Monday, October 29, 2007


Federal Agency Identifies Internet Fraud Being Perpetrated Against Employers

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) late today notified the business community and general public to a "phishing" e-mail circulating to companies that purports to be from the federal agency regarding a harassment complaint. The bogus e-mail contains a Trojan Horse Virus that is likely to harm a recipient's computer if the user clicks on the referenced web link and/or downloads the attached file.
The phony e-mail to employers -- being circulated under the subject "Harassment Complaint Update For"-- contains links where the respondent can allegedly access details of a fake discrimination claim. The EEOC has reported the issue to appropriate authorities.
The EEOC's policy is to notify an employer of the filing of a charge of employment discrimination using the U.S. Postal System. Because of security concerns, the EEOC does not notify employers of the filing of a charge of discrimination via e-mail. Consequently, if a company receives an e-mail notification which purports to advise the respondent of the filing of a charge of employment discrimination with the EEOC, the federal agency urges users to delete it immediately.
The contents of the phishing e-mail include an EEOC logo under the subject line and contain purported language from the EEOC under a subject heading, "Employer Liability for Harassment." Excerpts of the phishing e-mail are highlighted below:
FROM: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
SUBJECT: "Harassment Complaint Update For"
This is an automated email that confirms the registration of harassment complaint #number...this harassment complaint can lead to law enforcement action. You can download and print a copy of this complaint to keep for your personal records here...Our staff will keep you updated regarding the status of our investigation...To check the status of your complaint access:
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its official web site at

Minority Ph.D. Students Convene to Further Diversity in Faculty Ranks

Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog
October 27, 2007
Minority Ph.D. Students Convene to Further Diversity in Faculty Ranks

Arlington, Va. — More than a thousand minority doctoral students from around the country gathered here this weekend for the Compact for Faculty Diversity’s 14th annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring. The four-day conference, the largest of its kind, aims to counter the shortage of minority faculty members.
Enticing minority students and scholars into academe is especially critical, said Ansley A. Abraham Jr., director of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Doctoral Scholars program (a co-sponsor of the event), given the Labor Department’s prediction that the greatest job growth in the next decade will be for holders of doctorates. “If we miss that opportunity to diversify the faculty,” he said, “it won’t come again in yours or my lifetime.”
[To read the entire blog, go to: ]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

AAAA Joins Leadership Conference on Civil Rights on US Attorney General Hearing

The following letter originated by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights was signed by AAAA and other civil rights organizations regarding the nomination and confirmation hearing of retired federal judge Michael Mukasey for Attorney General of the United States. We urge that the Senate take great care in its consideration of the person responsible for the enforcement of civil rights and other laws

Leadership Conference
on Civil Rights
1629 K Street, NW
10th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006
Phone: 202-466-3311
Fax: 202-466-3435

October 15, 2007

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Arlen Specter
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Specter:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to you regarding the nomination of
Judge Michael B. Mukasey to the office of Attorney General of the United States. This is
one of the most important offices that a President can fill because the Attorney General is
the nation’s chief law enforcement official, with unique responsibility for enforcing laws
that protect the civil and human rights of all Americans and for ensuring that the United
States government respects human rights in its conduct around the world. Given the
office’s weighty duties and the grave concerns over the faithfulness, diligence and
independence with which the previous Attorney General performed them, we urge that
the Senate take great care as it performs its constitutional duty to review the nomination
of Judge Mukasey.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), under the leadership of the Attorney General,
represents the legal interests of the American people and is charged with carrying out its
duties with integrity and fidelity to our nation’s laws and constitutional values. The DOJ
gives effect to our laws and international obligations by initiating litigation, establishes
and presents the government’s positions in significant ongoing litigation, and advises the
President and local governments on the legality of their policies. Over the past several
years, however, public confidence in the DOJ’s commitment to fulfill its duties
effectively and independently has eroded, reaching a critical low point. Priorities that are
mandated by law and that command broad public support have been neglected and
subordinated to an agenda driven by political considerations, while Administration
decisions that should be made with the advice of a neutral and independent Attorney
General have been ratified by political loyalists in the DOJ.

Judge Mukasey must be evaluated on the basis of his record, including whether he has
demonstrated a strong commitment to the protection of civil and human rights.
Moreover, careful questioning regarding the direction in which Judge Mukasey will take
the DOJ is especially important at this time. We believe that the following areas represent issues of particular concern for the civil and human rights communities.

Voting Rights
The DOJ’s recent record with regard to the protection of voting rights vividly illustrates the impact that neglect for civil rights and politicization have had on some of its most important civil rights work. Because, as the Supreme Court has said, the right to vote is “preservative of all rights,” Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370 (1886), and determines who our elected representatives will be, it is especially critical that the protection of voting rights be vigorous and free from political influence. Yet the DOJ has repeatedly exercised its authority to encourage or permit states to limit, rather than expand, the voting franchise, often to the detriment of poor and minority voters, and in a manner that appears to favor certain political interests over others.

For example, in 2005, the DOJ approved a strict Georgia voter identification law that would
disproportionately impact minorities, older Americans and other frequently disenfranchised
groups who are far less likely to carry photo identification, despite the absence of a proven
justification for the law. The DOJ supported a Michigan effort to reject provisional ballots cast
at the wrong precinct. Under this Administration, the DOJ has filed barely any voting rights
cases on behalf of African Americans and no cases on behalf of Native Americans. In fact, in
2004, political appointees at the DOJ blocked the investigation of serious allegations of voter
discrimination against Native Americans in Minnesota. The DOJ has rubber stamped inadequate poll access measures for persons with disabilities, and failed to enforce the voter access provisions of the National Voter Registration Act (the “Motor Voter” bill). At the same time, the DOJ has urged states to engage in broad purges of voting lists, which has resulted in the disfranchisement of countless numbers of eligible voters.

It is particularly important that Judge Mukasey assure the Senate and the American people that, with a presidential election approaching, he will take steps to promote access to the polls for all eligible voters, challenge discriminatory barriers to the franchise, and ensure that voting rights are enforced in an evenhanded way, without regard to political interests.

Executive Power, Torture, and the Rule of Law
As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General is responsible for ensuring
that the President operates within the bounds of the law. A rescinded – but not yet repudiated – 2002 DOJ legal memorandum abdicates this responsibility, telling the President that as
commander-in-chief he is not bound by the laws of the land prohibiting torture. A similar
assertion of commander-in-chief authority to ignore the law was used to justify warrantless
surveillance of people in the United States in the name of national security. It is essential that
any nominee to serve as Attorney General confirm to the Committee the very basic principle that protects against tyranny – that even the President remains bound by the law.
Recent revelations indicate that the DOJ may have taken great pains to circumvent laws
prohibiting torture and cruel treatment by writing legal opinions giving the CIA free rein to carry out abusive interrogations even as Congress, under Senator McCain’s leadership, was passing legislation prohibiting cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. As the Judge Advocates General of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have since told the Congress, some of these
techniques – such as water boarding, binding in painful positions, and use of dogs – violate U.S.
and international law. The Committee should seek Judge Mukasey’s commitment to reject his
predecessor’s convoluted interpretations of the laws prohibiting torture and cruel treatment. He should also affirm that he would not authorize any interrogation techniques that the United States would not want inflicted on an American – the “golden rule” that has served our military so well for so long.

Warrantless secret surveillance jeopardizes the privacy rights of people in the United States in
their phone calls and emails to family and friends overseas. It is important for the Committee to
seek Judge Mukasey’s commitment to independent judicial oversight to protect the individual
rights of people in this country to the privacy of their international communications.
Under past leadership, the DOJ has also provided guidance that would allow the President to
unilaterally declare any one of the 11.6 million legal permanent residents in this country an
“enemy combatant,” lock him up in a military brig, and forever deny him access to court to
review the grounds for his detention. The Committee should seek Judge Mukasey’s support for
restoring the basic checks and balances that define the American system of government.

