Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Despite laws protecting people from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, religion and sexual orientation — including last week's Supreme Court victory for LGBTQ workers — when it comes to actually holding firms accountable, the odds are stacked against workers.

Why it matters: The U.S. workplace is still rampant with discrimination, but the bulk of it is going unchecked as companies have figured out how to keep themselves out of court.

What they're saying: "If you look at the number of white people in the C-suite or attrition rates for African Americans or wage disparities, there's been very little change in the past few decades," says Linda Friedman, a Chicago lawyer who represented 700 workers in a race-discrimination lawsuit against Merrill Lynch in 2013.

  • "In my opinion, the most significant reason is there is no oversight," she says. "Entire industries have taken themselves out of the sight of the law," primarily through mandatory arbitration clauses.

By the numbers: Nearly 70% of U.S. employers with 5,000 or more workers have mandatory arbitration policies, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

  • "Under such agreements, workers whose rights are violated — for example, through employment discrimination or sexual harassment — can’t pursue their claims in court but must submit to arbitration procedures that research shows overwhelmingly favor employers," EPI's Alexander J.S. Colvin writes.
  • In total, around 60 million American workers don't have access to courts due to mandatory arbitration.

But even at firms that don't have such policies, pursuing discrimination cases is difficult, Friedman says.

  • "These cases are hard to prosecute even if you get to court. So much effort is spent in defeating the lawsuits," she says.
  • "It’s a real act of courage and resolve to file one of these lawsuits in the first place." Future employers can Google search you and quickly figure out if you were a plaintiff in a discrimination case — and that could work against you in the hiring process.

Rare counterexamples: Wells Fargo dropped its mandatory arbitration clause for sexual harassment claims in February, and, the same month, a former employee of PNC bank who said she was sexually assaulted by a male customer was awarded $2.4 million by a New Jersey jury.

Go deeper: Women with career gaps are being tapped for talent pool

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Tech firms blast Trump's extended H-1B visa restrictions

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Tech companies reacted quickly and negatively Monday to news out of the Trump administration that it is extending a ban on entry of those with visas through the end of the year. Among those speaking out against the move are Facebook, Amazon, Google, Intel and Twitter, along with several tech trade groups.

The big picture: The Trump administration argues that visas like the H-1B widely used in the tech industry are responsible for taking jobs that American citizens could fill. Tech companies say they rely on these visas to fill positions with skilled workers from overseas when they've tapped out the American workforce.

Behind Trump's tweet about his forthcoming SCOTUS list

DACA supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Top aides and advisers to President Trump have been urging him to put together a new list of Supreme Court Justices ahead of the November election in an effort to pump up his base and remind them why a Republican needs to remain in the White House, people familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: Discussions among Trump administration officials, Senate Judiciary staff and outside groups ramped up after Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first SCOTUS nominee, delivered the majority decision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

Updated Jun 30, 2020 - Health

Kansas becomes latest state to make wearing masks in public mandatory

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced in a statement on Monday that people in Kansas will be required to wear face masks while in public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: The order, effective this Friday, comes as several states are seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases following local economies reopening from lockdown.