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‘Motherhood Penalty’ May Fuel Workplace Lawsuits in Pandemic

April 29, 2020, 5:59 PM

Here are the day’s top coronavirus stories from the team at Bloomberg Law:

  • GENDER DISPARITIES: The “motherhood penalty” has been oft-used to describe persistent gender disparities that working mothers can encounter. It’s exacerbated during the pandemic, lawyers and professors say, and could lead to more claims of sex discrimination in hiring, firing, pay, and promotions.
  • UNEMPLOYMENT BACKLOG: Federal data shows that 14% of workers who filed for unemployment insurance benefits in March received payment that month, as the unprecedented surge of pandemic-driven layoffs began to inundate state labor departments nationwide. In New York, more than $3.1 billion has been paid out in unemployment benefits, but it’s not clear how much of that has gone to gig workers.
  • FAUCI’S GOOD NEWS: Gilead Sciences said early results from a U.S.-government-run study showed its experimental drug to treat coronavirus helped patients recover more quickly than standard care, suggesting it could become the first effective treatment for an illness that has turned modern life inside-out. Fauci called the study the “first truly high-powered randomized placebo-controlled trial” of remdesivir.
  • HELPING ‘DREAMERS': Big Law firms such as Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are embracing virtual clinics to expand their pro bono work to help undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S as children, known as “Dreamers,” renew their status during the coronavirus pandemic.

Editor’s Top Picks

Small Banks Happy to Use Relief JPMorgan, Wells Fargo Passed Up
Bank of Marin had gathered the data, loaded the systems, and was ready to roll out the biggest-ever change to its accounting this year. Then businesses shuttered, schools closed, and most of the country went into lock-down.

Ragtag Army of Virus Tracers Shapes Up With States Hiring Fast
U.S. health experts say a force of as many as 300,000 contact tracers is crucial for coast-to-coast reopening. So far, though, the country has a far smaller ragtag army that’s many weeks, if not months, from full deployment.

Corporate Boards Slammed by Coronavirus Rethink Risk Planning
Crisis preparedness is getting more attention among directors, who say they hadn’t done enough contingency planning before the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Virus Masks’ Poor Fit Unlikely to Get Fixed in Court for Workers
Social media photos and videos showing doctors and nurses making their own personal protective equipment to protect themselves from Covid-19 highlight not just critical shortages but a lesser-known problem: Available equipment doesn’t always fit.

Broken Ventilators Require Easier Fixes, Black Leaders Demand
States and large cities recently received damaged ventilators from the U.S. stockpile, rendering them unusable. With ventilators in short supply, minority advocates demand governments and manufacturers take steps to make it easier to fix broken equipment.

Exiting Billion-Dollar Deals Over Virus Spurs Big Court Fights
Panicked executives have launched a handful of legal battles that could blow up billions of dollars’ worth merger and acquisition agreements. And litigators predict at least a dozen more limping deals will crash land in courts over the next few months.

Legal Jargon on Cruise Tickets May Foil Virus Class-Action Suits
The tickets that cruise passengers buy resemble legal contracts, and they generally contain language barring customers from filing class actions. That’s just one of several built-in legal protections in cruise tickets meant to safeguard companies against a rash of litigation that’s already arising.

Treasury Taps Visa, Fiserv to Move Covid-19 Payments by Card
The Treasury Department has reached a deal with Visa Inc., Meta Financial Group Inc.'s Metabank and Fiserv Inc. to send cards pre-loaded with Covid-19 stimulus payments to hard-to-reach individuals, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Trump’s Rural Base Fared Better Than Coastal Cities in SBA Loans
The first round of aid to small businesses was a boon to rural states that backed President Donald Trump but haven’t been hit as hard by the pandemic as Democratic strongholds on the coasts, contributing to rising political tensions over a multi-trillion-dollar relief effort.

INSIGHT: The Challenges of Health-Care Provider Immunity During Virus
During the pandemic, health-care providers and drugmakers are immune from liability for negligence under New York state and the federal laws. Attorneys with Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm say this presents issues for patients and caregivers who may have received improper care or lacked appropriate gear to prevent contraction of the virus.

INSIGHT: Companies Face a Fevered Pitch for Temperature Screening
Jonathan Segal, partner at Duane Morris, looks again at temperature screening and says even though it’s not risk free, employers can take steps to minimize some of the more salient risks that accompany the benefits.

INSIGHT: Covid-19 May Mean the End of ‘Lucky Break’ for Attorney Malpractice Claims
Attorneys could see an uptick in malpractice claims, especially as corporate streamlining and distressed sales continue, increasing claims brought by successor entities. Palmersheim & Mathew LLP’s Timothy Parilla examines the trend and looks at how states address the issue in different ways.

Click here for updates on how federal courts are operating during the pandemic.

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Editor’s Note: The Bloomberg Law news team has been closely covering the legal, regulatory, business, and tax implications of the coronavirus pandemic. This daily email highlights the top stories of the day, across practice areas. To unsubscribe, please adjust your Bloomberg Law newsletter settings. For assistance, contact our help desk at 888-560-2529 or

To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Ward in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at