Friday, January 30, 2009


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Trucking Company Refused Class of Women Driver and Dockworker Jobs, Federal Agency Charged
January 22, 2009

CLEVELAND – An interstate trucking firm has agreed to pay $2.43 million and provide other remedial relief to a class of women to settle a major sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged in the litigation that Pitt Ohio Express Inc. denied a class of qualified female applicants employment as truck drivers or dockworkers since 1997, while men were placed in these positions during the same period.
The comprehensive relief obtained by the EEOC includes $2.43 million for the class of women denied employment. Non-monetary relief includes offers of employment to women who should have been previously hired as drivers and dock workers and equal employment opportunity training to all supervisors and managers, as well as reporting and monitoring provisions.
“We are pleased that this settlement will provide appropriate relief for the people who have been harmed,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “We are likewise glad that this employer is taking proactive measures to ensure a discrimination-free workplace in the future by addressing the problems that led to the lawsuit.”
The consent decree settling the suit was approved by the court following a fairness hearing held this morning.
According to company information, Pitt-Ohio Express Inc. is a regional carrier specializing in short-haul transporting, providing direct service to over seven states in the northeastern United States. The company is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has terminals in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and retaliation. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Law Reinstates EEOC Position on Timeliness of Filing Wage Bias Charges
January 29, 2009

WASHINGTON – Hailing a victory for working women and all victims of pay discrimination, Stuart J. Ishimaru, the newly designated Acting Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today congratulates Congress and President Obama on the final passage and enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. The Act reinstates the EEOC’s longstanding position on the timeliness of filing pay discrimination charges, a position that had been overturned by the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc.
The EEOC receives upward of 5,000 wage bias charge filings nationwide each year under all the statutes it enforces. The bill, signed into law today by President Obama, extends the time frame for employees to file pay discrimination cases based on the most recent allegedly discriminatory paycheck or other pay-related action, such as a decision setting a raise amount. The measure (S.181) was passed by the Senate on January 22 and approved by the House of Representatives on January 27.
“The Commission celebrates this important piece of civil rights legislation, especially because it was the first bill signed into law by President Obama,” said Chairman Ishimaru. “The Act is a victory for working women and all workers across the country who are shortchanged by receiving unequal pay for performing equal work. The EEOC intends to enhance enforcement in this area, in addition to increasing public outreach and education.”
The new law overturns the Supreme Court’s May 2007 decision in Ledbetter, in which the Court held that the period for filing an EEOC charge of pay discrimination begins when the pay-setting decision is made and that charges under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act challenging discriminatory pay, therefore, ordinarily must be filed within 180 days of the allegedly discriminatory pay decision.
The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act states that the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision is “contrary to the intent of Congress” because it “significantly impairs statutory protections against discrimination in compensation that Congress established and that have been bedrock principles of American law for decades.” The Act states that with respect to pay discrimination, an unlawful employment practice occurs “each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from [a pay] decision or other practice.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

GOP elects first black national party chairman
Jan 30 05:26 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Michael Steele was elected Republican National Committee chairman on Friday, defeating the incumbent party chief and three other challengers over six rounds of voting to become the first black to lead the GOP.
The former Maryland lieutenant governor takes over a beleaguered GOP as Republicans seek to rebound from back-to-back defeats in national elections that gave Democrats control of Congress and the White House.
"As a little boy growing up in this town, this is awesome," said Steele, the most moderate candidate in the field and considered an outsider because he's not a committee member.
In a brief acceptance speech, the new GOP chairman struck a tone of inclusiveness.
"We're going to say to friend and foe alike: We want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us, and for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over," Steele said.
He won 91 votes out of a possible 168 in the sixth round. A simple majority of 85 was needed, but it took six rounds for Steele to win.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama signs fair pay legislation

January 29, 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama signed a new pay-equity measure into law Thursday, effectively overturning a 2007 Supreme Court decision that made it harder to sue for pay discrimination.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, named for a former Goodyear Tire employee who sued the company for gender discrimination in 1998, is the first bill signed by Obama.
"It is fitting that with the very first bill I sign ... we are upholding one of this nation's first principles: that we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness," Obama said at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
"If we stay focused, as Lilly did, and keep standing for what's right, as Lilly did, we will close that pay gap and ensure that our daughters have the same rights, the same chances, and the same freedom to pursue their dreams as our sons."
The new law removes a provision requiring employees seeking equal pay to file a complaint within 180 days of receiving their first unfair paycheck.
Under the measure, employees instead have the right to file within 180 days of their most recent paycheck.
Supporters of the Ledbetter Act have argued that, under the old standard, an employer merely needed to hide unfair pay practices for three months before being able to continue them without penalty forever.
Lilly Ledbetter was awarded $360,000 in back pay by a federal judge in Alabama, but the verdict was overturned in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in May 2007.
The court said that even though she filed her complaint within 180 days of when she first learned that she was getting paid less than comparable male employees, she had failed to file within 180 days of the first unequal paycheck.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Ledbetter Act proved to be a significant point of contention between Obama and Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. Obama heavily emphasized what he called the plan's benefits to working women, while McCain criticized it as a boon for trial lawyers.
Obama later danced with Ledbetter at one of his inaugural balls. She also spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
"My case is over. I will never receive the pay I deserve," Ledbetter said in that speech. "But there will be a far richer reward if we secure fair pay for our children and grandchildren, so that no one will ever again experience the discrimination that I did."
All AboutLilly LedbetterBarack Obama

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Register Now for the 35th Annual AAAA Conference


Registration for the 35th Annual AAAA Conference, "Winning The Fight For Equity, Opportunity and Inclusion" is currently underway! We are excited about the myriad of plenary sessions and nationally recognized keynote speakers. Workshop presenters have been carefully selected to ensure diverse, cutting edge information for attendees who represent every imaginable entity in employment, government, education and the private sector. As a member driven association, the primary focus of our conference and training experiences is to provide attendees with valuable tools to use on the next assignment, case or review. Events will be held at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort in Lincolnshire, Illinois. This renowned golf resort of suburban Chicago caters to every need, from well-appointed guest accommodations to abundant recreation, fine restaurants, and a picture perfect setting! The AAAA discounted rate is $119/nightly and reservations must be made on or before March 2, 2009. Secure your special rate today by calling 1-866-596-7891 and mention the following discount code: APDAPDA.
For detailed information regarding the conference and registration, visit the following link: The fee structure for AAAA Member and Non-member conference registration is below. Remember, one of our membership benefits is discounted conference registration; therefore, you must have a $0 membership balance in order to take advantage of this benefit. If you have not renewed and paid the balances owed on your membership prior to registration you will be required to pay the Non-Member fees. Early Bird(Until February 6, 2009) Advanced(Until March 4, 2009) Late(Until March 26, 2009) On-Site $700 Members $750 Members $800 Members $850 Members $825 Non-Members $875 Non-Members $925 Non-Members $975 Non-Members
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the national office toll-free at 800-252-8952.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago,

Carmen Suarez
2009 Conference Co-Chair

Deborah Burris
2009 Conference Co-Chair

U. of Iowa Staff Member Sues Law School for Discrimination

The Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
January 22, 2009

A staff member in the law-school writing center at the University of Iowa has sued the school and its dean, saying she was turned down for teaching positions because of her conservative political views, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.
Teresa Wagner filed the lawsuit against the school and its dean, Carolyn Jones, on Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
In the lawsuit, she states that in 2006 she applied for an advertised job as a full-time writing instructor, and that later she applied for a part-time adjunct position teaching writing. She was rejected for both positions, even though she had collegiate teaching experience and strong academic credentials, the lawsuit says. She argues that affiliations listed on her résumé, including stints with groups like the National Right to Life Committee, did her in with a liberal-leaning faculty.
To bolster her case, the lawsuit dissects the political affiliations of the approximately 50 faculty members who vote on law-school faculty hires; 46 of them are registered as Democrats and only one, hired 20 years ago, is a Republican, the lawsuit states. Ms. Wagner also says that a law-school associate dean suggested that she conceal her affiliation with a conservative law school and later told her not to apply for any more faculty positions.
Steve Parrott, a spokesman for the University of Iowa, says the discrimination claim is “without merit.” —Katherine Mangan

