As one Nigerian Woman Wins Reprieve from Stoning, Another is Convicted
Following up on a story reported in the last installment of docket watch, IWF applauds the decision by a Nigerian Islamic appeals court to overturn the death sentence of Safiya Husaini. Last October, a lower court convicted Husaini of adultery, on evidence that she had become pregnant, and ordered her stoned to death. The Islamic appeals court threw out the conviction on a technicality, stating that the law was not yet in effect when Husaini became pregnant.Although Husaini was spared, others may not be so fortunate. Reports out of Nigeria indicate that a different Islamic court has already convicted another woman, Amina Lawal, of adultery and sentenced her to death.

The Nigerian government has declared that Islamic courts violate Nigeria’s constitution. Laws that are applied only to Muslims, and in some cases only to women, are discriminatory, the Nigerian justice minister has ruled. Supporters of the Islamic courts vowed to ignore the government’s ruling.

Source: Chicago Tribune (March 27, 2002)

Citadel Found Discrimination Free
Nine years after it was filed, a federal judge has formally dismissed a lawsuit that challenged The Citadel’s all-male admissions policy and forced the state military college to admit female cadets. According to U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck, “the Citadel has eliminated to the extent practicable the discriminatory effects of the past” and female cadets are in the position they would have been had the school never been male-only.” In his order, Judge Houck notes that this year 97 of 1,927 cadets are female. Twenty-five female cadets, the largest number ever, will graduate in May.

In 1993, Shannon Faulkner sued to become the college’s first female cadet. Two years later, Faulkner enrolled at the school under court order, but she quit after less than a week. The following year, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the all-male admissions policy at Virginia Military Institute was unconstitutional, The Citadel opened its doors to women.

Source: Associated Press (March 30, 2002)

Incorrigible” Women
An 81-year-old Canadian woman is suing the Ontario government for wrongful imprisonment more than 60 years ago when she was detained under Ontario’s Female Refuges Act. The Female Refuges law, which was repealed in 1964, allowed the state to detain females aged 15 to 35 who were determined to be “incorrigible” or living an “immoral and dissolute” lifestyle. Velma Demerson was sent to a reformatory institution in Toronto in 1939 after her father — enraged about her ongoing relationship with her Chinese boyfriend — decided to have her prosecuted. Demerson is seeking $11 million in damages, as well as an apology and a declaration that the law was illegal.

Source: Canada Times (April 5, 2002) via

Lawsuits ‘R’ Us
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has brought a federal lawsuit against Toys “R” Us Inc.’s baby store unit for allegedly allowing employees to harass a male cashier. The suit charges the Babies “R” Us store in Paterson, New Jersey, with subjecting Andres Vasquez “to a hostile work environment.” According to the complaint, co-workers pulled down Vasquez’ pants, accused him of having an “effeminate voice,” whistled at him, and called him names.

Source: Bloomberg News (March 13, 2002)

Equal Pay for Equal Work
The Employment Policy Foundation, a pro-employer think tank, has released a new study, which indicates that full-time female workers who have never married or had children and live alone earn almost $1.02 for every dollar earned by men in the same situation.

Source: Arizona Republic (April 4, 2002) via

Men May Legally Beat Their Wives in Dubai
The Dubai Court of Cassation has ruled that a husband has the right to beat his wife in order to discipline her – provided that the beating is not so severe as to damage her bones or deform her body. At the same time, it ruled that a wife may ask her husband for a divorce if he injures her, either by word or action.

Source: Gulf News (March 31, 2002)

Supreme Court Rules Companies Cannot Be Penalized For Failure to Inform Employees of Family Leave Rights
On March 19, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a company cannot be penalized for failing to notify workers that they are entitled to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave each year under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In its 5-4 ruling, the Court invalidated the penalty specified in regulation’s promulgated by the Department of Labor which state that employers who do not issue written notice, known as a designation form, can be required to offer the worker an additional 12 weeks off.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Tracy Ragsdale, a factory worker in Arkansas. Ragsdale was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. Her employer provided her with an initial leave and several extensions but fired Ragsdale when she used up the company’s seven-month maximum leave and was still unable to work. Ragsdale sued, claiming the company owed her more time off because it never notified her that she was using up time granted under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The employer argued that its leave policy was even more generous than the federal law requires

Source: Boston Globe (March 20, 2002)