Pre-reading tasks. Discuss the following questions.
1. Employment discrimination can be based on age, gender and raceare there other categories you can think of?
2. Are women and men employed as equals in your country, in terms of pay and conditions?
Read the text and do the after-reading tasks.
The US Supreme Court today hears a case which could have a big impact on the size of damages paid by US employers in employment discrimination lawsuits. The court agreed to hear the case, Carole Colstad vs. the American Dental Association (ADA), to clarify what kind of employer conduct will give rise to punitive damagesdamages awarded to punish and deter an offenderin lawsuits involving sex discrimination. However, law employment experts said that the suit was also likely to have a knock-on effect on race, age and other employment discrimination suits brought under Title VII of the 1991 Civil Rights Act.
The case involves a female lawyer employed as a lobbyist for the ADA, a professional trade association. A jury found that Ms Colstad was denied promotion because of international sex discrimination. The issue before the court is not whether this is so, but whether such discrimination must be a egregious before punitive damages are awarded.
Title VII permits such damages where there was malice or reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an individual. But in Ms Colstads case an Appeals Court found that the ADAs conduct was neither egregious nor truly outrageous enough to merit punitive damages.
At the moment there is confusion over the standard of conduct necessary to attract punitive damages, with the various circuits courts applying differing standards to define reckless indifference. If the Supreme Court upholds the Appeals Courts decision in Colstadthat the conduct did not meet this standard of egregiousthis would set a new standard nationwide that could limit the size of both jury awards and pre-trial settlements.
Conversely, if Ms Colstad wins, jury awards and settlements could shoot up. Her lawyers argue in their brief that egregious is too high a standard, and that employees need only show that their employers knew or should have known their conduct was probably unlawful in order to have claims for punitive damages put before a jury.
if adopted, this standard would subject employers to punitive damages virtually every time an employee engages in international discrimination against another, the US Chamber of Commerce argues in a brief field to support in ADA. Our concern is that punitive damages would become the norm, not the exception, says Stephan Bokat of the National Chamber Litigation Centre, which has also backed the ADA.
According to Jury Verdict Research, which tracks jury awards, 40 % of verdicts in gender discrimination cases in the last six years have included punitive damages. The law caps damages at $50,000--$300,000 per plaintiff, depending on the size of the employer.
A lower court jury awarded Ms Colstad back pay after a male employee in the same office was, according to her lawyers brief, preselected for a promotion for which he was less qualified than she was.
A. Understanding main points.
Answer the questions.
1. What is the case about?
2. Where is the case being heard? Who brought the appealthe ADA or Ms Colstad?
3. What types of discrimination are mentioned in the text?
4. Why did Ms Colstad sue the ADA?
5. Was there any dispute about the facts of the discrimination against Ms Colstad?
6. What was the lower Appeals Courts decision?
7. Which organisation is mentioned that supports the ADA?
8. If the Supreme Court decides in favour of Ms Colstad, how much may she receive in damages?
B. Understanding expressions.
Choose the best explanation for each of these words or phrases from the text.
1. Knock-on effect
a) Blow to the body b) wider consequences c) entry requirement
a) Friendliness b) with bad or cruel intention c) international
3. Reckless indifference
a) Driving without care b) heartless and cruel c) not caring about consequences
a) Reserves b) agrees with and supports c) sets a standard
a) Short letter b) legal document c) kind of case
a) Sets an upper limit b) interferes c) is the head
Use an appropriate word or phrase from the box to complete each sentence.
Cap Act lawsuit limit federal rights punitive damages
jury egregious circuit judge settlement brief appeal
1. The amount of money awarded to a victim has a . .
2. The courts are in session at different times during the year in different places, so that the can work in a variety of places.
3. When Parliament votes to pass a Bill it becomes an .
4. There is no .. on the liability of owners in a private partnership.
5. Many people think there should be a specialist . for complex fraud cases.
6. American citizens should study their .. so that they know what laws protect them from abuse.
7. Damages set very high in order to deter others are called .. .
8. A special term for very bad behaviour in the US is .. behaviour.
9. Every court decision may be sent for if circumstances justify it.
10. An out-of-court is desirable if possible.
11. Anyone can bring a .. against someone else if they feel they have suffered a wrong that cannot be settled easily.
12. A barrister cannot work in a court without a .. from a solicitor.
Opposites. Match the opposites.
h) kind intention
i) fair job promotion procedures
j) act fairly
Prepositions. Complete these sentences with a preposition from the box.
To up against at under on
1. If she wins this case, awards and settlements could shoot .
2. The suits are brought . Title VII of the 1991 Civil Rights Act.
3. There may be a knock- effect: other types of discrimination suits will be affected.
4. The decision will have a major impact .. employers nation-wide.
5. Some companies may be subject .. enormous claims.
6. The law caps damages a certain sum of money, depending . the size of the company.
7. According . the researchers, juries often award punitive damages in cases where there has been discrimination women in the workplace.
8. What kind of conduct could give rise .. punitive damages?
Different outcomes. Use an appropriate word or phrase from the box to complete each sentence.
If should however might on the other hand
1. The court could decide to award punitive damages for any justified complaint , if that happened, companies would soon go bankrupt.
2. On the one hand, the lower court may decide in favour of the plaintiff; .. , the appeal court may decide differently.
3. The verdict may be to limit all types of damages . , the verdict may be to award the maximum possible to deter others.
4. they had not complained about the award, there would not have been an appeal.
5. A successful outcome for the company involved would be a limitation on the damages, . a worst-case scenario would be that they have to pay punitive damages.
6. the worst come to the worst, the ADA .. find themselves paying Ms Colstad punitive damagesand others too, if they file suit!
Home task. WRITING.
Check what the law in your country says about employment and equal opportunities. How do these effect disabled people? Write a brief report.
Brittle deformation / Theory of rupture (faults, fractures and joints ; Theory of brittle faulting : intrinsic enveloppe (experimental and theoretical) ; Coulombss law. Griffith approach and fractures in the tensional domain. Rupture assisted by fluids and hydraulic fracturation. In-situ stress measurements.
Brittle deformation is a low-T deformation, say, below 350°C for quartz and below 900°C for olivine !! It obviously depends on the kind of material under consideration.
Discontinuous deformation of rocks (or brittle deformation) has been heavily studied, especially through laboratory experiments. This important domain of rock mechanics has several applications in civil engineering, mines or open pits (resistance of pilars, bridges, dams, galeries ). Hydraulic fractures, massively used for geothermal purposes, for the stimulation of oil reservoirs in the petroleum industry, or for enhancing the efficiency of gaz recovery in schists, has greatly amplified the interest for this domain in rock mechanics. A good knowlege of the basics concerning rupture is necessary to understand the mechanism of seisms, volcanic eruptions, genesis of economic concentrations of ore-minerals
During a mechanical test in a laboratory, rupture of a material might takes place when the elastic limit is surpassed. However, there is a progressive transition between the brittle and the ductile domains. This common part between the brittle and the ductile domain is called the brittle-ductile transition. It opens new ways about rupture mechanics that may provide practical applications.
We shall present how fracture orientation relates to the principal stress directions ; then, macroscopic and microscopic aspects of fracturation will be examined.