Thursday, January 22, 2009

(Neb.)-Neb. Judge Rejects Affirmative Action Ban Lawsuit

By: Nick Jakusz
Posted at: 01/22/2009 12:39 PM

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -

A Nebraska judge has rejected a lawsuit that challenged the petition that led to a statewide ban on affirmative action. Voters approved the initiative in November. The lawsuit, filed in Lancaster County District Court before the vote, challenged the validity of petition signatures. Opponents said some signatures were gathered using a "pattern of fraud and illegality." But Judge Karen Flowers rejected that argument and decided in favor of the state. If the lawsuit had been successful, it could have invalidated the law. The constitutional amendment prohibits state and local governments from giving preferential treatment to people on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity or national origin. Similar bans have passed in California, Michigan and Washington.

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Senate Turns Back Challenge to Wage Bias Bill

CQ TODAY MIDDAY UPDATE Jan. 22, 2009 – 1:12 p.m.

By a comfortable margin, the Senate on Thursday rejected the first and most comprehensive challenge to a bill aimed at making it easier for victims of wage discrimination to seek redress in court.
The 40-55 vote defeating an amendment by Kay Bailey Hutchison , R-Texas, paves the way for Democrats and the Obama administration to deliver on the first of several labor law changes promised during the 2008 election campaign.
Democrats hope to complete action later Thursday on the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act,” which would allow workers who allege discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, religion, age or disability to sue anytime within 180 days of receiving their last discriminatory paycheck.
“We’re making progress on this bill,” declared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev. “We’re going to finish Ledbetter today, tonight. I hope I do not have to file cloture on this.”
The House passed a broader version of the legislation on Jan. 9; the two will have to be reconciled before a final bill can be sent to President Obama for his expected signature.

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Supreme Court Keeps Title IX Plaintiffs’ Options Open

Inside Higher Ed
January 22, 2009

In recent years, some federal courts — at the urging of lawyers for educational institutions and administrators charged with sex discrimination and other alleged wrongdoing, and to the dismay of advocates for women’s rights — have embraced the notion that students or employees who sue under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 should not also have the ability to sue under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a rare display of unanimity, soundly rejected that view. Overturning a 2007 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the justices ruled 9-0 that the parents of a preschool student could sue a Massachusetts school district for unconstitutional gender discrimination for failing to stop a third grader’s school-bus bullying and abuse of their daughter, even though they had also brought suit under Title IX, the law that forbids sex bias by educational institutions.
The appeals court had rejected the plaintiffs’ Title IX case on the grounds that the school district had undertaken a reasonable response to the alleged peer harassment of the kindergartner. That court went further, declaring that the remedies available to plaintiffs under Title IX were “sufficiently comprehensive” to preclude the use of Section 1983 of the 14th Amendment to pursue the same discrimination claims.
“Congress,” the First Circuit court wrote, summing up the line of reasoning challenged in this case, “saw Title IX as the sole means of vindicating the Constitutional right to be free from gender discrimination perpetrated by educational institutions.” In other words, Title IX alone should be used to prevent sex discrimination in schools and colleges.
Numerous civil rights and other groups, including the American Association of University Professors and the American Association of University Women, filed amicus groups challenging the First Circuit’s ruling and asking the Supreme Court to overturn it.
In its ruling in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee on Wednesday, the Supreme Court took issue with the lower court’s analysis, citing significant differences between both the protections and the remedies guaranteed, respectively, by Title IX and Section 1983 of the Constitution. While Title IX gives individuals the right to sue institutions and programs, it does not grant the right to sue individual officials of those schools and colleges; similarly, it exempts “military service schools and traditionally single-sex public colleges from all of its provisions,” the court notes. In addition, Title IX allows plaintiffs to receive compensatory damages, but does not provide a mechanism for punitive damages, as the Equal Protection Clause allows.
“Because the protections guaranteed by the two sources of law diverge in this way, we cannot agree with the Court of Appeals that ‘Congress saw Title IX as the sole means of vindicating the constitutional right to be free from gender discrimination perpetrated by educational institutions,’ ” the court wrote. “We conclude that Title IX was not meant to be an exclusive mechanism for addressing gender discrimination in schools, or a substitute for �1983 suits as a means of enforcing constitutional rights.”

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Commentary: King paved the way for Obama
January 15, 2009
By Clarence B. Jones
Special to CNN

Clarence B. Jones, author of "What Would Martin Say?" is Scholar in Residence at the Stanford University Martin Luther King Jr. Research & Education Institute. He was a lawyer and speechwriter for Dr. King.

Next week, the day after our national holiday commemorating the 80th birthday of Dr. King, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, the first African-American elected as president.
Obama's election would not have been possible without the transformative effect of Dr. King's struggle, leadership and legacy in dismantling segregation and institutional racism in the United States.
America owes a great debt to Dr. King. Prior to him, our nation was like a dysfunctional drug addict or alcoholic, hooked and addicted to segregation and institutional racism.
His "tough love" of nonviolent direct action civil disobedience forced America to confront its conscience and the immorality of racial injustice.
Dr. King enabled our country to embark on an extraordinary journey of recovery to reclaim its soul. He enabled us to reactivate those precepts enshrined in our Declaration of Independence: "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."
In twelve years and four months, from 1956 to April 4, 1968 -- except for President Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation -- Martin Luther King Jr. may have done more to achieve racial, social and political justice and equality in America than any other person in our country's history.
Dr. King had confidence in the democratic future of America. He believed that we, as a people, would be able to "transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."
I met Martin Luther King, Jr. for the first time 49 years ago when he visited my home in California to enlist my assistance in the defense of a criminal tax indictment against him by the state of Alabama.
Only six months earlier, I had graduated from Boston University Law School. I worked for him as a law clerk, political organizer, personal lawyer and, at his request, I drafted speeches for Dr. King until his death on April 4, 1968.
He was an ordained Christian minister before he was a civil rights leader. His religious faith and abiding belief in God were the fuel that ignited the engine of his moral leadership. President-elect Obama's religion and belief in God appear central to his political leadership.
During the 40 years following Dr, King's assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, the most recurring question asked of me has been: "Who today, what black leader, if anyone, is most like Dr. King?" I would consistently answer that Dr. King was sui generis, one of a kind And, then ask rhetorically: "Who today is most like Michelangelo, Mozart, Galileo, Copernicus, Aristotle, Beethoven or Shakespeare?"
Since Obama's election, I have been asked:
• Is Barack Obama another Martin Luther King Jr?
• What would Dr. King say about the election of Obama?
• Does the election of Obama, as the first African-American president of the United States, mean that Dr. King's dream has been fulfilled?
• Does Obama's election indicate that racism for all practical purposes no longer exists in America?
• Will Obama's election have any impact on the number of African-American men incarcerated or the high percentage of out-of-wedlock births within the African-American community?
There are no easy answers to these questions, but it is clear that those of us in the civil rights movement of the 1960s never anticipated the event we will witness Tuesday.

