This week: Is your Tinderella a scammer?, the NFL faces its own scrimmage, and protecting victims from forced arbitration. Plus, the case of the unvaxxed judge, and Duke Law opens a new clinic.
Single women over 50 are the most vulnerable group for online dating scams, according to a report by the FBI. Criminal organizations have increasingly taken advantage of all age groups and our reliance on dating apps like Tinder in recent years to create fake online personas, establish an online relationship, then ask for money usually via untraceable means like gift cards or cryptocurrencies, says Atlas VPN.
Analysis by the FTC shows that money lost by Americans to such scams have increased fourfold between 2016 and 2020, and rose an additional 65% between 2020 and 2021 to around $500 million. The median dollar amount lost in individual cases was $2,500.
A Pandemic Of Loneliness
The pandemic has seen levels of loneliness skyrocket among the general population, but especially among those aged 18-25. The Harvard Graduate School of Education found that 61% of this age group claimed a "miserable" degree of loneliness in October 2020. The study adds that loneliness caused a slew of issues ranging from depression and anxiety, to substance abuse and domestic abuse.
The pandemic has no doubt pushed Americans online more, and thus made us more vulnerable to online scams. For dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, educating users on the warning signs of scams, as well as monitoring their user base, should become a higher priority.
Is the NFL at fault for its systemic racism and quietly allowing illegal hiring practices? Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores believes so, filing a class action lawsuit against the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and New York Giants, as well as against the league itself. Flores is further claiming that Stephen Ross, the billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins, pressured him into recruiting a "prominent quarterback" violating the NFL's no-tampering rules.
Flores, who is Black, accuses both the Broncos and Giants of conducting sham interviews with him for no other reason than to comply with the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for open positions. Both teams denied the allegations, says ESPN.
As for tampering, Flores says Ross pressured him into losing certain games to better the team's draft position, then invited Flores onto his yacht to meet with a quarterback Ross wanted him to recruit.
Getting To Trial
The NFL has managed to avoid public trial in several cases over the last few years. It's possible the league will avoid trial once again with the Flores case, notes ESPN. However, "if he can get past a motion to dismiss," and begin discovery, "then he could indeed get more concrete connections to a racially discriminatory aspect of the individual assertions that were made," stated N. Jeremi Duru, professor of law at American University.
The NFL has faced criticism of hiring practices, game fixing, and more for years. Flores no doubt faces several obstacles even if his class action suit reaches the courts, yet it stands to be seen if his accusations will create a lasting and significant change in the upper echelons of the league.
It's been nearly five years since the #MeToo movement gained national prominence, and now a bill in Congress solidifying workplace protections against sexual harassment is nearing the finish line. The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 has bipartisan support in both chambers and is awaiting a final vote in the House before heading to the Senate where it's expected to pass with at least 60 votes.
The law protects workers from forced arbitration clauses when suing employers over matters of sexual assault/harassment.
Forced arbitration typically favors employers over employees and keeps such cases out of public scrutiny, an issue that is especially troubling when a workplace has a serial violator. “The idea that they can get completely swept under the rug," is hugely problematic, "and even Republicans or pro-employer folks see this as a problem,” says Jeffrey Hirsch, an employment law professor at the University of North Carolina, according to Bloomberg Law.
Silencing Through Forced Arbitration
According to a study by NYU law professor Cynthia Estlund, far fewer cases are brought against employers when under forced arbitration, and joint or class-action cases are blocked. Both situations amount to a silencing of employees through forced arbitration, writes Forbes. San Francisco employment attorney Cliff Palefsky further adds that arbitrators are not required to follow certain rules used in court to protect sexual assault victims, nor is there an appeals process should an arbitrator fail to properly award a plaintiff or follow any rules.
If forced arbitration silences victims and protects serial abusers/harassers, then it's high time to end the legal alternative. That it's taken some five years to do so is worrisome, but tempered somewhat by the fact that it has bipartisan support.
📤 What Else We're Forwarding
Law Clinic: Duke Law School is introducing a clinic meant to end "racialized mass incarceration", notes Law.com. This is the law school's 12th law clinic.
Remote Justice: New York State Judge Frank M. Mora has been stripped of most of his criminal cases, reports Law360. The unvaccinated judge defied court rules by refusing to wear a mask in the court house, though he continued to preside over cases via video from a back office.
🎧 Music We’re Working To
Today, we’re listening to Jeannine Schulz, an ambient/electronic musician from Germany. Her solo album, Ground. The Gentle portrays harmonic notes of soft warmth. With brief pauses of silence, it feels relaxing, and nearly mesmerizing- perfect for a deep work flow.
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See ya next week!