Monday, November 29, 2010

AAAA Online Training Opportunities

AAAA Online Training Opportunities!

Register for These Upcoming Webinars

Recruiting and Retaining Faculty of Color: Strategies, Roadblocks, and Incentives

The eighth installment of the 2010 Webinar Series is scheduled for Thursday, December 9, 2010 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. During this sixty-minute presentation, Dr. Marybeth Gasman, an associate professor of higher education at the University of the Pennsylvania, will discuss research-based strategies for recruiting and retaining faculty of color. Participants -- from search committee chairs to department chairs to deans to provosts to EEO officers -- will learn ways to successfully bolster their faculty diversity in meaningful, sincere ways. For more details and to register, go to:

Documentation Avoids Discrimination

The ninth installment of the 2010 Webinar Series scheduled for Thursday, December 16, 2010 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. During this sixty-minute primer on EEO record-keeping requirements for compliance officers and HR professionals, Jo Bennett, AAAA PDTI Chair, will cover what your organization is required to do, what it's allowed to do, and what it's prohibited from doing. For more details and to register, go to:

The JAN Experience: A Practical View of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA)

During the first installment of the 2011 Webinar Series, Linda Batiste, JD and Beth Loy, PhD of Job Accommodation Network will discuss practical aspects you need to know when implementing the ADAAA in your workplace. Participants will work through JAN's accommodation process in light of the ADAAA, hear JAN consultants discuss situations and solutions, and leave the session with the tools needed to effectively work through workplace challenges.
For more details and to register, go to:

The registration fee covers one license (one computer/telephone number) for unlimited participants. Invite your colleagues and students to join the discussion.

Thank you for your continued support!
Coming in Februry 2011 - AAAA Webinar on GINA!

HIV-positive gay couple’s claim against Naples restaurant part of lawsuit trend
Naples Daily News
Posted November 26, 2010 at 6:42 p.m.

NAPLES — A gay Naples couple has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Ridgway Bar & Grill, alleging they were fired because they were HIV positive.
The litigation by John Timothy Robertson, 29, and his partner, Steven Ray “Forrest” Chaplin, 36, comes as the government is pushing for enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and to educate employers about HIV to reduce its stigma.
On Monday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a $10,000 settlement in a case against Callaro’s Prime Steak & Seafood in Palm Beach County, which tried to force an employee to get an HIV test because her relative was HIV-positive, then changed and reduced her work hours so much she was forced to quit.

Full Story:

US Department of Labor sues Meyer Tool Inc. for systemic discrimination against African-Americans

U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
News Release
OFCCP News Release: [11/23/2010]
Contact Name: Rhonda Burke or Scott Allen
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Release Number: 10-1605-CHI

Complaint seeks remedies for affected machinist applicants

CINCINNATI - The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has filed an administrative complaint against Meyer Tool Inc., a federal contractor that manufactures engine parts for the aerospace industry. The suit alleges that Meyer Tool systematically rejected African-American job applicants who sought entry-level machinist positions at its plant in Cincinnati.
The complaint was filed today with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C., after OFCCP was unable to secure a fair resolution from Meyer Tool during conciliation efforts with the company.
This defendant has a contractual obligation to provide equal employment opportunity," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "The company failed to meet that obligation. So we will enforce the law and hold Meyer Tool accountable to the fair and reasonable standard that it not discriminate against any group of workers.
The company's discriminatory practices and recordkeeping violations were discovered by OFCCP during a scheduled review to determine the company's compliance with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race when making hiring decisions. OFCCP's investigation revealed that Meyer Tool failed to implement an internal audit and reporting system to ensure nondiscriminatory policies were carried out as required by law; retain employment applications for the required two-year period; implement an applicant tracking system to determine selection disparities; and develop action-oriented programs to address the adverse impact against African-Americans in the machinist job group.
The complaint seeks a court order requiring Meyer Tool Inc. to hire at least 14 African-American applicants from the affected class list and to provide them with lost wages and retroactive seniority. Should the company fail to provide such relief and remedy its violations, OFCCP believes Meyer Tool should face cancellation of its existing government contracts and debarment from entering into future ones.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP's legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For more information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at
Solis v. Meyer Tool Inc.Case Number: 2011-OFC-3

