We recently discussed the challenges that plaintiffs face in bringing employment lawsuits. But we left out perhaps the biggest hurdle facing victims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and the like.
For 28 of the past 40-plus years, Republican presidents have been appointing federal judges. That means the federal bench is populated with GOP appointees who tend to favor management over workers.
Two Birmingham attorneys recently pointed out to me that we have a federal judge in our fair city who is particularly unfriendly to plaintiffs in discrimination cases. In fact, he seems to take special delight in dismissing employment cases, even when the facts and the law dictate that they should move forward.
The judge's name is James H. Hancock, a Richard Nixon appointee. "He just doesn't like discrimination cases," one of my sources says. "He will toss them out for no reason."
"I'm sure there are some bad employment cases that deserve to be kicked," I said.
"Oh, there are, but he dismisses good cases," my source said. "I know one firm that tells clients, if they get Hancock for the judge, that they are just wasting their time by moving forward."
So a federal judge could cheat victims of discrimination, based on his personal whims and not the law? Oh yes, say my sources.
"Hancock really hates it when a woman lawyer brings a case," one source says. "Particularly when the woman is taller than him--which includes just about all women."
So much for the hallowed scales of justice.