Full commentary:

Commentary: Race is still an issue for America
updated 9:36 a.m. EST, Wed January 14, 2009
By Susan Glisson
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Susan Glisson is director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, based at the University of Mississippi. It helps communities cope with racial issues and promotes research on race. Glisson is co-author of "First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights in America."

(CNN) -- As the inauguration of the first African American president approaches, the national news is full of race-related stories.
Rioters have been arrested in Oakland, California, in protest of an police officer allegedly killing an unarmed black man; the Centers for Disease Control report that Mississippi has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country, predominantly among black and Hispanic teens; and the journal Science reports that "many people unconsciously harbor racist attitudes."
Combine these issues with continuing demonstrated disparities in health care, education, housing and criminal justice, and it would be productive to admit the obvious: the election of Barack Obama did not end the America's problems with race.
It is important to note what has changed, due largely to the successes of the black struggle for freedom, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. Because of these hard-won gains, the narrative that "if you work hard, you can be anything you want to be, no matter how many obstacles racism and poverty might place in your way," is now more appropriate than ever before.
A new generation of young people, for many of whom legal segregation is an almost unbelievable part of history, reached across racial and ethnic lines to help elect a president and even now work to engage in substantive community service wherever they live. A road trip 44 years in the making
Challenges, however, remain.
The U.S. Census notes that the United States will no longer have a white majority by 2050. Social Security payments for an aging white population will have to be paid by an increasingly brown and black work force, which may resent such support.
Clashes over immigration and tensions between blacks and Latinos suggest that we have much work to do to fulfill the vision of "a more perfect union."
While news media and the Internet often sensitize us to these issues, it can also often overwhelm us. It is important, therefore, to understand not only the potential obstacles we may face but also how we might respond to them.
Sherrilyn Ifill offers the most useful characterization of successful solutions in race relations in her book "On the Courthouse Lawn." Ifill argues that conversations on race are often stymied because they attempt to include the whole of racial history in one conversation.
Thus we try to discuss the Middle Passage, Jim Crow segregation, and Don Imus' comments simultaneously and therefore end up solving nothing. The most productive conversations -- and the ones that occur the least, Ifill suggests -- are local ones.

Full commentary:


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
News Release
January 14, 2009
Low Participation at Higher Levels; Lack of Retention

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a comprehensive report to Chair Naomi C. Earp from the Federal Hispanic Work Group. The report contains an extensive number of practical recommendations that address a broad array of contemporary federal sector employment issues, including hiring, leadership development and retention. The full report, entitled Report on the Hispanic Employment Challenge in the Federal Government, is available on the agency’s web site at
“I’ve identified a significant number of short- and long-term recommendations in the report for achievement, and I’ve asked that the Office of Federal Operations take the lead in our implementation efforts,” EEOC Chair Earp said. “These actions are long overdue and will help agencies remove barriers and create greater opportunities for Hispanic applicants and employees throughout the federal government.”
Among the key recommendations formulated by the Hispanic Work Group selected for implementation are the following:
Include EEO/diversity requirements in all hiring officials’ critical performance elements;
Establish a consortium of federal agencies whose mission-critical occupations include science, technology, engineering and mathematics to coordinate recruitment efforts;
Develop a Hispanic Media Outreach Strategy and branding tool to assist agencies in marketing various types of federal employment;
Better utilize intern programs;
Create a government-wide mentoring program; and
Create full-time Hispanic Employment Program Manager positions to address Hispanic employment initiatives and programs.
The Work Group was initially formed by Chair Earp, in partnership with Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, on May 21, 2008. The Work Group was charged with formulating recommendations to enhance and refocus federal Hispanic employment plans, remove barriers and level the playing field to encourage greater opportunities for Hispanic applicants and employees in the federal sector.
The EEOC monitors federal agency compliance with equal employment opportunity laws and procedures. Further information about the Commission’s work with federal agencies and employees is available on the agency’s main web site at

American Association for Affirmative Action Issues “Legislative Wish List” for 111th Congress

For Immediate Release
January 15, 2009

Contact: Shirley J. Wilcher
202-349- 9855

American Association for Affirmative Action
Issues “Legislative Wish List” for 111th Congress

Washington, DC. (January 15, 2009) – The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), a non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of affirmative action as an instrument to fulfill the nation’s promise of equal opportunity for all under-represented groups announced its Legislative “Wish List” for the 111th Congress beginning January 2009. “AAAA believes that the legislation that we support has strong bipartisan support,” said ReNee S. Dunman, president of AAAA. “More importantly, these bills will promote equal employment opportunity – a fundamental policy that ensures access to all in the nation’s workplaces. In our view, equal employment opportunity is not only morally correct; it is in the nation’s interest as we seek to compete in a global economy,” she added. In addition to supporting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, AAAA supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which will prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. AAAA also seeks a return to the 2001 funding and staffing levels for three agencies responsible for enforcing equal employment opportunity laws, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Office of the (DOL) Solicitor’s civil rights staff.

The AAAA Legislative Agenda follows:

End Compensation Discrimination and Promote Equal Pay – Enact the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (H.R. 11) and the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12)

In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire &Rubber Company, the Supreme Court reversed a well-established legal standard and severely weakened protection for pay discrimination critical for women in the workplace. In an effort to overturn the Supreme Court ruling and to help ensure that individuals subjected to unlawful pay discrimination are able to effectively assert their rights under the federal antidiscrimination laws, last year the House passed the Fair Pay Restoration Act in the 110th Congress. However, the Senate narrowly failed to invoke cloture.

With a new administration that has indicated support for the bill, we urge Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would allow employees to pursue compensatory and punitive damages in pay lawsuits, prohibit retaliation for inquiries concerning pay and codify the government’s authority to collect and disseminate information on compensation, including the Department of Labor’s (OFCCP) equal opportunity survey.

End discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity

AAAA believes that every worker should be judged solely on his or her merits. Yet in most states, it remains legal to reject or fire a worker simply because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would prohibit such discrimination in most workplaces, while carefully addressing the needs of small businesses, religious institutions, and other employers with a legitimate need for flexibility. ENDA has enjoyed strong support from Congress as well as from the general public, and its enactment is long overdue.

Pass the Civil Rights Act of 2009

The Civil Rights Act of 2009 is a comprehensive bill to reverse Supreme Court decisions that have undermined existing civil rights laws. Among its most notable and far-reaching provisions, the Civil Rights Act corrects the Supreme Court’s 2001 Alexander v. Sandoval decision by establishing a private right of action against entities receiving federal funding based on evidence of disparate impact. The bill also strengthens gender and age discrimination protections, improves remedies for victims of discrimination, prevents employers from forcing workers to bring workplace claims to arbitration instead of the courts, and addresses workplace exploitation of undocumented workers.

Fully Fund the Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

It is not enough to enact civil rights laws to promote equal employment opportunity. There must also be sufficient Federal agency staff to ensure compliance with these laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and civil rights staff at the Office of the Solicitor exemplify the devastating impact that the budget cuts taken during the last eight years have had. At the EEOC, the agency suffered a reduction in Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) from 2,704 staff in 2001 to 2,157 FTE in FY 2007. (There is an estimated increase to 2,389 in FY 2008). At the OFCCP, the reductions have been even more drastic: In 2001, OFCCP had 776 FTE; in 2007, the program had only 585 FTE. The OFCCP, the agency responsible for enforcing EEO standards at federal contractor facilities covering nearly one-quarter of the civilian labor force, has therefore lost nearly one-fourth of its staff since 2001. The Office of the Solicitor of Labor, which abolished its civil rights division three years ago, has only approximately two managers and four lawyers left to enforce the laws when federal contractors fail to comply. AAAA recommends that the EEOC, OFCCP and SOL civil rights staff be restored to the 2001 levels.