Employment Discrimination
In the Employment Section of the Civil Rights Division, the number of discrimination cases
brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – one of the most important federal
employment discrimination laws – has plummeted in this Administration. The decline is most
noticeable in areas that historically have provided the highest percentage of charges. Cases
alleging a pattern or practice of job discrimination against African Americans and women have
dropped precipitously, and the DOJ has yet to file one Title VII case alleging job discrimination
against a Latino individual. The DOJ also has filed fewer disparate impact cases, even though
such cases can be a powerfully effective tool to combat systemic discriminatory employment
practices. This apparent de-emphasis of certain types of cases is deeply troubling, and creates
the perception that political motives – rather than actual discrimination trends – have displaced vigorous enforcement of the law.

Adding to the concerns about its failure to pursue certain employment discrimination cases, the
DOJ also has changed legal positions taken in litigation, putting critical rights and protections at
risk. In several recent Supreme Court cases, the DOJ has argued for an interpretation of Title
VII that would narrow or effectively eliminate the rights of employees, contrary to the expert
opinion of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Now, with several
employment cases pending before the Supreme Court in which the DOJ has or may be taking a
position, it is important to ascertain Judge Mukasey’s views on the issues raised therein. The
rights of employees are also implicated in cases raising issues of federalism and the scope of
congressional authority to fully protect women, persons with disabilities and other state
employees under civil rights laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which come before the Supreme Court with some
regularity. The DOJ has typically taken positions in support of broad congressional power, but
given how dramatically federalism decisions threaten to limit federal civil rights laws, it is
important that Judge Mukasey state his position on federalism issues.

Finally, it is critical that Judge Mukasey assure the Committee of his commitment to vigorous
enforcement of the employment rights of all Americans in light of certain employment
discrimination cases he decided as a federal district court judge. For example, in one particularly troubling case, Sorlucco v. NYPD, 703 F. Supp. 1092 (S.D.N.Y. 1989); 780 F. Supp. 202
(S.D.N.Y. 1992), he overturned a jury verdict in favor of a female police officer who brought
discrimination claims against the New York Police Department for taking a series of punitive
actions against her, culminating in termination, after she reported being raped by a fellow officer.

Fair Housing
In addition to an unexplained decline in overall cases brought, the Civil Rights Division’s
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section announced it would no longer pursue disparate impact
housing cases, even though facially neutral housing policies can negatively affect women,
minorities, and people with disabilities. The anemic performance of the DOJ on housing
discrimination stands in sharp contrast to the data and common perceptions in the relevant
communities indicating that housing discrimination continues to be a major barrier to
neighborhood integration. Moreover, despite the recent focus on subprime lending abuses,
including the steering of minority applicants to subprime loans, the DOJ has filed few fair
lending cases in the recent years. The Attorney General will be in a position to help reverse
these disturbing trends.

Women’s Health, Privacy, and Violence Issues
The DOJ bears a critical role in enforcing and protecting women’s basic rights affecting their
health, privacy and safety through the positions it takes in key constitutional and statutory
interpretation cases, and in many other ways. For example, it is responsible for enforcing the
Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which is key in protecting women’s access
to reproductive health care. In addition, serious questions have arisen concerning the DOJ’s
commitment to protecting the privacy of women’s medical records. Under the current
Administration, the DOJ attempted to obtain women's private medical records through the civil
discovery process, raising serious questions about the DOJ's sensitivity to women's privacy

The DOJ also supports local prosecution and sometimes directly prosecutes crimes under the
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and it is responsible, via the Office on Violence
Against Women, for administering millions of dollars of funding for local law enforcement,
courts, and advocates. The Attorney General’s independence, enforcement and support on all of
these issues is especially critical since newly issued policies designed to undermine women’s
health and safety have been repeatedly used to score political points in recent years.

The DOJ under this Administration has also failed to meaningfully address – and in fact has
aggravated – a crisis in our immigration tribunals. Immigration judges are badly overworked
and their decisions in deportation cases have been characterized by arbitrariness, while their
treatment of parties, including asylum-seekers, has sometimes verged on abusive. This problem
has been compounded by the DOJ’s appointment of political loyalists, rather than experts in
immigration law, to immigration judge posts. Despite the questions regarding the quality of
immigration judge decisions, the DOJ has also limited the appellate review of their decisions by
the Board of Immigration Appeals. Considering the devastating consequences of immigration
decisions – including separating families and deporting individuals into countries where they
potentially face serious danger – solutions for fixing this badly broken system are needed from a new Attorney General.

Native American Rights
The DOJ carries primary responsibility for investigation and prosecution of crimes on
reservations, and so Native Americans depend on the Attorney General to allocate sufficient
resources within the DOJ to fight crime in their communities. The DOJ under the current
Administration has shown a lack of commitment to address this issue, and crime rates in Native
American communities have disproportionately risen in recent years.
Hate Crimes and Racial Profiling

The DOJ is also responsible for prosecuting hate crimes and racial profiling cases. While these
continue to be areas of significant concern for minority communities, particularly in the
aftermath of 9/11, there are questions as to whether the DOJ has devoted sufficient resources to them.

Disability Rights
The DOJ ensures that persons with disabilities are not unnecessarily segregated in institutional
facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and other institutions, and
assists in protecting the employment and voting rights of disabled people. Unfortunately, the
DOJ’s present commitment to integrating people with disabilities into community settings, along with giving them fair treatment at work and access to the polls, is in serious doubt.
Hiring and Promotion Decisions

Lastly, the use of ideological and political litmus tests for hiring and promoting career attorneys
throughout the DOJ, at the expense of talent and expertise, has significantly contributed to the
deterioration of the DOJ’s credibility and its ability to effectively enforce our civil rights laws.
The new Attorney General must reexamine hiring practices to ensure that talented persons who understand and are committed to the laws they will enforce are hired and promoted within the DOJ.

Nowhere is the Senate’s “advise and consent” role in the review of a presidential cabinet
appointment more important than in the case of Attorney General. We strongly urge that you
engage in a searching and thorough review of both Judge Mukasey’s views and his future plans
for the Justice Department. We also ask that the Senate Committee on the Judiciary ensure that the hearings on Judge Mukasey’s nomination are full and fair, and include the voices of
individuals who will look to the next Attorney General to protect their rights.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact LCCR
Vice President and Director of Public Policy Nancy Zirkin at (202) 263-2880, or LCCR Counsel
and Policy Analyst Paul Edenfield at (202) 263-2852. We look forward to working with you.


Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American Association for Affirmative Action
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
American Association of University Women
A. Philip Randolph Institute
American Civil Liberties Union
Asian American Justice Center
Center for Reproductive Rights
Dēmos: A Network of Ideas and Action
Feminist Majority
Global Rights: Partners for Justice
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
The Interfaith Alliance
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Justice and Witness Ministries
United Church of Christ
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Legal Momentum
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
The National Association of Human Rights Workers
National Congress of American Indians
National Council of Jewish Women
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)
National Lawyers Guild
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Law Center
National Urban League
Open Society Policy Center
People For the American Way
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

OFCCP: Alltel to pay $275k over hiring suit
October 3, 2007

LITTLE ROCK --Alltel Corp. has agreed to pay $275,000 to settle a sex-discrimination complaint by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the agency announced Wednesday.
According to the federal agency, the Alltel Communications Inc. facility at Little Rock was accused of engaging in hiring discrimination based on gender over a one-year period. The agency said 539 women applying for jobs as financial-service and technical support representatives were affected.
"This settlement ... should put all federal contractors on notice that the Labor Department is serious about eliminating systemic discrimination," Deputy Assistant Labor Secretary Charles E. James Sr. said in a news release.
OFCCP investigators found that the women were disproportionately eliminated from employment possibilities, compared with similarly situated men, the release said.
In addition to the money going to the 539 women, the agency said Alltel agreed to hire 22 of them, immediately correct any discriminatory practices and undertake extensive self-monitoring measurements for two years to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law.

