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Workplace Rights

The workplace is where most adults spend roughly half their waking hours.  The ACLU is committed to protecting basic rights of employees in the workplace, and has a long history promoting those rights through legislation, litigation and public advocacy.

Workplace Rights in the News

  • Jan, 30, 2018: ACLU Says New East Greenwich Social Media Policy Violates Town Employees’ First Amendment Rights
  • Dec, 08, 2017: Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Involving Rhode Island’s Public Breastfeeding Law
  • Oct, 11, 2017: ACLU Sues Johnston Police Department for Violating First Amendment Rights of Former Detective

View All Workplace Rights Related News Releases »

Workplace Rights Related Court Cases

2017: Brady v. Tamburini
Category: Active Case    Fair Administration of Justice    Free Speech    Open Government    Police Practices    Workplace Rights    

About This Case:
This is a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Johnston Police Department on behalf of retired Detective James Brady, an 18-year veteran of the force.  The suit argues that Johnston Police Chief Richard Tamburini violated Brady’s free speech rights by disciplining him after he spoke to the news media about a matter of public concern.

Current Status:
Suit filed in October 2017.

ACLU Cooperating Attorney:
John W. Dineen

Supporting Documents
2016: Perreault v. Harmony Fire District / Ferragamo v. Harmony Fire District
Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Gender Discrimination    Women's Rights    Workplace Rights    


About These Cases:
These are two separate lawsuits on behalf of two female EMT/firefighters who were terminated from their jobs at the Harmony Fire District after they raised concerns about unequal treatment of male and female firefighters. Both women were EMT/firefighters for the Harmony Fire District for more than a decade. Ms. Perreault was terminated in January 2015 for purportedly being “unhappy” with the fire department and Ms. Ferragamo was terminated in August 2015 after raising concerns about gender discrimination. Notably, none of the male firefighters who raised concerns about equal treatment of male and female employees were disciplined or terminated.

Current Status:
Lawsuits filed in December 2016.

ACLU Cooperating Attorney:
Lynette Labinger, Sonja Deyoe

Supporting Documents

Related Legislation

Equal Pay (H 7427, S 2475)
Category: 2018    Women's Rights    Workplace Rights    

Despite laws to the contrary, women nationwide generally earn just 77% of the wages earned by men, with that percentage dropping significantly for women of color. Legislation sponsored by Representative Donovan (H 7427) and Senator Goldin (S 2475)sought to address the issue in Rhode Island by making it easier for individuals facing wage differentials to file a civil action against their employer, during which it would be up to the employer to demonstrate that the wage gap was on the basis of something other than sex. The ACLU testified before the House and Senate Labor committees in support of this legislation. This bill has passed the Senate and awaits a hearing in the House. 

2017 Legislative Scorecard
Category: 2017    Workplace Rights    

2017 Legislative Scorecard

Note: The votes contained in this record were selected because the ACLU considers them some of the more important and representative civil liberties issues addressed by the R.I. General Assembly in 2017; they in no way cover every bill with civil liberties implications. In addition, a legislator’s leadership in committee or on the floor cannot be accurately reflected on a voting chart such as this; it is designed only to provide information as to how legislators voted on some key civil liberties issues in the 2017 legislative session. If you are concerned about your legislator’s vote on a particular issue, you are encouraged to contact him or her for an explanation. A revised 2017-2018 voting record will be issued at the end of this year’s session.