For further information, please contact Shirley J. Wilcher, Executive Director, AAAA, at 202-349-9855 or email
About the American association for affirmative action

Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmative Action is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. AAAA helps its members to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.

For more information about AAAA, please visit


Rouse Expected to Sail Through Confirmation Hearing for Council of Economic Advisers

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Ronald Roach
Jan 15, 2009, 08:51

Dr. Cecilia Elena Rouse, a Princeton University economist, will bring expertise in labor as it relates specifically to education issues when she joins President-elect Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

Rouse is no stranger to Washington, having worked in the National Economic Council during the Clinton years, and thus isn't expected to draw tough scrutiny when she goes before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs during her confirmation hearing today.

“Her specialty is the link between education and training and job market outcomes. I think she brings some reason and voice to the table about the linkage,” says Dr. William Spriggs, a professor and chair of the economics department at Howard University.

It may be noteworthy that Senate confirmation would make Rouse the first African-American to serve on the council since its creation in 1946. Other high-level nominations of African-Americans by President-elect Barack Obama have been notable because they have largely been in positions where Blacks are breaking new ground. “It’s an important appointment,” Spriggs says of Rouse’s breakthrough.

“By law, (the CEA is) supposed to be informing the President on policy to maintain full employment. That is (its) charge unlike the National Economic Council, which is a creature of the president and answers only to the president,” Spriggs notes.

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Group Tells Public-College Presidents They May Be Personally Liable for Speech Codes

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Thursday, January 15, 2009
A group that advocates free speech on campuses has sent the top officials of 266 public colleges certified letters warning them that they might be sued as individuals if their institutions do not lift certain speech restrictions.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, based in Philadelphia, mailed the letters to college presidents and chancellors in mid-December in an effort to pressure their institutions to alter their speech policies voluntarily. The letters cite several court rulings that the group regards as prohibiting one or more speech policies in place at the colleges, and they argue that the administrators, having been apprised of such developments, will have difficulty claiming legal immunity from liability for their actions.
"When the law is so clearly established with regard to unconstitutional speech codes, claims of immunity from liability on the part of individual administrators will likely fail," the letters say.
The letters cite a 1982 Supreme Court ruling, in the case Harlow v. Fitzgerald, which held that government officials have immunity from personal liability for their actions only "insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known."
In an interview on Wednesday, William Creeley, who signed the letters as the organization's director of legal and public advocacy, said their primary objective "is kind of a practical one, from our standpoint—to put schools on notice in a legally cognizable way."
"This is something we can point to to say, 'You should have known. You were warned,'" he said.
In a later e-mail message, Mr. Creeley said, "We believe that once administrators are made aware of the fact that they may risk personal liability by maintaining unconstitutional speech codes, changes will occur more quickly on public campuses."
Although the group, known as FIRE, does not itself litigate cases, it has assembled a network of like-minded lawyers whom it taps to mount lawsuits against campus speech policies that it views as objectionable. A campaign it calls the Speech Code Litigation Project has already scored court victories in cases involving San Francisco State University, Temple University, and Texas Tech University.
Ada Meloy, general counsel for the American Council on Education—an umbrella organization representing colleges and higher-education associations—said her group's members have been in touch with her about the FIRE mailing. "It certainly sounds like FIRE is putting a lot of incendiary language in a form letter," she said. "I don't think FIRE is a disinterested observer."
Citing a recent FIRE report, the letters say that 77 percent of the 260 public colleges that the group recently surveyed have at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.

Full Story: (Subscription)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

High court to hear case on hiring test bias

Business Insurance
Posted On: Jan. 09, 2009 5:04 PM CST
Judy Greenwald

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether a public entity was justified in refusing to certify the results of two fire department promotional exams on grounds that the tests may have had a disparate impact on African-Americans.
According to the 2006 district court decision in Frank Ricci vs. John DeStefano, it appeared the results of a captain's test given in 2003 by the New Haven, Conn., Fire Department meant no blacks and at most two Hispanics would be eligible for promotion. The results of a lieutenant's test indicated that neither blacks nor Hispanics would be promoted.
After the New Haven Civil Service Board failed to certify the tests' results, 17 white and one Hispanic candidates filed suit, alleging violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among other charges.
The district court granted New Haven's motion for summary judgment, which the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld in June 2008.

House Swiftly Passes Pay Discrimination Bills

Workforce Management
January 9, 2009

Only three days after beginning a new session, the House approved two bills Friday, January 9, that would make it easier for employees to sue for pay discrimination and collect larger damages.
The House votes, mostly along party lines, marked the second time that the bills have passed during the past two years, but they have to be acted on again because they previously did not make it through the Senate.
After an election that increased the Democratic majorities in both chambers and put a Democratic president in the White House, the prospect for the bills becoming law has improved dramatically, so House leaders moved them to the top of the legislative agenda.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (, which was approved 247-171, would restart the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit with each paycheck diminished by discrimination. The Paycheck Fairness Act (, approved 256-163, would allow employees to pursue unlimited compensatory and punitive damages in pay lawsuits.
The House considered the bills under a rule that prevented amendments and then sent them as one package to the Senate. But it doesn’t look like the Senate will take the same approach as the House.
Within the next two weeks, the Senate intends to bring up only the Ledbetter bill, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
“We’re going to do just that narrow issue,” Reid said at a press conference Wednesday.
Critics say the bills would significantly change civil rights law and foster costly lawsuits at a time when businesses are struggling to survive the recession.
The measures were put on a fast track by House Democratic leaders to address what they call pressing economic and social problems for women caused by workplace bias.

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OFCCP Presentation on Accessible Online Application Directive Now Available

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has now made available its presentation on its Accessible Online Application Directive. The presentation was given in a recent webinar on the topic. The purpose of the directive is to ensure equal opportunity for applicants seeking jobs at federal contractor facilities. Such equal opportunities include the use of online applications and any reasonable accommodations needed by individuals with disabilities.

To obtain a copy of the presentation, go to: or go to the OFCCP home page at: and click on the presentation found in the "Most Requested" section.


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Barriers and Misperceptions Persist; Low Participation in Senior Ranks
For Immediate Release
January 9, 2009

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released a comprehensive report prepared by the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Work Group containing findings and a series of practical recommendations for EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp’s consideration. These recommendations address AAPI issues related to federal sector employment, special emphasis programs and the complaints process. The full report, entitled Report to the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is available on the agency’s web site at
“As a former EEO Director, I am aware of the serious concerns of members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community regarding barriers to federal sector employment and advancement,” Chair Earp said. “I encourage agencies to carefully review the recommendations contained in this report as they strive to become a model employer for all Americans, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”
The key recommendations formulated by the AAPI Work Group for the agency’s consideration include the following:
Creating requirements that hold senior leadership accountable for programs that enhance the selection and promotion of qualified AAPI candidates to the highest levels;
Assisting agencies on the in-depth review of workforce data for anomalies or triggers and the effective identification of barriers relating to the AAPI community;
Encouraging agencies to enlist their affinity groups to become liaisons between employees and management;
Providing internal and external assistance to AAPI employees and affinity groups seeking to engage with an agency’s EEO Office;
Re-invigorating the government-wide SES Candidate Development Program, with an emphasis on greater diversity among its participants;
Providing skill development opportunities to AAPI employees to increase their competitiveness for professional progress within the agency; and
Promulgating an Executive Order that addresses issues of discrimination against AAPI employees in the federal sector and that supports programs to encourage professional advancement.
The AAPI Work Group was formed by Chair Earp on October 11, 2007. The Work Group was diverse and was comprised of persons at various levels from a cross section of federal agencies. This was the first of such work groups organized to address issues that directly affect the AAPI community.
The EEOC monitors federal agency compliance with equal employment opportunity laws and procedures. Further information about the Commission’s work with federal agencies and employees is available on the agency’s main web site at

Study: Race-blind Admissions Could Constrain Minority College Enrollment

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
By Michelle J. Nealy
Jan 13, 2009, 06:27

Summary:Instituting race-blind admissions policies at all of the nation’s college and universities could “severely limit the level of minority enrollment at top-tier colleges,” according to a recent report. Story:
Instituting race-blind admissions policies at all of the nation’s college and universities could “severely limit the level of minority enrollment at top-tier colleges,” according to a recent report.