Pilgrim's Pride pays $1 million to settle dispute
Discrimination allegations
Pilgrim's Pride pays $1 million to settle dispute
Sentinel staff
Friday, October 05, 2007

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. has agreed to pay $1 million to approximately 5,400 applicants and offer employment to those individuals still interested in working for the company, in order to resolve a dispute that alleged the company engaged in "hiring discrimination" for entry-level positions based on gender and ethnicity over a two-year period at the Nacogdoches and Dallas plants.
Although Pilgrim's Pride officials deny that the company discriminated against any individual job applicant, the company agreed to the settlement in order to "avoid the costs and time associated with litigation," according to a statement issued by Pilgrim's Pride Corp.
The consent decree was signed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Pilgrim's Pride Corp.
In 2006, the OFCCP initiated compliance evaluations of hiring activity at the Nacogdoches and Dallas Pilgrim's Pride Corp. plants, the statement said. Based on statistical analyses, the OFCCP alleged the company discriminated against certain applicants for entry-level production jobs from Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2006.
OFCCP investigators found that the company engaged in hiring discrimination against females based on gender and males based on ethnicity, according to a news release issued by the OFCCP.
More than 800 applicants rejected by the Nacogdoches facility will receive $225,000 in back pay and interest, and the company will hire more than 101 unskilled laborers from the class members, the release said. Pilgrim's Pride will pay more than 4,500 applicants rejected by the Dallas facility $775,000 in back pay and interest, and will hire 361 unskilled laborers from the rejected applicant group.
Charles James Sr., OFCCP deputy assistant secretary, said the labor department is committed to ensuring that people seeking employment with federal contractors and subcontractors are hired, promoted and compensated fairly, without regard to their race, sex, ethnicity, disability, religion or veteran status.
At the time of the investigation, Pilgrim's Pride Corp. had a federal contract with the government.
"This settlement of $1 million on behalf of more than 5,300 applicants should put all federal contractors on notice that the department is serious about eliminating systemic discrimination," James said.
Pilgrim's Pride Corp. denies that it in any way acted unlawfully or unfairly in selecting individuals for laborer positions, noting there were legitimate non-discriminatory reasons why the applicants were not hired, the statement said.

Find this article at:

Employers’ Legal Obligations to Employees in the Military

Workforce Management online
October 2007

Hiring citizen soldiers has great benefits, but there are also strict laws governing their treatment that every employer needs to know. By Jeffrey Schieberl and Charles P. Leo

Citizen soldiers bring many assets to the workplace: They tend to follow instructions and respect authority; they have leadership skills and work well in organizations. Some have service-acquired skills that translate well in the business community such as computer skills. With these many talents provided to the employer come responsibilities.
This article is intended to bring to the attention of employers the legal obligations they have to employees who have been called to active military duty or who are members of the United States National Guard or Reserves. For example, what obligations, if any, does an employer have to re-employ a veteran in the position they held before being called to active duty? What if doing so displaces another employee or results in hardship for the employer?
While there are benefits in having a citizen soldier as an employee, employers must be prepared to address these difficult questions along with several others that flow from the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).1 Unlike some other federal laws that apply only if the employer has a certain number of employees, USERRA applies to all employers.
If you are wondering if these challenges will present themselves to your business organization, consider what the Pentagon has reported: As of August 2005, more than 141,000 members of the United States National Guard and Reserve military forces have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, those forces comprise more than 35 percent of all U.S. military forces actively serving in the region.

[To read the entire story, go to: ]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Few Answers About Nooses, but Much Talk of Jim Crow

The New York Times
BALDWIN, N.Y., Oct. 19 —

All the nooses are different, the police say. Some are coiled six times, some eight. Some are simple knots. The one found here the other day, suspended from a fence in a Highway Department yard, was wrapped with duct tape. All are blunt instruments of racial intimidation because of what they represent.
“They represent terrorizing black people and keeping them in their place,” said Ruth Roberson, a parks employee who is black, pausing on Friday morning while raking leaves. “Now they don’t lynch you. It’s all about jobs.”
At least seven times in the past few weeks, nooses have been anonymously tossed over pipes or hung on doorknobs in the New York metropolitan area — four times here on Long Island, twice in New York City, once at a Home Depot store in Passaic, N.J. The settings are disparate. One noose was hung in a police station locker room in Hempstead, where the apparent target was a black police officer recently promoted to deputy chief. Another was draped over the doorknob of the office of a black professor at Columbia University.
The question of why these things were happening — whether linked to events somewhere else, like in Jena, La., or part of some new homegrown vernacular of race hate — seemed to wait in line last week behind the question of where the next noose would be found.
Three noose episodes took place on Long Island in three days. On Wednesday, two were found at a sanitation garage in the Town of Hempstead — one of them looped around the neck of a stuffed animal with its face blackened. On Thursday, a noose was discovered hanging in a Nassau County highway department yard in Baldwin. On Friday, a worker at the Green Acres shopping mall in Valley Stream found one slung over a door at a construction site.
Public officials said they were outraged, determined to catch the culprits — and stumped.
“It would diminish the seriousness of these events to call any of them copycat situations,” said Kate Murray, the supervisor of the Town of Hempstead, a sprawling township of 750,000 residents, about 15 percent of them black, where all of last week’s incidents occurred. “But I’m not a sociologist. I am surprised by it.”

[To see the entire article, go to: ]

Pioneering DNA Scientist Draws Outrage for Saying Africans Are Less Intelligent

The Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
October 18, 2007

Pioneering DNA Scientist Draws Outrage for Saying Africans Are Less Intelligent

The Nobel laureate James D. Watson, a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, has drawn waves of outrage after the geneticist told The Sunday Times, a British newspaper, that Africans and Europeans have different levels of intelligence.
The comments have triggered a landslide of condemnation from scientists, lawmakers, and civil-rights leaders.
London’s Science Museum canceled a sold-out lecture by Mr. Watson, who shared a Nobel Prize in 1962, after the newspaper printed his remarks. Mr. Watson is now chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, in New York.
The Times quoted the 79-year-old scientist as saying that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really.” He added that while he hoped everyone was equal, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.”

[To see the entire article, and the accompanying blog comments, go to: ]

Female Faculty and the Sciences

Inside Higher Ed NEWS
October 18, 2007

During a Congressional hearing focused on the recruitment and retention of female faculty members in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields Wednesday, witnesses discussed how the federal government can combat the underrepresentation of women through targeted grants and incentives — and even the creation of a new quasi-governmental agency that would expand the enforcement of Title IX, the landmark 1972 gender equity law, to better encompass academic practices.
“The original intent of Title IX was to ensure equal educational opportunity for both sexes. Yet, relatively little has been done outside of the arena of athletics to make that mandate meaningful,” said Gretchen Ritter, director of the Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She pointed out in her written testimony that while the Government Accountability Office did ask granting agencies to ensure that grant recipients comply with Title IX in 2004, “what this might mean in practice and whether such compliance reviews are being conducted is not entirely clear.”
“I know a lot about Title IX but more because of sports programs than educational programs and that’s something that Congress can easily fix,” said Donna E. Shalala, president of the University of Miami and chair of the National Academies committee that wrote the recent report, “Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.”
“We need an organization like the [National Collegiate Athletic Association] that holds us accountable,” Shalala added — an entity situated somewhere between government and higher education.
Wednesday’s hearing of the House of Representatives Science Subcommittee on Research and Science Education focused on the end of the pipeline, so to speak — the representation of women within the faculty ranks. According to 2003 National Science Foundation data, women hold about 28 percent of all full-time science and engineering faculty positions — representing 18 percent of full professors, 31 percent of associate professors and 40 percent of assistant professors. Despite growth in the Ph.D. pool, faculty appointments, particularly at the senior levels, are still lagging: While women now constitute more than 50 percent of Ph.D. students in the life sciences, for instance, and, in 2003, made up 42 percent of the entire pool of life science Ph.D. recipients within the six preceding years, they represented just 34 percent of assistant professor appointments.
“What we learned [in researching the “Beyond Bias” report] was the pools are there for the first time,” Shalala said. “It’s not the pool issue anymore. It’s our behavior.”
“Entire campuses have been dozing on this issue,” Kathie L. Olsen, deputy director of the NSF, said in prefacing her remarks about the foundation’s ADVANCE Institutional Transformation awards. “Targeting funding for individuals simply did not go far enough. What we needed was a full, institution-wide shakeup to bring about results.” [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Study: Companies Don’t Spend Enough Time Recruiting at HBCUs

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

by Michelle J. Nealy
Oct 16, 2007, 22:20

The strategies Fortune 400 companies and government agencies use when looking to recruit new employees from historically Black colleges and universities differ from those they use for predominantly White institutions.

Fortune 400 companies and government agencies used on campus bulletin boards, alumni recommendations, networking and career development officers more frequently at PWIs than at HBCUs, according to a recent study conducted by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and researchers from Alabama A&M University.

