools to secure justice. Alongside these positive updates, we also need to name that this is certainly a time of outrage. From leaked opinions to many unjust rulings, the integrity of this Supreme Court has come into question. We refuse to normalize the offensive and often lawless ways of the majority on this Court, including how it has turned its back on basic norms of our legal system. However, we also know we cannot leave litigation to our opponents, and so we continue to fight the good fight, and we are excited to share these highlights.
In 2022, we finalized a significant settlement in our Title VII sexual harassment case, and filed a new federal equal pay case. We also recently filed an Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) administrative complaint on behalf of a woman denied emergency medical treatment for pregnancy complications following the legal chaos caused by the Dobbs decision overturning Roe. Litigation also continues in our class action challenging Aetna’s discriminatory practices against LGBTQ+ policyholders seeking fertility treatments and our Title IX appeal in support of a student survivor. We are also continuing to monitor our several cases challenging harmful Trump-era rules to ensure that they are rescinded. In our equal pay data collection case, we secured a final victory, ensuring that decision in our favor will remain on the books.
We led 19 amicus briefs this year in cases that implicated important civil rights protections, including U.S. Supreme Court briefs involving affirmative action and whether businesses may turn away LGBTQ customers. Dozens of advocacy organizations signed on to our amicus briefs, adding to the strength and reach of our arguments. We also joined over 10 amicus briefs filed by partner organizations. This year also brought several wins in past NWLC amicus cases, including in favor of: 118 male survivors in a Sixth Circuit case, gender-affirming healthcare in an Eighth Circuit case, a former judiciary employee survivor in a Fourth Circuit case, an Indigenous woman survivor in a Montana state court case, a worker who defeated the ministerial exemption in a Tenth Circuit case, and app-based drivers in a Massachusetts state court case. NWLC’s amicus briefs can be found on our website, and additional details regarding these matters are provided below.
NWLC’s litigation is one part of our larger work of fighting to improve our society. The intense work involved in NWLC’s litigation is typically handled by NWLC attorneys in each program, most of whom work on these cases alongside policy work. The Reproductive Rights and Health team also includes dedicated litigation staff: Michelle Banker, RRH Litigation Director, and Alison Tanner, Senior Litigation Counsel. These matters are supported by Marissa Moore, Program Associate for Education and Workplace Justice; Christina Iruela Lane, Assistant for Education and Workplace Justice; and Amalia Gradie, Assistant for Reproductive Rights and Health. Our Development team colleagues also help secure law firm representation, and the Communications team fulfills a critical role in amplifying NWLC’s litigation work to change the public narrative and our overall culture. While it is always exciting to obtain a positive court ruling, settle a case, or have our amicus brief cited by a court, we know the greater purpose is to highlight the stories of the people in these cases, and to help fight back against broader injustices. We know these efforts are one part of our collective work towards a better world. Thank you for supporting NWLC’s litigation work across the organization.