Researchers at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University found that a universal ban on affirmative action in college admissions could reduce the number of minorities at the nation’s best colleges and universities by as much as 35 percent.

In a new report, “Diversity and Affirmative Action in Higher Education,” Drs. Holger Sieg and Dennis Epple, both professors of economics at Carnegie Mellon, and Dr. Richard Romano, a professor of economics at the University of Florida, contend that race-based admissions policies increase minority students’ access to high-quality colleges.

The authors also contend that a ban on affirmative action wouldn’t remove the consideration of race, but simply replace it with other ways to help achieve racial parity. “If a ban is enacted, universities will give more aid to students that have characteristics that are correlated with race,” says Sieg.

Instead of race, colleges interested in diversity will give preference to students with high or moderately high incomes who also have low scores on standardized tests. These students, the researchers say, are more likely to be minorities.

The positive effects of affirmative action programs in higher education are clear in the study. In 1976, minority undergraduate students composed just 17 percent of the student population. By 2004, more than 30 percent of undergraduate students were underrepresented minorities, the report notes.

To measure the impact of a potential affirmative action ban in higher education, researchers devised a mathematical model built on admissions and tuition policy data collected from the U.S. Census, Peterson’s survey of colleges and universities, the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Education Statistics.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

U.S. Chamber Lawsuit Challenges Massive Extension of E-Verify Program to Federal Contractors

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Contact: Sheldon Gilbert(202) 463-5685 / 888-249-NEWS
December 23, 2008

Executive Order is being used to circumvent Congress, Chamber says

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today challenged the legality of requiring federal contractors and sub-contractors to use the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) E-Verify system. Joining the U.S. Chamber as co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Society for Human Resources Management, the American Council on International Personnel, and the HR Policy Association. “This massive expansion of E-Verify is not only bad policy, it’s unlawful,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the Chamber’s public policy law firm. “The Administration can’t use an Executive Order to circumvent federal immigration and procurement laws. Federal law explicitly prohibits the secretary of Homeland Security from making E-Verify mandatory or from using it to re-authorize the existing workforce.” The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, is Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Chertoff, et al. E-Verify allows employers to voluntarily verify the work authorization of new employees. The Chamber’s lawsuit challenges the government’s use of an Executive Order coupled with federal procurement law to make E-Verify mandatory for federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 and for sub-contractors with projects exceeding $3,000. The Chamber also challenged expanding E-Verify to require the re-authorization of existing workers. “The DHS intends to expand E-Verify on an unprecedented scale in a very short timeframe, and to impose liability on government contractors who are unable to comply,” said Randy Johnson, vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber. “Given the current economy, now is not the time to add more bureaucracy and billions of dollars in compliance costs to America’s businesses.”NCLC is the public policy law firm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that advocates fair treatment of business in the courts and before regulatory agencies.The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.# # #

The 10% Fight Is Back

Inside Higher Ed
January 12, 2009

Location. Location. Location.
That’s the theory in real estate, and new research suggests that the same theory may apply to graduation rates, too. Attend a more selective institution and you are more likely to graduate. That may not seem shocking, if you assume that better students attend more competitive institutions. But the new study focuses on the impact of the “10 percent” admissions system in Texas and was done in a way that challenges the theory of “minority mismatch,” in which some critics of affirmative action say that graduation rates for minority students would be better if they attended institutions they could enroll at without any special admissions system in place.
The key finding is that minority students in Texas are significantly more likely to graduate if they enroll at a competitive institution through the 10 percent plan than if they enroll at a less competitive, and theoretically easier, institution. In fact the only minority students who don’t appear to benefit from 10 percent are those who are below the top decile of their high school classes and who might have previously won admission to a highly competitive institution, but now frequently lose their spots and end up at other institutions. These students see a decline in graduation rates.
The percent plan idea originated as a law in Texas to respond to court rulings against affirmative action, but has been used elsewhere with different cutoffs. In Texas, those in the top 10 percent of their high school classes are assured admission to the public university of their choice — regardless of standardized test scores.
The idea behind the percentage plans is that black and Latino students, on average, don’t do as well on standardized tests as do white and Asian students. In addition, Texas is a state with many high schools that are overwhelmingly Latino or overwhelmingly black. Since every high school has a top 10 percent, eliminating the testing requirement meant that these largely minority high schools were going to end up producing good numbers of Latino and black students who would be admitted — without consideration of race in ways that might offend courts or critics of affirmative action — to such competitive institutions as the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M at College Station.
In many respects, the plan has been a major success in Texas, helping the flagship institutions to admit more minority students than they would have been able to otherwise — at least while the state was under a court order not to use affirmative action. But ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that public colleges could consider race in admissions, University of Texas officials have been pushing to get rid of 10 percent and to instead rely on other admissions strategies (including affirmative action). In the 2007 legislative session, the university was expected to win its fight, but at the last minute, the 10 percent system survived.

Full Story:

National affirmative action debate spurs on

District Chronicles
By: Jessica Bassett/Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American
Posted: 1/11/09ST. LOUIS (NNPA) -

On Nov. 4, amid all the excitement surrounding Barack Obama's election, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit struck down a Pentagon Program that included five-percent set-aside contracting for minority-owned companies.The impact of the decision is unclear, but on that same day, Nebraska voters supported an anti-affirmative action initiative by a margin of 58 to 42 percent. They thus joined voters in California, Washington and Michigan, who banned affirmative action programs in previous years.Obama's historic achievement is being seen by some as proof that affirmative action programs are no longer needed."It would be a big mistake for people to look into the White House, see a beautiful family there and then say the struggle is over," said George Curry, a journalist and affirmative action expert. "The proof that we don't need affirmative action is when major corporations and higher institutions represent our composition in society."Curry, author of "The Affirmative Action Debate," said one problem with affirmative action is that most people fail to accurately define it."Affirmative action has never been just for Black people," Curry said. "White women have benefited more from affirmative action than any minority group."By definition, affirmative action (a term coined in the 1960s) was developed to ensure that applicants were treated equally without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.It proved controversial, as many White males hollered reverse discrimination by claiming that they were losing government jobs to less-qualified women and racial minorities.The Supreme Court ruled 30 years ago that universities could use race as one factor in choosing applicants but could not set quotas. Subsequent court rulings and state referendums placed more restrictions on affirmative action.In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, which barred government institutions from using preferential treatment based on race or gender in employment, education and contracting.The law had significant effects on higher education, with UC Berkeley seeing a 61 percent drop in admissions of African Americans, Latinos and Native American students. UCLA had a 36 percent decline.Opponents of affirmative action argue that Obama's election eliminates the need for special programs for Blacks, while states like Missouri struggle to keep their affirmative action programs afloat.President-elect Obama has called traditional affirmative action "absolutely necessary."

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DeLauro: It's Time to Close the Wage Gap

Run Date: 01/12/09
By Allison Stevens
Washington Bureau Chief

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a strong fair-pay advocate, says 2009 will bring advancements for women's wages. First part of a series on members of Congress who are advancing issues raised in the WeNews' Memo series.

WASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)--Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the Connecticut Democrat, says now is the time to put the squeeze on the wage gap.
Congress appears to agree.
The House passed on Friday two bills to bolster women's economic security: one is designed to reverse a 2007 Supreme Court decision that made it more difficult for women to sue for wage bias and the other strengthens existing pay equity laws.
The Senate could consider the bills as early as this week, ready to be placed on President Barack Obama's desk for signature immediately after he takes office.
"I'm very, very optimistic that with a new administration, in a new environment, with President-elect Obama using and talking about this as a major portion of his campaign, that . . . it can be one of the first pieces of new legislation that this president signs," DeLauro said in a recent interview.
More than four decades after Congress passed a law making it illegal for employers to pay women less than men who do the same job, women still earn less.
In 2007 women made 78 cents for every dollar a man earned, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, a think tank in Washington, D.C. The overall wage gap among all workers is significantly more when low-paying, female-dominant job sectors are factored in, according to the institute.
Different occupations, education levels, job tenure, work hours and other factors associated with pay don't explain away pay differences, according to a 2005 study by the American Association of University Women, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
Advocating for Equal Rights
A staunch advocate for women's rights, DeLauro spoke about the subject on a panel discussion sponsored by Women's eNews at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last August and at a session sponsored by Lifetime Television Networks.
She revisited the issue in a recent interview with Women's eNews.
Tougher pay equity laws, DeLauro said, are needed now more than ever because women bear the brunt of economic downturns.

Full Story:

Big Hopes Pinned on Obama at National Association of Scholars' Meeting

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Peter Schmidt
Monday, January 12, 2009

As if President-elect Barack Obama did not have enough on his plate already, speakers at the National Association of Scholars' annual conference expressed hope on Friday that his election would result in big changes on college campuses in terms of race relations and students' freedom of speech.
The speakers expressed such wishes for the new administration during a panel discussion titled "The Changing Political Landscape of Higher Education." Considering who the speakers were, it seemed possible to feel at least a little shifting along old fault lines already, at least within the Washington Marriott meeting room here where the discussion was held.
Hailing Mr. Obama's election as "a racial conversation changer" on campuses was Abigail N. Thernstrom, a Manhattan Institute scholar, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and prominent critic of colleges' affirmative-action policies.
She argued that campuses were "the last place in America" to reflect the thawing of race relations—and the willingness of whites to treat blacks as equals—that she sees Mr. Obama's election as symbolizing. And she predicted that Mr. Obama's inauguration would lead to "less bitterness and estrangement on the part of blacks" at colleges, with the waning of racially themed dormitories, black-studies programs, and self-segregation on campuses.
Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—a group that monitors free speech on campuses—said he was disappointed by how little effort the Republican Party had put into fighting efforts to restrict students' speech while it held power here in the capital.

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Federal Lawsuit Accuses College of Not Stopping Harassment by President

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 11, 2009

Washington — The U.S. Department of Justice sued Luna Community College on Friday, accusing the New Mexico institution of doing little or nothing to stop its president from sexually harassing a subordinate employee in 2005 and early 2006.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, seeks unspecified damages on behalf of Charlene Ortiz-Cordova, who at the time of the alleged harassment was academic director. The suit was filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which among other things prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex.
According to the Justice Department, Ms. Ortiz-Cordova was subjected to unwanted sexual contact, gestures, and comments by the college’s president at the time, Leroy Sanchez, in a manner that created a hostile work environment.
She complained repeatedly about the unwanted attention to her immediate supervisors, the lawsuit says, but only after a year had passed did one of them alert the college’s human-resources department of Ms. Ortiz-Cordova’s complaints. Mr. Sanchez was told to avoid contacting Ms. Ortiz-Cordova, the suit alleges, but he was never disciplined and nothing further was done about the matter.
Ms. Ortiz-Cordova left her job in 2006 and filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigated and verified the allegations. It referred the case to the Justice Department after attempts at a “voluntary resolution” with Luna failed.

Full story: (subscription)

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Chief Justice on the Spot

The New York Times
Published: January 8, 2009

A CASE sitting quietly in the Supreme Court’s in-basket promises to tell us more than almost any other about John G. Roberts Jr. and his evolution from spear carrier in the Reagan revolution to chief justice of the United States — and in the process set the direction of the debate over race and politics for years to come.
The question is whether Congress acted within its constitutional authority two years ago when it extended a central provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for 25 years. An appeal challenging the act’s reauthorized Section 5, a provision that requires certain states and localities to receive federal permission before making any change in election procedures, awaits the justices when they return today from a holiday recess.
On the surface, this case appears an unlikely judicial bellwether. Extending the life of the “preclearance” provision, considered one of the civil rights movement’s crowning legislative accomplishments, is hardly novel. This was the fourth extension, in fact, and the second for a 25-year duration; the Supreme Court, which upheld the original Voting Rights Act in 1966, approved an earlier extension of Section 5 in 1980.
Nor does the issue appear fueled by the partisanship or ideological divisions that the current Supreme Court so often mirrors. The latest extension passed the Republican-controlled Congress overwhelmingly in 2006. President Bush promptly signed it into law, and a special panel of three federal judges upheld it last May.
Given all that, what about this case makes it a potentially defining moment for Chief Justice Roberts?
To answer that question requires seeing the appeal, Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Mukasey, for the politically charged case it really is. The seeming unanimity that greeted the extension of Section 5 in 2006 was a facade, masking deep divisions over whether to continue requiring all or parts of 16 states, most in the South, to receive Justice Department or federal court permission before moving a polling place or changing a registration deadline. Was a measure approved 40 years ago as a remedy for the suppression of minority votes still appropriate?
Many Republicans, most notably some Southern senators, thought not. But they allowed the extension to pass on the assumption that the Supreme Court would eventually answer the question, relieving them of the political cost of dismantling an iconic statute. Days after the extension became law, the anticipated legal challenge was filed by a well-connected Texas Republican lawyer representing what is surely one of the most obscure jurisdictions to be covered by Section 5, a sewer district that serves 3,500 residents of Travis County, Tex.
The Republicans understood recent trends at the court to be working in their favor, and they may be right. The case serves up to the court a fascinating brew of two of the most freighted issues in constitutional law, race and federalism — or, to put it another way, individual rights and constitutional structure.

Full story:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

OFCCP News Release: "Higher and higher: OFCCP wins record annual number of financial remedies for more American workers than ever before"

ESA News Release: [01/05/2009]
Contact Name: Loren Smith or Dolline Hatchett
Phone Number: (202) 693-4676
Release Number: 08-1868-NAT

24,508 workers receive $67.5 million for discrimination, a 133 percent increase since 2001