Researchers surveyed 280 recruiters from Fortune 400 companies and career development directors at 105 HBCUs and 287 PWIs.

The study indicated that a disproportionate number of graduates from PWIs were hired over those from HBCUs. In 2006, corporations and agencies included in the study hired 31 college graduates and only four were HBCU graduates.

The strongest explanation for the disparity, suggests Dwayne Ashley, president and CEO of the TMCF, is the number of on campus visits made by recruiters from Fortune 400 companies and government agencies.

“Recruiters were not visiting enough HBCU schools. For budgetary reasons, most companies only visit one to 10 schools overall. These schools tend to be the top 10 liberal arts colleges and universities in the country,” Ashley says.

The data indicated that 32 percent of Fortune 400 companies and government agencies did not visit any college campus last year, and only 20 percent made 11 to 20 campus visits.

“If these companies allocate more dollars to the budget and increase the number of campus visits from one to 10 to 11 to 20, it would allow recruiters to visit schools they wouldn’t ordinarily visit. There is a pool of untapped minority talent at smaller HBCUs,” Ashley says.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Affirmative action critic trying to end policies in state

By KEVIN ABOUREZK / Lincoln Journal Star
Saturday, Oct 13, 2007 - 12:40:41 am CDT

A prominent affirmative-action critic is targeting Nebraska as one of five states where he hopes to get voters to decide in November 2008 to end the use of racial, ethnic and gender preferences by public colleges and state and local agencies.Ward Connerly, founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, has begun an effort to put an initiative on the Nov. 4, 2008, ballot in Nebraska that would ban the state from granting preferential treatment to people based on race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin. The initiative would affect the areas of public employment, public education and public contracting.Connerly said the ACRI has hired National Ballot Access of Lawrenceville, Ga., to gather signatures for the ballot initiative and plans to submit petition language to the state for review within three weeks.
He said he hopes to have petition circulators working to get signatures within 45 days in Nebraska.“I think by the end of the year, certainly, we will be on the streets … gathering signatures,” he said.In addition to Nebraska, Connerly is targeting Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma as states that would consider ballot measures ending state preferential treatment in November 2008.He said he is focusing on those states because they seem like states that would pass such measures and because of the ease with which measures can be put on ballots in those states.Of those states, only Colorado lacks a history of social conservatism, though that state has a large conservative minority that has managed to win key ballot victories in recent decades, according the Chronicle of Higher Education.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

EEOC Guidance on Caregiver Bias

Workforce Management
September 10, 2007, p. 10

Employers are advised to review the EEOC’s guidance. As always, appropriate training of managers and supervisors on their legal obligations is the best approach to sensitive decision-making to avoid liability issues.
By James E. Hall, Mark T. Kobata, Marty Denis and D. Diane Hatch

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published enforcement guidance on the issue of employees who care for children, parents or disabled family members.
According to the EEOC, employers should be aware of employee rights under Title VII and the Americans With Disabilities Act. The agency makes clear that its guidance is not intended to create a new protected category of employees with family responsibilities. Rather, it is intended to address disparate treatment of employees who care for family members.
The guidance identifies several areas where employers may be at risk for discrimination claims by employees with family care obligations.
A key area of concern is the sexual stereotyping of female employees who often bear key caregiver functions. The EEOC notes that "women with caregiving responsibilities may be perceived as more committed to caregiving than to their jobs and as less competent than other workers, regardless of how their caregiving responsibilities actually impact their work."
Employment decisions "based on such stereotypes violate the federal antidiscrimination statutes, even when an employer acts upon such stereotypes unconsciously or reflexively." Evidence of unlawful treatment includes: asking female applicants, but not males, about marital status and caregiver responsibilities; derogatory comments about pregnant employees or female caregivers; subjecting such individuals to less favorable treatment; or assignment of unfavorable jobs to female caregivers. The guidance, called Treatment of Workers With Caregiving Responsibilities, is available online.
Impact: Employers are advised to review the EEOC’s guidance. As always, appropriate training of managers and supervisors on their legal obligations is the best approach to sensitive decision-making to avoid liability issues.
Workforce Management, September 10, 2007, p. 10 -- Subscribe Now!
D. Diane Hatch, Ph.D., is a human resources consultant based in San Francisco. James E. Hall, Mark T. Kobata and Marty Denis are partners with the law firm of Barlow, Kobata and Denis, with offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. E-mail to comment.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Albert Einstein, Civil Rights activist

Harvard University Gazette Online
Little-known aspect of physicist’s life revealed
By Ken Gewertz Harvard News Office

Einstein’s response to the racism and segregation he found in Princeton was to cultivate relationships in the town’s African-American community. Jerome and Taylor interviewed members of that community who still remember the white-haired, disheveled figure of Einstein strolling through their streets, stopping to chat with the inhabitants, and handing out candy to local children.
Here’s something you probably don’t know about Albert Einstein.
In 1946, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist traveled to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the alma mater of Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall and the first school in America to grant college degrees to blacks. At Lincoln, Einstein gave a speech in which he called racism “a disease of white people,” and added, “I do not intend to be quiet about it.” He also received an honorary degree and gave a lecture on relativity to Lincoln students.
The reason Einstein’s visit to Lincoln is not better known is that it was virtually ignored by the mainstream press, which regularly covered Einstein’s speeches and activities. (Only the black press gave extensive coverage to the event.) Nor is there mention of the Lincoln visit in any of the major Einstein biographies or archives.
In fact, many significant details are missing from the numerous studies of Einstein’s life and work, most of them having to do with Einstein’s opposition to racism and his relationships with African Americans.
That these omissions need to be recognized and corrected is the contention of Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, authors of “Einstein on Race and Racism” (Rutgers University Press, 2006). Jerome and Taylor spoke April 3 at an event sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. The event also featured remarks by Sylvester James Gates Jr., the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, University of Maryland.
According to Jerome and Taylor, Einstein’s statements at Lincoln were by no means an isolated case. Einstein, who was Jewish, was sensitized to racism by the years of Nazi-inspired threats and harassment he suffered during his tenure at the University of Berlin. Einstein was in the United States when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and, fearful that a return to Germany would place him in mortal danger, he decided to stay, accepting a position at the recently founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. He became an American citizen in 1940.
But while Einstein may have been grateful to have found a safe haven, his gratitude did not prevent him from criticizing the ethical shortcomings of his new home.
“Einstein realized that African Americans in Princeton were treated like Jews in Germany,” said Taylor. “The town was strictly segregated. There was no high school that blacks could go to until the 1940s.”
Einstein’s response to the racism and segregation he found in Princeton (Paul Robeson, who was born in Princeton, called it “the northernmost town in the South”) was to cultivate relationships in the town’s African-American community. Jerome and Taylor interviewed members of that community who still remember the white-haired, disheveled figure of Einstein strolling through their streets, stopping to chat with the inhabitants, and handing out candy to local children.
One woman remembered that Einstein paid the college tuition of a young man from the community. Another said that he invited Marian Anderson to stay at his home when the singer was refused a room at the Nassau Inn.
Einstein met Paul Robeson when the famous singer and actor came to perform at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre in 1935. The two found they had much in common. Both were concerned about the rise of fascism, and both gave their support to efforts to defend the democratically elected government of Spain against the fascist forces of Francisco Franco. Einstein and Robeson also worked together on the American Crusade to End Lynching, in response to an upsurge in racial murders as black soldiers returned home in the aftermath of World War II.
The 20-year friendship between Einstein and Robeson is another story that has not been told, Jerome said, but that omission may soon be rectified. A movie is in the works about the relationship, with Danny Glover slated to play Robeson and Ben Kingsley as Einstein.