EEOC Dramatically Slows Growth of Private Sector Charge Inventory

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Despite Receiving Record Number Of Charges, Backlog Up Less Than One Percent

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that the agency is making progress in rebuilding its capacity to enforce the civil rights laws protecting the nation’s workers. Over the past two years, the EEOC has begun to replenish its depleted ranks and dedicate significant resources to training employees, the largest sustained training effort the agency has conducted in at least a decade.
As a result, the federal agency ended Fiscal Year 2010 with 86,338 pending charges—an increase of only 570 charges, or less than one percent. Between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the EEOC’s pending inventory increased 15.9 percent.
“The EEOC is on the path toward rebuilding and on track to make further progress in the upcoming fiscal year to more efficiently and effectively enforce the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.
The EEOC received a record 99,922 charges in FY 2010, which ended Sept. 30, —the highest number of charges in the agency’s 45-year history. EEOC staff also delivered historic relief for victims of workplace discrimination. The agency secured more than $319 million in monetary benefits for individuals—the highest level of relief obtained through administrative enforcement in the Commission’s history. Among other agency achievements:
The mediation program ended the year with a record 9,370 resolutions, 10 percent more than FY 2009 levels, and more than $142 million in monetary benefits;
The EEOC also expanded its reach to underserved communities by providing educational training, and public outreach events to approximately 250,000 persons;
The agency continued its concerted effort to build a strong national systemic enforcement program. At the end of the fiscal year, 465 systemic investigations, involving more than 2,000 charges, were being undertaken;
The EEOC resolved a total of 7,213 requests for hearings in the Federal Sector, securing more than $63 million in relief for parties who requested hearings. The agency also timely resolved more than 66 percent of Federal Sector appeals.
The EEOC’s FY 2010 annual Performance and Accountability Report is posted on the agency’s web site at Comprehensive enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 2010 will be available in early 2011.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site

National Waste Removal Firm Admits Discrimination, Settles With EEOC For $95,000

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

IESI Concedes It Fired Employee for Dyslexia in Violation of ADA

NEW ORLEANS – IESI LA Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IESI Corpora­tion, a national waste removal firm, will pay $95,000 to settle a disability discrimination suit filed in June 2009 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The court-approved settlement resolves the charge of a former truck driver, Ronald Harper, who worked for IESI at its facility in Shreveport, La. In its suit, the EEOC charged that IESI violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it fired Harper because of his disability, dyslexia, even though Harper was able to perform the essential functions of his job.
According to the EEOC’s suit, on the morning of August 12, 2005, Harper told his new supervisor that he is dyslexic. Approximately four hours later, the supervisor fired Harper, stating that he did not want to take the chance of Harper’s dyslexia causing him to see things “swirly” and have an accident.
After contending for five years that Harper did not have a disability and that he was not fired because of a disability, IESI admitted shortly before the scheduled trial date that Harper does have a disability within the meaning of the ADA, that he was at all relevant times qualified to do his job, and that IESI did dismiss him because of his disability and in violation of federal law. IESI further conceded that the supervisor who fired Harper had failed to engage in the interactive process regarding reasonable accommodation required by federal law. These admissions were filed into the court record.
“It is illegal to fire an employee because of a disability if he can perform the essential functions of his job, and that rule is not limited to physical disabilities,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “Unfounded fears, myths, or stereotypes about disabilities cannot be the basis for any personnel action, and it is critical that employers make sure their supervisory and human resources personnel have a thorough understanding of their obligations under the ADA.”
Under the court-ordered consent decree settling the suit, which was entered November 23, 2010 by Judge Elizabeth Foote (EEOC v. IESI LA Corporation, Case No. 5:09-cv-00980 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Shreveport Division), the company will provide annual ADA training to all human resources personnel and managers of IESI and its subsidiaries nationwide. IESI will report to the EEOC for two and a half years on all complaints of disability discrimination and all requests for reasonable accommodations of a disability. The decree also permits the EEOC to inspect IESI’s facilities to ensure compliance with federal law, which requires employers to post notices to employees of their rights to equal employment opportunities. The nationwide training and reporting will benefit IESI’s approximately 2,700 employees, as well as applicants who seek employment with the company.
“I am grateful to the EEOC for seeking justice on my behalf,” Harper commented after the settlement was reached. “I felt really good about the work I was doing and the compliments co-workers and other supervisors gave me on my performance. Then the company fired me out of the blue, just because I am dyslexic. Nobody had ever spoken to me like that in my life. For the first time in five years, I have my confidence back. I am also glad that the EEOC will be able to monitor the company to make sure that what happened to me does not happen to someone else with a disability.”
Gregory Juge, the EEOC’s senior trial attorney in its New Orleans Field Office, commented, “This is a classic case of an employer firing a worker with a disability because of its own misconceptions. Employees with disabilities such as dyslexia are every bit as protected under the ADA as those with more obvious, visible impairments such as blindness or being in a wheelchair.”
The EEOC was represented in the case by trial attorneys Juge and Tanya L. Goldman.
IESI, which was acquired by BFI Canada in 2005, is part of the third largest non-hazardous solid waste management company in North America, according to the company’s website.
The EEOC enforces federal law prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information is available on its web site at