WASHINGTON — In fiscal year (FY) 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) won a record $67,510,982 in back pay, salary and benefits for an unprecedented 24,508 American workers who had been subjected to unlawful employment discrimination.
Ninety-nine percent of dollars were collected in cases of systemic discrimination — those involving a significant number of workers or applicants subjected to discrimination because of an unlawful employment practice or policy. The more than $67.5 million reflects a 133 percent increase over financial remedies obtained in FY 2001.
The last eight years of OFCCP enforcement data show a 14 percent increase in the total number of compliance reviews completed versus a similar period in the prior administration. More importantly, OFCCP's more strategic approach resulted in a 92 percent increase in the number of job applicants and employees (113,630) who financially benefited from OFCCP investigations and over $50 million in additional back pay salary and benefits versus the prior administration.
"We are proud of these results which demonstrate our commitment to enforcing the law," said Charles James, deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. "This is our fourth consecutive record-breaking year in the categories of workers helped and amounts recovered. Of all the changes of these eight years, the focus on systemic discrimination is by far the most significant for the mission of the agency."
OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended. These laws prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment based on race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability or covered veteran status.
Effective Initiatives
OFCCP's initiatives of the last several years have made it a more effective and efficient civil rights enforcement agency. Compared with years past, OFCCP now more quickly and accurately screens contractor establishments for indicators of potential discrimination with its Active Case Management (ACM) system. Under ACM, which was fully implemented in each of OFCCP's regions in FY 2005, the agency opens more reviews than it did in the past, and the agency uses automated statistical tools to rank and prioritize establishments for further review based on the probability that discrimination would be uncovered during a full-scale review.
OFCCP is using ACM to identify and resolve cases of systemic discrimination with greater frequency. OFCCP is monitoring a larger portion of the federal contractor universe than it has in the past, and it is prioritizing its resources to address the worst offenders.
Since its inception, OFCCP has generally relied on contractor voluntary self-identification to determine companies over which OFCCP has jurisdiction. In FY 2005, OFCCP implemented the Contracts First project to produce a contractor selection list that is based on evidence of actual contracts. This initiative inserts information about contract awards into the database used for selection and scheduling of reviews at facilities. Additionally, the selection system is enhanced by access to an OFCCP database of facilities where no compliance reviews have been conducted in recent years.
Compliance Assistance Works
OFCCP also has continued to build upon its comprehensive compliance assistance program, conducting about one thousand compliance assistance events in each of the last five years. Compliance assistance outreach helps employers prevent unlawful discrimination in their workplaces by providing them with the information necessary to effectively monitor their workplaces for equal employment opportunity.

To see chart, go to:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

OFCCP Issues FAQs on the new ADA Amendments Act

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued Frequently Asked Questions on the new ADA Amendments Act. According to the OFCCP website, "The ADAAA, Pub. L. 110-325, is intended to overturn a series of Supreme Court decisions that interpreted the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 in a way that made it difficult to prove that an impairment is a "disability." The ADAAA makes significant changes to the ADA's definition of "disability" that broadens the scope of coverage under both the ADA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act." The ADAAA becomes effective on January 1, 2009. According to the agency, the ADAAA is not retroactive and OFCCP will be promulgating regulations under Section 503 after the EEOC issues ADAAA regulations.

The FAQs are found at:

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Asher's Effort To Eradicate Equal Opportunity

ACLU News Release
Proposed Ballot Initiative Is Unconstitutional And Fraudulent

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri filed a lawsuit challenging the latest attempt by a political operative to rewrite Missouri's state Constitution and ban equal opportunity programs in the state.
The lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cole County, charges that an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative proposed by Tim Asher and his Missouri Civil Rights Initiative should not be circulated for signatures because it violates the Missouri Constitution by seeking to trick and defraud Missouri voters in attempting to ban an array of equal opportunity programs.
The Missouri Secretary of State's Office announced last week that it had approved Asher's proposed initiative for circulation.
"This is just the latest attempt to deceive the voters of our state into rolling back important programs that ensure that women and racial and ethnic minorities have fair notice of opportunities and are given an equal chance to compete for them," said Anthony E. Rothert, staff attorney with the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. "Missouri voters weren't fooled by this deception before, and they won't be fooled by this latest effort to perpetrate fraud against them."
Missouri was one of three states – along with Arizona and Oklahoma – in which efforts to qualify anti-equal opportunity initiatives for the ballot during the last election cycle failed. Asher spearheaded that effort in Missouri as well, when he worked as part of a largely unsuccessful national campaign led by millionaire Californian Ward Connerly that targeted a total of five states. Connerly's initiative was defeated by voters in Colorado, and its passage in Nebraska is facing legal challenges that center on whether Connerly's campaign broke the law in order to qualify it for the ballot.
The ACLU lawsuit argues that the initiative confuses voters by forcing them to vote on multiple issues in a single proposition in violation of the Missouri Constitution, and that the initiative's language attempts to intentionally mislead voters into believing it upholds equal opportunity programs while its true purpose is to end them.
The ACLU charges that the proposed changes to the Missouri Constitution would decimate many essential equal opportunity programs, eroding the participation of women and racial and ethnic minorities in public education, state contracting and employment.
"This is an attempt at fraud in its lowest form," said Reginald T. Shuford, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. "What Asher and his cronies don't want people to know is that initiatives such as this one have been used to challenge a whole host of equal opportunity programs including data collection requirements that help the government identify racial, ethnic and gender discrimination."
Attorneys in the case include Rothert of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, cooperating attorney Arlene Zarembka of St. Louis, Shuford and I. India Geronimo of the ACLU Racial Justice Program and Araceli Martinez-Olguin and Lenora Lapidus of the ACLU Women's Rights Project.
A copy of the ACLU lawsuit is available online at:
Additional information about equal opportunity is available online at:
Additional information about the ACLU is available online at:
Additional information about the ACLU of Eastern Missouri is available online at:

Reversing Discrimination

The New York Times
January 7, 2009
Reversing Discrimination

President-elect Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are already signaling a welcome new seriousness in Washington about protecting civil rights after eight years of erosion.
They are planning swift action on legislation to overturn an unjust 2007 Supreme Court decision that has made it much harder for people to challenge illegal discrimination in employment, education, housing and other fields.
The 5-to-4 ruling in 2007 involved Lilly Ledbetter, a supervisor at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company plant in Alabama. She received much smaller raises over several years than men in comparable positions.
Tossing aside longstanding legal precedents, government practice and a jury verdict in Ms. Ledbetter’s favor, the narrow Supreme Court majority decided that she was entitled to nothing. They ruled that Ms. Ledbetter should have filed her claim within 180 days of the very first decision to pay her less. The justices rejected the argument that each subsequent discriminatory paycheck was a new violation of the law.
The impact of the Ledbetter decision has been broad injustice. As Robert Pear reported in The Times on Monday, courts around the country have cited the decision hundreds of times as a reason for rejecting lawsuits claiming discrimination based on race, sex, age and disability, without regard to the underlying merits of the individual cases.
The House is expected to vote this week on a legislative fix that would restore the law’s original intent. The measure would state that a violation occurs each time a person receives a paycheck resulting from “a discriminatory compensation decision.” The Senate is expected to take up the bill soon after. It merits passage, along with a related bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which contains other useful steps for combating gender-based wage discrimination.
Senate Republicans blocked the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act last spring. They should consider now whether hostility to civil rights and pay equity for women is really the image they want to project for their party after the losses it suffered in November.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Obama, Congress Put Working Families at Heart of Economic Plan

Posted By Mike Hall On January 5, 2009 @ 2:37 pm In Economy, Legislation & Politics

