Supreme Court, Class Actions, Obamas, Netflix: Broadsheet May 22
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The Obamas strike a Netflix deal, TheSkimm lands more funding, and the Supreme Court hands a defeat to the #MeToo movement. Have a productive Tuesday.
• Supreme Court v. #MeToo. Regular Broadsheet readers will be familiar with forced arbitration—in which companies require employees to waive their right to take disputes to open court—and the ways in which the policy can limit women's ability to hold their bosses responsible for workplace sexual harassment.
Yesterday, that problem got even more severe. In an opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court ruled 5-4 that it remains legal for companies to use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to stop workers from banding together and filing a class-action lawsuit.
While individual arbitration clauses are problematic for, well, individuals, banning class-action suits has the potential to cause harm on a far more macro scale. As Emily Peck put it in The Huffington Post, "Going it alone, the most a woman can generally hope for is a monetary judgment. But banding together, women who file class actions can do far more to ensure that a company stops discriminatory behavior."
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, a move that The New York Times' Adam Liptak called "a sign of profound disagreement." In her written dissent, RBG called the majority opinion “egregiously wrong.” Addressing the court, she said the result of the decision “will be huge under-enforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well being of vulnerable workers.”
The Times also spoke to Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick, who said that the court's decision suggests that “it is only a matter of time until the most powerful device to hold corporations accountable for their misdeeds [the class action suit] is lost altogether."
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Twelve too many. Fortune's Claire Zillman takes a look at the 12 Fortune 500 companies that have zero women on their boards. While the trend line is pointed in the right direction—five years ago there were 42 Fortune 500 companies without women directors; 10 years ago, 69—it's worth asking what it will take to finally bring these final holdouts into the modern age. Fortune
• Purposeful pages. In this exclusive expert from her new book Purposeful: Are You a Manager or a Movement Starter?, entrepreneur and Facebook executive Jennifer Dulski offers some tactical ways for leaders to build bonds between their team members. Purposeful hits bookshelves today. Fortune
• Obamas go to Hollywood. Barack and Michelle Obama have announced a multi-year agreement to produce films and series for Netflix. The deal, which will include their newly-formed production company, Higher Ground Productions, could include "scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features," according to a tweet from Netflix. Fortune
• Skimming their way to a Series C. TheSkimm, the newsletter-cum-digital media company led by co-CEOs Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, has closed a $12 million Series C funding round with a group of mostly female investors, including Shonda Rhimes and Tyra Banks. Variety
• Stars of the stove. This year's Food & Wine list of the best new chefs is packed with female culinary superstars, including Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer of NYC's King, Diana Dávila of Chicago's Mi Tocaya Antojería, and Katianna Hong of The Charter Oak in St. Helena, California. Food & Wine
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Small ask, big difference. Alaska Airlines has announced it's banning plastic straws and stirrers—after 16-year-old Girl Scout and conservation group founder Shelby O’Neil asked the airline to reconsider its policy. Fortune
• Skin in the game. Dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields created Proactiv, a skincare line that sells about $1 billion in products a year through mall kiosks and infomercials. The pair appear to have done it again with their newer line, Rodan + Fields, which reached $1.5 billion in sales last year—"largely through consultants who sell to their friends and contacts, like social-media-era Mary Kay ladies." Bloomberg
• Kukors takes on USA Swimming. Former USA Swimming Olympian Ariana Kukors has filed a civil lawsuit against the sport's governing body, saying officials failed to protect her from former coach Sean Hutchison, who she accuses of sexually abusing her starting when she was 16 years old. The lawsuit alleges that USA Swimming officials covered up Hutchinson's alleged sexual abuse and manipulated his background check to protect him from abuse accusations. Buzzfeed
• Clinton picks Cuomo. Hillary Clinton has kept a low profile during the 2018 midterm elections, but is expected to break what the NYT calls "her virtual hiatus from the campaign trail" by endorsing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over his more liberal challenger, actress-turned-activist Cynthia Nixon. Clinton has also recorded an automated phone call endorsing Stacey Abrams, who is competing for the Democratic nomination for governor of Georgia today. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
It’ll never be the right time for famous sexual predators to make their comebacks Time
How the c-section went from last resort to overused Slate
Gina Haspel sworn in as CIA Director WSJ
A woman in the driver's seat: Aston Martin's 1st female president has a message for young girls ABC News