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February 17, 2004
Kennedy Proposes Expansion to Civil Rights

Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and other lawmakers have proposed legislation that they say would bolster protections against discrimination, the Associated Press reports.

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One of the measure's provisions would amend the Equal Pay Act to allow workers to recover damages in cases of wage discrimination based on gender, according to the AP. In addition, the bill would make mandatory arbitration agreements unenforceable.

Kennedy contends recent court decisions have eroded some of the protections covered under existing law.

"Courts have let us down by unacceptably narrow constructions of existing law, or where Congress has unfortunately been less than clear," says Kennedy.

The bill would also offer increased protection for undocumented workers, according to Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, sponsor of the bill in the House. Undocumented workers would be able to recover back wages if they are victims of unfair labor practices.

Source: Associated Press, via Newsday (New York)

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