President-elect Barack Obama and Congress aren’t wasting any time setting the tone that the nation’s working families are at the center of their efforts to revitalize the economy and rebuild the middle class.
Obama is meeting today and throughout the week with congressional leaders to shape an economic recovery package that focuses on job creation, tax relief for middle-class families, help for the unemployed and aid for states caught in the grip of a tightening fiscal crisis.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives will vote on two bills to ensure equal pay for women and reverse the 2007 U.S. [2] Supreme Court ruling that severely restricted the rights of women to combat pay discrimination through the courts.
In his weekly radio address, Obama said the economic package—The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan—aims to
not only create jobs in the short-term, but spur economic growth and competitiveness in the long term….We must make strategic investments that will serve as a down payment on our long-term economic future. We must demand vigorous oversight and strict accountability for achieving results. And we must restore fiscal responsibility and make the tough choices so that as the economy recovers, the deficit starts to come down. That is how we will achieve the number one goal of my plan—which is to create 3 million new jobs, more than 80 percent of them in the private sector.
Earlier, congressional leaders said they hoped to have a recovery package ready for Obama to sign as soon as he takes office Jan. 20, but Republican leaders are slowing action. Yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said final votes on the recovery legislation could come by early February.
But action on the [2] Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the [3] Paycheck Fairness Act is set for Wednesday. Both bills passed the House in the past session, but Senate Republicans [4] blocked a similar vote in the Senate.
After years of working at an Alabama Goodyear tire plant, Ledbetter discovered she was being paid less than the lowest-paid man doing the same work. She gathered enough evidence to file suit, and a jury awarded her $3.8 million. But Goodyear appealed to the Supreme Court.
However, in May 2007, the Supreme Court squelched the award and ruled Ledbetter—and other workers—has no right to sue for a remedy in cases of pay discrimination where workers wait more than 180 days after their first paycheck, even if they don’t discover the pay discrimination until years later.
The [3] Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), would provide more effective remedies for women who are not paid equal wages for doing equal work, by adding some teeth to the 1963 Equal Pay Act.
Women are paid only [5] 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Women workers covered by a union contract are guaranteed equal pay. But millions of other working women don’t have that protection and must rely on today’s inadequate fair pay laws.
On Friday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will begin confirmation hearings on Rep. [6] Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), Obama’s nominee for secretary of labor. Said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, when Solis’ nomination was announced:
We’re confident that she will return to the Labor Department one of its core missions—to defend workers’ basic rights in our nation’s workplaces.
She’s proven to be a passionate leader and advocate for all working families. In fact, she’s voted with working men and women 97 percent of the time.

Harvard braces for Kagan departure

The Boston Globe
Law School chief could join Obama
By Peter Schworm, Globe Staff January 6, 2009

When Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan was passed over for the presidency of Harvard University nearly two years ago, law students and faculty threw a party in her honor to celebrate her staying on.
But yesterday, after news Kagan had been nominated as the next US solicitor general, the law school was forced to contemplate life without its respected leader.
Faculty members said Kagan helped foster an atmosphere of confidence and good will that will be difficult to replicate, and that despite the long-held rumors that she would be going to Washington, they're coming to grips with the prospect of her departure.
"I think it's going to take a while to sink in," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law school professor whom Kagan recruited from Oxford University. "She made a really hard job look effortless."
Drew Faust, Harvard University president, who will name Kagan's successor, praised Kagan's tenure yesterday.
"I want to take this moment to recognize Elena's extraordinary accomplishments since her appointment as dean in 2003," Faust wrote in an e-mail to the law school community. "Thanks to the efforts she has guided, the faculty is even stronger, the student experience is richer, the curriculum is fresher, and the school continues to enhance its worldwide leadership in legal education and scholarship."
Faust added she would be considering appointments of an acting dean and a full-time replacement. Through a spokesman, Faust declined to comment on potential successors to Kagan.
But the names of several Harvard Law School faculty members, including Martha Minow, David Wilkins, and Howell Jackson, were bandied about in academic circles yesterday. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former Harvard faculty member who is now dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, was also mentioned as a potential candidate....

Kagan, the first female dean at Harvard Law School, would be the first woman to permanently hold the post.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

AAAA Launches 2009 Webinar Series with "ADA Legal Update"

Announcing 2009 Webinar Series
ADA Legal Update
When: January 29, 2009
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

AAAA is now accepting registrations for the first installment of the 2009 Webinar Series scheduled for January 29, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST. This one-hour webinar is entitled "ADA Legal Update." The presenter is Jeanne Goldberg, Senior Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Goldberg assists the Commission in interpreting and applying the statutes it enforces, participates in drafting policy guidance and other publications, and provides technical assistance to stakeholders. Ms. Goldberg has conducted numerous EEO training sessions throughout the country, including the 2008 Annual AAAA conference held in the Washington, DC area.
For a detailed description of the webinar and to register, go to:

For more information, contact 800-252-8592 or email

OFCCP Hosts Webinar on Accessible Online Application Directive


When: Thursday, January 8, 2009
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Please join OFCCP’s Naomi Levin and ODEP’s Randy Cooper as they discuss OFCCP's recent Directive regarding accessibility of contractors' online application systems and technical assistance tools that federal contractors can use in complying with the Directive. Naomi Levin is the Policy Branch Chief with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and one of the authors of EEOC’s original Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. As an individual with disabilities, Randy Cooper is a Senior Policy Advisor with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and a strong advocate and proponent of competitive work opportunities and the civil rights of people with disabilities. In 1984, he received the American Legion George M. Scott Award for public service, achievement, and community involvement. Don't miss this important opportunity to learn more about your legal obligations and how to take advantage of available technical assistance! There is no cost to this webinar.
System RequirementsPC-based attendeesRequired: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
Macintosh®-based attendeesRequired: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer

To Register for the Webinar, go to:


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
December 31, 2008
EEOC Settles Suit for Discrimination Based on Religion and National Origin

NEW YORK – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that Merrill Lynch, the international financial services firm, has agreed to pay $1,550,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act on behalf of an Iranian Muslim former worker who was fired due to his religion and national origin.
The EEOC’s lawsuit, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Case No. 07-CV-6017), alleged that Merrill Lynch refused to promote and terminated Majid Borumand from a position as a quantitative analyst in August 2005 because of his Iranian national origin and Muslim religion. Merrill Lynch instead retained and promoted a less qualified individual, the EEOC asserted in the lawsuit.
“Employers need to be vigilant in guarding against discrimination based on religion or national origin, especially as our nation’s labor force becomes increasingly more diverse,” said EEOC New York District Director Spencer H. Lewis. “All individuals deserve the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field, which did not occur in this case.”
According to the consent decree settling the litigation, in addition to the monetary relief for Borumand, Merrill Lynch will provide training to its employees regarding discrimination based on religion and national origin. In addition, the decree states that Merrill Lynch will not discriminate against employees because of their national origin or religion, and will not retaliate against employees who oppose discrimination. The decree also calls for monitoring by the EEOC to ensure compliance.
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Michael J. O’Brien said, “We are pleased with the resolution of this case, not only in terms of the significant monetary benefits, but also for the injunctive relief which will help foster a discrimination-free workplace.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

California Bill Would Reinstate Affirmative Action at Public Colleges

New America Media
La Prensa-San Diego, Posted: Jan 03, 2009

SAN DIEGO -- Assemblymember Ed Hernandez of West Covina has introduced legislation to amend California's constitution to allow public universities and colleges to consider race in their outreach and retention programs, reports La Prensa San Diego. The bill would reverse Proposition 209, passed in 1996, which amended the state's constitution to eliminate all uses of affirmative action in the state, including higher education. Since then, enrollment in public universities and colleges by black, Latino and Native American students has fallen sharply.

Part-Time Work Is Key to Retaining Female Doctors, Journal Concludes

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 2, 2009

Women will continue to drop out of academic medical careers unless medical schools and teaching hospitals create more part-time and family-friendly work schedules, according to a series of articles in the January issue of Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
At a time when women make up nearly half of new physicians, concern is mounting over what some refer to as a leaking pipeline. Many women are either shying away from academic medicine or dropping out when the demands of juggling families and full-time careers are too great.
But female physicians aren’t the only ones who are opting for jobs today that allow them more time for families and personal interests. Work-life balance has become a primary consideration for a growing number of younger physicians in recent years, and a reason many have been shunning time-intensive careers in primary medicine.
The articles examine how female, part-time doctors and their male, full-time division chiefs view part-time work in academic medicine. They also look at obstacles women face in academic medicine, particularly when working part time.

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