[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Women's group requests hearing on SBA program

Government Executive
By Elizabeth Newell October 12, 2007

Women's Chamber of Commerce is pushing for a court hearing on the status of the Small Business Administration's women's procurement program, a week after the agency announced it was circulating its latest proposal to implement the program.
The Women's Chamber filed the request for a status hearing at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday. The group asked the court to address the "unconscionable delay" in implementing the program, mandated by Congress seven years ago to help agencies reach a goal of giving 5 percent of contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses.
The SBA announced last week that it had submitted its latest draft regulations on the program for interagency review. The regulatory changes are necessary before implementation can begin, agency officials said.
The legal document filed by the Women's Chamber, however, calls the rule an unnecessary reversal, saying the Office of Management and Budget was wrapping up final review on the previous rule for the program. The new rule has not yet been released to the public.
The court has addressed delays in the program previously. In November 2005, it found that the agency had "sabotaged, whether intentional[ly] or not, the implementation of a procurement program which would have, and will, likely benefit the businesses they represent." The court directed the agency to propose a deadline and follow a schedule to implement the program as soon as possible.
The SBA has not met its own deadlines, including a regulatory review deadline of November 2006. SBA Administrator Steve Preston testified before the House Small Business Committee on Oct. 4 that the agency was doing everything it could to enact the plan quickly.
"I agree that it is taking a long time, and it's taking too long, and it's taking longer certainly than we expected it would," Preston said at the hearing.
The SBA says it is required by law to submit the rule for interagency review before releasing it for public comment, but Margot Dorfman, chief executive officer at the Women's Chamber, said the review process was supposed to take place months ago. The organization repeatedly has accused the SBA of deliberately impeding the program through excessive regulatory review.
"The SBA has flouted Congress's directives and blatantly ignored self-imposed deadlines responsive to the court's order," the Women's Chamber charged. "The SBA's glacial progress -- if it can be considered progress at all -- is clearly violative of the [Administrative Procedures Act] prohibition against unreasonable delay."
An agency spokeswoman said the SBA does not object to the status hearing. The court has not yet responded to the hearing request.
Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, said she plans to look into legislation to compel the agency to act. The Women's Chamber is hoping that, meanwhile, the court will look into SBA's withdrawal of the earlier rule, evaluate the agency's progress and take any other necessary steps to move the program forward.

Discrimination, harassment, and the NBA

The Boston Globe
By Anita Hill October 15, 2007

THE $11.6 million jury award in Anucha Browne Sanders's sexual harassment case sends a strong message to the New York Knicks sports franchise that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. But the value of the message will be lost if the Knicks and other sports teams respond by hiring fewer, not more, women managers.
Ironically, the NBA has a better record for hiring women than most sports. Though the league does quite well in some categories, this year, the University of Central Florida's Racial and Gender Report Card authored by Richard Lapchick gave the league an "F" for the number of women team vice presidents and a "D" for the number of women employed as senior administrators.
Newspaper accounts of the trial presented a grim picture of Browne Sanders's time with the Knicks. In addition to testifying about how Isiah Thomas harassed her, Browne Sanders, the Knicks' former top marketing executive, described a work environment that was unsupportive of her and her efforts. For example, Browne Sanders recounted that Knicks star player Stephon Marbury called her a bitch because she fired Marbury's cousin for sexually harassing an intern. Both the intern and Marbury's cousin worked for Browne Sanders.
Despite a league policy against sexual harassment, NBA commissioner David Stern has not taken any action against the Knicks. He has said he may recommend "sensitivity training across the league."
In considering the Browne Sanders verdict, I was reminded of an earlier suit that changed the world of sports. In 1977, Melissa Ludtke, a sports writer, successfully sued Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn so that women reporters could have equal access to interview players. The law and the facts were on Ludtke's side and Kuhn, as league leader, should have avoided the litigation.
Even after Ludkte's victory, players verbally and even physically abused female reporters who were simply doing their jobs. The women persevered. But had Kuhn voluntarily opened the door to female journalists he would have sent a message to teams and prevented at least some of the blatantly sexist behavior from occurring.
Sixteen years ago, in the wake of my testimony in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing, women coined a phrase, "they just don't get it." "They," of course, were not only members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but men in general.
In the days after the hearing, I received thousands of supportive letters, the overwhelming majority of which were from women who identified personally with my testimony. Many men who wrote characterized sexual harassment as the fantastic, vengeful invention of disgruntled employees or spurned lovers.
Four women and three men made up the federal jury that concluded that the harassment Browne Sanders suffered warranted $11.6 million in punitive damages. On the day of the verdict and in response to Clarence Thomas's renewed challenges to my 1991 testimony, I received hundreds of supportive e-mails and calls from around the country. To my surprise, about 50 percent of those responses came from men who through their own observations or the stories told them by their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters understand the problem and its harm.
Neither the correspondence I received nor the Browne Sanders verdict is a scientific public survey. Yet, they both are signs that some consensus around the issue of sexual harassment is building. A kind of "sensitivity training" is already occurring among the population. But the question of just how far are we willing to go to stop sexual harassment remains.
In the male-dominated world of major league sports, one wrong-headed, knee jerk reaction is to eliminate women from the workplace - no women, no sexual harassment, no problem. Not only would that be unacceptable, but as more women armed with law degrees and MBAs seek entry in the business of sports, it would be impossible to maintain.
Browne Sanders has said that she filed her suit for all women, and women will be served if the verdict encourages them to come forward to report workplace abuses. Women will be better served if more is done to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place. Browne Sanders has done her part. Now the NBA should act.
Stern has vowed to put the issue on the agenda for the NBA board of governors meeting this month. At the very least, he should question whether the lack of women in management roles contributes to sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination against them. Conducting an audit of teams' hiring and other employment policies for their impact on women would be a good start. With the Browne Sanders verdict, indications are that Stern has the law and growing public sentiment to back him up.
Anita F. Hill is a guest columnist and professor of law, social policy, and women's studies at Brandeis University and a visiting scholar at Wellesley College, the Newhouse Center for the Humanities, and Wellesley Center for Women.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Minority-Owned Search Firms Struggle to Net Big Clients

By Kemba J. Dunham From The Wall Street Journal Online

Minority-owned recruitment firms often find it tough to forge the deep relationships with major corporations that can be crucial to a recruiter's success.
Such firms -- which don't limit the demographics of their search but are often relied upon by hiring companies to present women and minority candidates -- say their jobs are getting harder than ever. Some recruiters cite the current political backlash against affirmative action and diminished interest in diversity among high-tech start-ups. Others contend big employers call only when they come under fire for a lack of diversity.
In this field, small firms are often at a disadvantage. Most large employers say they prefer the mainstream, larger search firms, which they believe can deliver the widest range of candidates with the necessary skills. Only one, or maybe two, minority-owned search firms rank among the 50 biggest players, and most reap annual revenue of less than $3 million, says Darryl Miller, an African-American vice president of Diversity Advantage, a Jersey City, N.J., search firm. The 25 top U.S. search firms have grown an average of 24% a year since 1995 and garnered annual average revenue of more than $1.7 billion last year, reports Hunt-Scanlon Advisors, a search-industry consulting firm in Stamford, Conn.
Consider Wendell Johnson, the African-American owner of a small executive-search firm in Danbury, Conn. In December, he received a letter from Citizens Communications Co. that expressed interest in diversifying its work force and establishing a "recruiting relationship." The Stamford, Conn., telecommunications and utilities concern offered Wendell L. Johnson & Associates Inc. a 20% contingency fee for hiring referred candidates.
Mr. Johnson replied that he was happy to advise company officials about their diversity push, but he declined to recruit on a contingency basis, as that isn't his normal pricing arrangement. No one answered his letter nor his numerous calls to Citizens executives. "There was a lack of sincerity on their part," Mr. Johnson contends. The company says it didn't follow up simply because Mr. Johnson refused to work for a contingency fee. Citizens said it is sincere and that it has since established several contingency relationships with other recruiters to identify minority candidates.
When minority-owned search firms attempt to cultivate ongoing relationships with corporate giants, they sometimes feel demeaned. William Hawkins, president of Los Angeles search firm Hawkins Co., says certain big businesses send him broad questionnaires ordinarily used to select minority-owned vendors. The questionnaires request irrelevant information such as the measurements of his facilities. "This is not the way they select the major search firms," Mr. Hawkins says.

