Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Nation Briefs

June 20, 2001

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SAN FRANCISCO: Wal-Mart accused of sex discrimination

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was accused of sex discrimination Tuesday in a federal lawsuit that claims the retailing giant routinely passes over women for promotions.

The suit seeks to represent as many as 500,000 current and former workers. If granted class-action status, it would become the nation's largest sex discrimination case against a private employer.

The suit claims there are nearly double the number of women in management at competing retail stores. In addition, male Wal-Mart workers are paid more for performing the same duties as women, and the company retaliates against women workers who register complaints, the suit alleges. The company "systematically discriminates against its women employees," said plantiffs' attorney Brad Seligman. The plaintiffs did not specify how much money they are seeking.

LOS ANGELES: Activist Hayden loses city council election

Veteran lawmaker and political activist Tom Hayden conceded defeat Tuesday in his bid for a city council seat. Final tallies Saturday showed Hayden losing the seat to former Assistant U.S. Atty. Jack Weiss by 369 votes. Weiss received 26,768 votes to Hayden's 26,399 votes.

Hayden, 61, contended there were "numerous irregularities" during the runoff campaign and called for an investigation, but said he did not plan to seek a recount. As a college student, Hayden helped found Students for a Democratic Society. In 1968, he was arrested as a member of the Chicago Seven and charged in the riots at the Democratic National Convention. He was married to Jane Fonda for 16 years.

Indiana: Sheriff resigns ahead of rape arrest

Pike County Sheriff Jeff Clements has agreed to resign to avoid being imprisoned while he awaits trial on five charges of rape and sexual battery. Clements, 44, said he would resign today. He is to be placed under house arrest and wear an electronic monitoring device under a deal worked out with a special prosecutor.

Burley Scales, Clements' attorney, called the charges against his client baseless and said the case boiled down to "he said and she said." Asked why Clements resigned, Scales responded, "Why fight it?"

Elected sheriff of the southwestern Indiana county in 1994, Clements has been on leave and vacation since the allegations surfaced in April. If convicted on all five charges, Clements faces up to 49 years in prison and $60,000 in fines.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: White House shooter agrees to plea bargain

A former Internal Revenue Service auditor accused of firing shots outside the White House seeks to plead guilty to a local charge of carrying a pistol without a license.

Under the agreement announced Tuesday, Robert Pickett, 48, of Evansville, Ind., also would enter an Alford plea to a charge of assaulting a federal officer. He would not admit guilt on that count but would acknowledge the government has enough evidence to convict him. A federal weapons charge would be dropped.

Pickett would serve three years in prison followed by three years probation. He could face 25 years in prison if convicted on all three charges. Prosecutors said they would not oppose Pickett's request that he serve his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn.

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