[To read the entire article, go to: ]

The great lie in African-American hiring

By David D'Alessandro October 8, 2007

"I TRIED to hire an African-American, there were just no qualified applicants available, and I really need to fill the job soon."
I cannot tell you how many hundreds of times in my Boston career as an employer, board member, or adviser I have heard and still hear this comment when a management person is unable to fill a key position with an African-American.
It is a great lie.
Most times, managers have not searched diligently, or the headhunters are in such a rush to get their fee that they push the more plentiful experienced white candidates because they know managers try to fill jobs quickly before they lose the position for budget reasons or simply because they need the work done fast.
While that will certainly be denied and does not happen everywhere, it occurs more than one imagines.
But this great lie is widely accepted under the premise that if "at least some effort has been made to recruit a black he/she has done their duty." In other words, the "easy out." After all, business needs to go on. The rationale is "That's not prejudice - we tried."
Not all organizations and companies let managers get away with it that easily, but take a good look around. Certainly, almost every Boston organization has African-American managers, particularly nonprofits, government, and universities. And some have done a reasonable job in placing qualified blacks in senior positions.
But most private companies struggle with this issue. Especially at the upper-middle and senior ranks. Most of these profit companies are run by a phalanx of white guys, a woman or two, and perhaps a black person is in their midst. There may be a few exceptions, but not many. Just peruse the senior executive and board photos in their annual reports. Case closed.
Now exactly why is that? Well, you hear all types of things. Just last week I was in a board meeting and was told, "Highly qualified blacks won't move to Boston because they think it is still a town of great prejudice. They remember the busing issue, Bill Russell's bitterness, and the Charles Stuart case."
That one statement, which I have heard in many versions a hundred times, usually is a debate stopper. A bit like, "Well, if that's the issue, how does our single organization make a dent in such a deeply seated view? Guess we will just have to live with it." Huh?
One of the more fascinating things about prejudice that leads to this inaction is it's easy to believe such statements whether they are true or not. And that acceptance allows people an excuse to not change the dynamic.

[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

OFCCP Issues First FY 2008 Scheduling List

Effective October 1, 2007, the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will begin to schedule compliance evaluations of non-construction Federal contractors based on its FY 2008 scheduling list. This list is generated through OFCCP's Federal Contractor Selection System.

For more information, go to the OFCCP's website: to view the announcement.

The justice run amok

The Boston Globe
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist October 9, 2007

THE BITTERNESS in Clarence Thomas makes you wonder if he ever can realize that he won. It is 16 years since he was confirmed to the Supreme Court despite charges of sexual harassment by Anita Hill. For a decade and a half, in one of the most unassailable seats in the world, he has exercised power that affects millions of Americans.
That appears not to be enough for him. In his new memoir, Thomas fights the Hill accusations like a punch-drunk boxer. It did not matter that, as he himself wrote, the opinion polls immediately after the extraordinary Thomas-Hill hearings "tilted decisively - even lopsidedly - in my favor."
Despite being comfortably entrenched in a conservative wing of the court that is doing a good deal of what it was appointed to do in turning back the clock on the legal rights of millions of disadvantaged Americans, Thomas writes as if time stood still. Though most Americans who opposed his nomination have long been forced into a resigned shrug over his votes, Thomas spends a curious amount of time throwing dirt on Hill's professional reputation.
Going back to 1982, Thomas called Hill, today a Brandeis University professor, a "growing nuisance" when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. He said a staffer "told me that Anita wasn't performing up to expectations and failed to finish her assignments on time. I hadn't realized her work was so deficient." He said, "I'd also noticed Anita's rude attitude toward other members of my staff - and it had been bothering me as well that she seemed far too interested in my social calendar."
Thomas said when he passed over Hill for a promotion, she "stormed into my office" and accused Thomas of favoring light-skinned black women. Thomas said he helped Hill get a faculty position at Oral Roberts Law School partially because he saw it as a chance "to solve a problem of my own."
When Thomas was first told by the FBI about Hill's accusations during his confirmation process, he said he told the agents "her work at EEOC had been mediocre." Thomas wrote that when he wondered to himself why Hill was making these charges, he said, "I also knew from working with Anita that she was touchy and apt to overreact. If I or anyone else had done the slightest thing to offend her, she would have complained loudly and instantly, not waited for a decade to make her displeasure known."
Thomas even threw in a dig at Hill's politics. "I remembered how she'd said at our first meeting that she 'detested' Ronald Reagan - and I'd found her political views to be both stereotypically left of center and uninformed."
Why Thomas felt compelled to go over this again is anyone's guess. What is known is that the charges made him run to the very closet of victimhood that he famously accused black civil rights leaders of hiding in. His stunning, nationally televised response to Hill's charges was a declaration that he was the victim of a "high-tech lynching."
In "Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas," a biography also published this year, Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher of the Washington Post concluded, "Thomas wears his blackness like a heavy robe that both enobles and burdens him. The problem of color is a mantle he yearns to shed, even as he clings to it."

[To read the rest of the opinion editorial, go to: ]

Commentary: Clarence Thomas has a right to be angry

By Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

SAN DIEGO, California -- Many Americans have a blind spot when it comes to black conservatives. They don't have the foggiest idea what makes these people tick.
And they blew their chance to learn more during the October 1991 confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Instead, there were those who tried to destroy someone who dared to think for himself.
For instance, Thomas opposes affirmative action, the very program that his critics insist was solely responsible for his admission into Yale Law School.
White liberals frown on independent thinking by minorities. Some of them claimed that Thomas was pulling up the ladder behind him and so they pulled the rug out from under him. These are the folks who claim credit for the success of those minorities they agree with while trying to discredit those with whom they disagree.
That reminds me. One popular misconception is that African-Americans who gravitate toward the Republican Party do so because they agree with the GOP on the issues, perhaps in support of tax cuts or in opposition to same-sex marriage. But, from my dealings with black conservatives, I can tell you that -- for many of them -- their rightward drift began as a reaction to the condescension on the left.
You saw some of that during Thomas' confirmation hearing. And you're seeing more of it now in the reaction to his searing memoir, "My Grandfather's Son." The book gives Thomas' side of the story about his confirmation and the woman, Anita Hill, who almost derailed it with accusations of sexual harassment.
But it also gives his liberal critics more ammunition. Their rap against the guy used to be that he wasn't angry enough over centuries of injustice against African-Americans. Now, they're insisting that he's too angry: at them and at the way he was treated.
Left-of-center Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus writes that the book seems to "pulsate with Thomas' rage." The liberal Frank Rich of The New York Times judges Thomas to be "full of unreconstructed racial bitterness."

[To read the entire commentary, go to: ]

The rules of conduct

Boston Globe
By Vanessa E. Jones - Globe Staff
October 9, 2007
Some black men say they're held to higher standards than whites in the workplace

On Fridays, employees at the Boston Architectural College have the option to dress casually. But when Michael James, a director of human resources and diversity at the school, donned denim shorts one recent Friday, his clothing elicited a few comments. One person wasn't used to seeing James dressed so informally, someone else asked him, "What happened?" and another supportively told him to "fight the fight."
The interest in James's attire wasn't based on a pitched battle about what comprises casual dress. James believes the comments reflected the fact that he was a black man who decided to dress down at the office. "Even when we have casual Fridays," says James, 36, "I'm expected to wear a suit and tie."
Like many other black men, James says unspoken rules limit how they interact in predominantly white workplaces. In some cases, they must dress more formally than their co-workers, speak softly, or generally comport themselves in unaggressive ways to counteract stereotypes that paint black men as unintelligent, violent, and dangerous. These biases are based on long-held beliefs about black masculinity and sexuality that grew out of this country's history of slavery and segregation.
In the past, black men had no choice but to succumb to white society's fears and present themselves deferentially. But today a new generation of black men are bringing attention to and trying to change these implied rules of conduct.
Last month in an interview on HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel," Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb talked about how black quarterbacks have to work harder than white ones to prove their worth. He said even when he plays well in a game, critics will say of him: "We would have scored more points if he would have done this."
Isaiah Washington, who uttered a homophobic slur on the set of the television drama "Grey's Anatomy," has spoken bluntly about the predicament of being a black man in the corporate world. After it was announced last spring that his contract was not renewed, he told Newsweek: "I had a person in human resources tell me after this thing played out that 'some people' were afraid of me around the studio. I asked her why, because I'm a 6-foot-1, black man with dark skin and who doesn't go around saying 'Yessah, massa sir' and 'No sir, massa' to everyone? It's nuts when your presence alone can just scare people. . ."
Although some have criticized Washington for using race to excuse his alleged homophobia, his statement shows just how outspoken some black men have become about inequities in the workplace. It's usually black men with the wealth, fame, or social class to withstand the negative consequences of speaking out about such issues who discuss it.
Tessil Collins, 55, believes his age has earned him the right not to cater to these pressures. Collins works as an industry cluster coordinator of arts, media, and communications at the Boston Public Schools' Office of High School Renewal (he's currently organizing with the Globe Foundation the Media Matters conference for high school students). In addition, Collins runs his own webcasting and creative services business, Spectrum Broadcasting Co. Being an entrepreneur with a second job gives Collins the luxury to speak bluntly.
"Black people with options are always going to give people cause for pause," Collins says. "They're not intimidated by whiteness. They can say things and not feel like it's going to cost them monetarily."
Those who are dependent on corporations for job security learn to deal with this issue by approaching it with a different mindset.
"You can't simply see it as somehow an erosion of who you are," says Mark Anthony Neal, a professor at Duke University and author of last year's nonfiction work about black masculinity and sexuality, "New Black Man," "that you're inauthentic because you're 'acting white.' It's simply a strategy that needs to be employed in order for you to be successful in your career and in your life."
As an allocation analyst at TJX Companies Inc. in Framingham for three years, starting in 2000, Wynndell Bishop says he made a conscious decision to speak with a softer voice and present himself in an unaggressive manner. "I would say 60 percent of the division I was in was young white women between the ages of 21 and 28," says Bishop, 28, who received his MBA from Boston College in May. "A lot of those women, to my knowledge, didn't have a lot of interaction with black folks other than what they saw on TV."
James makes accommodations because of his 6-foot-2 height, which, he says, has made people view him as "threatening and menacing even though I'm the most peaceful person out there."

[To read the entire article, go to:]

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

ADA Watch Alert on ADA Restoration Act Hearing

On Thursday morning, October 4, 2007, at 10 am, the Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the House Judiciary Committee will hold an important hearing on renewing the Americans with Disabilities Act. The hearing will focus on the ADA Restoration Act (H.R. 3195), the bill designed to restore the rights of the many people who have lost their civil rights protections due to the narrowing of the ADA in the courts.

These hearings will be held on Thursday in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.

BACKGROUND: Seventeen years ago, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with overwhelming bipartisan support. However, in recent years, a number of Supreme Court decisions have significantly reduced the protections available to people with disabilities in employment settings. Courts are quick to side with businesses and employers, deciding against people with disabilities who challenge employment discrimination 97% of the time, often before the person even has a chance to show the employer treated them unfairly.
Indeed, courts have created an absurd Catch-22 by allowing employers to say a person is “too disabled” to do the job but not “disabled enough” to be protected by the ADA. People with conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, HIV, cancer, hearing loss, and mental illness that manage their disabilities with medication, prosthetics, hearing aids, etc. -- or “mitigating measures” -- are viewed as “too functional” to have a disability and are denied the ADA’s protection from employment discrimination. People denied a job or fired because an employer mistakenly believes they cannot perform the job or because the employer does not want people with disabilities in the workplace are also denied the ADA's protection from employment discrimination. Passage of the ADA Restoration Act of 2007 is critical to restoring the intent of Congress when it originally passed the ADA.

As Rep. Steny Hoyer stated when he introduced the ADA Restoration Act of 2007 on July 26, 2007, “the point of the ADA is not disability; it is the prevention of wrongful and unlawful discrimination.” The courts have spent an exorbitant amount of time parsing the question of whether a person is really “disabled,” when the real question is whether the person was treated unfairly on the basis of an irrelevant personal characteristic (disability). Courts do not require people alleging race or sex discrimination under other civil rights laws to first prove their race or gender – instead, they look at whether race or gender was the basis for the adverse action. Under the ADA, however, before a court will hear a person’s discrimination claim, the person is currently required to first prove in excruciating detail how “disabled” he or she is. This is not what Congress intended in the original ADA.

Instead, as Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said when he joined Mr. Hoyer in the introduction of the ADA Restoration Act of 2007, this bill helps ensure that the ADA takes its rightful place among other civil rights laws, and “will force courts to focus on whether a person has experienced discrimination ‘on the basis of disability,’ rather than require individuals to demonstrate that they fall within the scope of the law’s protection” at all. That was what Congress originally intended – to focus a spotlight on unfair discrimination against people with a broad range of disabilities.

When Congress passed the ADA, when President George H. W. Bush signed the law, and when Attorney General Dick Thornburgh promulgated regulations to implement the law, the intent of the ADA was crystal clear – the law was intended to apply to everyone who experienced discrimination on the basis of disability, not just those with severe disabilities. Congress did not expect its legislative history, and prior case precedent, to be ignored.

ADA Watch/NCDR joins CCD, NCIL and the larger disability rights community and urges Congress to pass the ADA Restoration Act (H.R. 3195), restoring the original intent of Congress to ensure the right to be judged based on performance, harmonizing the ADA with other civil rights laws, and requiring the courts to interpret the law fairly.

Signatures sought for Colorado Ballot Initiative

The Denver Post
denver & the west briefing
Article Last Updated: 10/02/2007 02:31:00 AM MDT

Signatures sought for ballot initiative limiting affirmative action
Denver - A ballot initiative to ban "preferential treatment" by the state and local governments in Colorado has entered the signature-collection phase, Secretary of State Mike Coffman said Monday.
The proposal would limit affirmative-action efforts, but opponents say it could prohibit health care programs for women.
Proponents Valery Orr and Linda Chavez must collect the signatures of 76,047 registered Colorado voters for the issue to appear on the November 2008 ballot. Those signatures are due to the secretary of state's office by Dec. 20.


Five Employers Honored for Programs Promoting Access and Inclusion

WASHINGTON – Naomi C. Earp, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today presented the agency’s third annual “Freedom to Compete Award” to five employers from the private and public sectors for best practices that promote access and inclusion.
The award recipients include a leading internationally recognized hospital center, a non-profit health care provider, a major bureau of a Cabinet-level agency, a city government, and a disability advocacy organization.
“In today’s competitive global economy, employers must cast a wide net to attract the most diverse range of talent available,” Chair Earp said at a morning ceremony at agency headquarters. “The Freedom to Compete Award showcases the most innovative employer programs to promote fair and open competition in the 21st century workplace without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age or disability. We applaud the 2007 winners, whose practices serve as models for employers across the nation.”
The awards are part of the EEOC’s Freedom to Compete Initiative, a national outreach, education and coalition-building campaign launched in 2002 to provide free and unfettered access to employment opportunities for all individuals. The central theme of the initiative is that every individual deserves the opportunity to compete and advance as far as his/her talent and ability allow without regard to discriminatory barriers. The 2007 award winners are:
Johns Hopkins Health System: For developing a series of programs to increase job opportunities for area youth with disabilities; more efficiently handling disputes among its employees, including EEO disputes; improving upward mobility for both new hires and permanent staff, including those from under-represented groups; and enhancing the skills of its service workers. Through these programs, 41 students with disabilities have been placed in internships, 259 employees have completed training programs, approximately 60 employees have earned high school diplomas, and approximately 90 percent of discrimination charges were resolved without an investigation.
Emory Crawford Long Hospital: For its “Project Search Program,” which was created to assist hospitals experiencing shortages of nurses and medical technicians by employing young people with developmental disabilities (DD) to assist with routine tasks that do not require medical expertise. As a result of the program, 32 students with DD have transitioned to paid jobs in a variety of hospital departments.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS): For its “Lions World Program” to facilitate the hiring and retention of individuals with visual impairments. The IRS extends commitments to hire qualified individuals with visual impairments upon successful completion of pre-employment training that utilizes adaptive equipment and assistive technologies. To date, 673 persons with significant visual impairments have been hired by the IRS through the program. The IRS has also directly hired 126 visually impaired computer programmers.
The City of Norfolk: For its “Pathways to Public Service Program,” which was designed to remove barriers to public employment for people of color, women, and individuals with disabilities. The program targets individuals of various ages and experiences and provides mentoring and real-world work experience in the public sector. Pathways to Public Service has resulted in numerous hires for the city.
Abilities, Inc.: For its “Experience Counts Program” to assist mature workers with disabilities or age-related limitations to regain meaningful employment. The program aims to educate employers about the value of hiring or retaining older workers and to assist mature job seekers in realigning their careers. As a result, 187 mature workers have obtained meaningful employment. Of those, over 70 percent were unemployed for more than six months prior to receiving services. Abilities, Inc. plans to expand the program to include veterans with disabilities who are returning to civilian life after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As part of the Freedom to Compete Initiative, the EEOC has been forging strategic alliances and partnerships with a cross-section of stakeholders to influence positive change in the workplace. Additional information about the initiative can be found on the EEOC’s web site at
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available online at

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

News Release: AAAA Launches Enhanced Professional Development and Training Institute

For Immediate Release: October 2, 2007
Contact: Shirley J. Wilcher, 202-349-9855

American Association for Affirmative Action
Launches Enhanced Professional Development and Training Institute
November 4 - 9, 2007

Affirmative Action Association Tailors its Training for New Equal Opportunity and Workplace Diversity Demands

The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), a national membership organization of equal employment opportunity (EEO), affirmative action and diversity professionals, is hosting its Professional Development and Training Institute (PDTI) at the National Conference Center, Lansdowne, VA, November 4 – 9, 2007. PDTI is one of the foremost training programs for affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity specialists in higher education, government and private industry.

Course offerings include Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity Law; Affirmative Action Plan Development; Complaint Processing, Counseling and Resolution; “It’s About Respect”: Preventing and Eliminating Harassment; Functional Affirmative Action Program Development (FAAP); Systemic Discrimination: “Identifying the Problem and Avoiding the Risk”; Mediation; Federal EEO Management; Fundamentals of Diversity Management - Part A and “Creating a Best-in-Class Diversity Strategy.” “This is the most comprehensive listing of EEO and affirmative action courses that AAAA has ever offered. It is also the most timely, addressing compliance issues and the emergence of diversity management as a profession in today’s multicultural workplace,” said Marjorie Powell, AAAA’s chair of the PDTI Committee. PDTI faculty includes former officials of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, U.S. Department of Labor; college and university professors; civil rights lawyers and outstanding affirmative action and EEO professionals.

Individuals who successfully complete the prescribed PDTI courses receive the Certified Affirmative Action Professional (CAAP) certificate. Courses may qualify for HRCI credit. To register for the November PDTI program, go to: The National Conference Center is located at: 18980 Upper Belmont Place, Lansdowne, VA 20176 - Main Phone: 703.729.8000, Main Fax: 703.729.5382.
American Association for Affirmative Action
888 16th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20006

At the elite colleges - dim white kids

The Boston Globe
By Peter Schmidt September 28, 2007

AUTUMN AND a new academic year are upon us, which means that selective colleges are engaged in the annual ritual of singing the praises of their new freshman classes.
Surf the websites of such institutions and you will find press releases boasting that they have increased their black and Hispanic enrollments, admitted bumper crops of National Merit scholars or became the destination of choice for hordes of high school valedictorians. Many are bragging about the large share of applicants they rejected, as a way of conveying to the world just how popular and selective they are.
What they almost never say is that many of the applicants who were rejected were far more qualified than those accepted. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it was not the black and Hispanic beneficiaries of affirmative action, but the rich white kids with cash and connections who elbowed most of the worthier applicants aside.
Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America's highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions' minimum admissions standards.
Five years ago, two researchers working for the Educational Testing Service, Anthony Carnevale and Stephen Rose, took the academic profiles of students admitted into 146 colleges in the top two tiers of Barron's college guide and matched them up against the institutions' advertised requirements in terms of high school grade point average, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and records of involvement in extracurricular activities. White students who failed to make the grade on all counts were nearly twice as prevalent on such campuses as black and Hispanic students who received an admissions break based on their ethnicity or race.
Who are these mediocre white students getting into institutions such as Harvard, Wellesley, Notre Dame, Duke, and the University of Virginia? A sizable number are recruited athletes who, research has shown, will perform worse on average than other students with similar academic profiles, mainly as a result of the demands their coaches will place on them.
A larger share, however, are students who gained admission through their ties to people the institution wanted to keep happy, with alumni, donors, faculty members, administrators, and politicians topping the list.
Applicants who stood no chance of gaining admission without connections are only the most blatant beneficiaries of such admissions preferences. Except perhaps at the very summit of the applicant pile - that lofty place occupied by young people too brilliant for anyone in their right mind to turn down - colleges routinely favor those who have connections over those who don't. While some applicants gain admission by legitimately beating out their peers, many others get into exclusive colleges the same way people get into trendy night clubs, by knowing the management or flashing cash at the person manning the velvet rope.
Leaders at many selective colleges say they have no choice but to instruct their admissions offices to reward those who financially support their institutions, because keeping donors happy is the only way they can keep the place afloat. They also say that the money they take in through such admissions preferences helps them provide financial aid to students in need.

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Affirmative-action proposal for Missouri ballot is deceptive

Kansas City Star Editorial
Posted on Mon, Oct. 01, 2007 10:15 PM

Late this month a Cole County judge is to begin hearing arguments in two lawsuits concerning a harmful measure that claims to be a “civil rights initiative.”
Supporters of the proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution say it would simply ensure fairness. But it would torpedo state-supported affirmative action programs in hiring, contracting and education.
From opposite perspectives, the lawsuits challenge the ballot wording approved by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Supporters of the proposed amendment must obtain 139,181 signatures to get it on the November 2008 ballot.
In their lawsuit, they want Carnahan to use ballot language they originally proposed. That language, however, is deceptive. It steals the words of the 1960s civil rights movement and turns them upside down.
On the other hand, affirmative-action supporters argue in their lawsuit that Carnahan’s ballot language fails to specify all of the victims of past discrimination who would be hurt.
This would include those who have been discriminated against on the basis of religion, disability, age or veteran status. That is a legitimate concern.
Supporters of the initiative point to similar measures that were approved in California and Michigan. Yet they are careful to hide the harm those initiatives have done to African-American and Hispanic communities.
Consider: Since California passed Proposition 209 in 1996, the number of black and Hispanic students annually enrolled in the University of California-Berkeley’s law school has never reached the levels it attained under affirmative action programs.
Ellis Cose, in his book Killing Affirmative Action, argues that affirmative action was never meant to carry the weight society has thrown on its shoulders. It was never meant, he argues, to solve the glaring inequities in education, income or health care in American society.
Affirmative action isn’t perfect. But if the goal is a more equitable society, Missourians and the rest of the country are going to need it for years to come.

High Court Set To Take Up Pair Of Age Bias Cases

Workforce Management

As the justices convene October 1 for a new session, one of the employment law matters on the docket provides another opportunity for the bench to wrestle with workplace discrimination—this time age bias—in an era in which mistreatment is more often subtle than blatant. By Mark Schoeff Jr.

A controversial ruling on a wage discrimination case during the Supreme Court’s last term caused critics to assert that the majority ignored workplace realities.

As the justices convene October 1 for a new session, one of the employment law matters on the docket provides another opportunity for the bench to wrestle with workplace discrimination—this time age bias—in an era in which mistreatment is more often subtle than blatant.
In Sprint/United Management Co. v. Ellen Mendelsohn, the plaintiff alleges she was fired in a downsizing process prejudicial to older workers.
Mendelsohn lost her job in 2002 when the company laid off 15,000 employees. She was 51 and worked for Sprint/United since 1989. To support her claim, Mendelsohn wanted to call to the stand colleagues who believed age was the cause of their dismissal.
Such a move is typical, says William Deveney, a partner at Elarbee Thompson in Atlanta. "It allows an emotional argument to be made to the jury," he says. "That issue arises in just about every reduction-in-force case."
But the trial court didn’t allow the other employees to testify because they had a different supervisor. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver, overturned the jury’s decision in favor of the employer.
The testimony of Mendelsohn’s colleagues may have been the best way to show that the layoffs unfairly targeted older employees, says Joseph Sellers, a lawyer with Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll in Washington.
"Direct evidence of discrimination is increasingly rare," Sellers says. "Most often, evidence of discrimination comes from circumstantial evidence. It’s hard to claim that the experience of other workers who were subject to the same [layoff] policy is irrelevant."
Charles Craver, professor of law at George Washington University, says the Sprint case will be a difficult one for the court.

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