Commission Seeks Public Comment on Credit Report Alternative

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

During the Commission meeting on Employer Use of Credit History as a Screening Tool, held on October 20, 2010, an alternative to credit reports was suggested for employers to use in making hiring decisions.
Rather than obtain credit history on an applicant, the suggestion was made for an employer to pose the following three questions to an applicant's prior employers as a standard reference check:

1) Did the employee perform adequately?
2) Did you have any concerns about the employee's integrity or reliability? and
3) Would you re-hire this employee?

The Commission is seeking public comment on whether employers who provide honest answers to these questions would be subjecting themselves to legal liability, and why or why not.

All comments will be made available to the Commissioners, the Office of General Counsel, and the Office of Legal Counsel, and will also be available for inspection in the EEOC Library. Comments should be submitted by December 3, 2010, and can be mailed to Commission Meeting, EEOC Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.20507, or e-mailed to

Seton Hall Professors Can Pursue Wage-Bias Suit, N.J. Supreme Court Rules

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 24, 2010, 1:19 am

A lawsuit filed by three female professors who accuse Seton Hall University of pay discrimination can proceed, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, overturning lower-court decisions to dismiss the women’s claims. The lower courts had accepted the university’s argument that the suit was filed too late, based on a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that held that such complaints had to be filed within 180 days of when a discriminatory pay decision was originally made.

Full Story:

Sullivan Seeks to Lead the University of Virginia at a Challenging Time

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Peter Galuszka , November 29, 2010

In January, when Dr. Teresa Sullivan became the first woman selected to become president of the University of Virginia, expectations were that the noted sociology professor, provost and executive vice president for student affairs of the University of Michigan would ease into her job in bucolic Charlottesville.
When she took over in August, however, the scene was anything but peaceful.

Full Story:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Affirmative Action Versus Diversity?

The Defenders Online
(NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc.)
Posted By The Editors November 20th, 2010

By Kenneth J. Cooper

The word “diversity” has popular appeal, maybe more so these days than “affirmative action.” But who knew diversity and affirmative action are in conflict at many businesses and colleges?
Shirley Wilcher does. The executive director of the American Association of Affirmative
Action says human resources professionals who are members of the Washington, D.C.-based organization report that vaguely-defined diversity programs are crowding out or taking priority over affirmative action.

Full Story:

Discrimination suit targets UMiami credit screen

The Associated Press
Posted on Tuesday, 11.23.10

MIAMI -- A federal lawsuit contends that University of Miami credit history checks of job candidates discriminate unfairly against minorities.
The potential class-action lawsuit filed Monday claims that use of credit histories in hiring decisions violates the Civil Rights Act. The suit argues there is no link between credit histories and job performance or trustworthiness. It also says minorities tend to have more credit issues than whites and others.

Read more:

Lawsuit Press Release
PR Web

Lawsuit Accuses University of Miami of Racial Discrimination for Rejecting Job Applicants Based on Credit History

Campus That Apartheid Ruled Faces a Policy Rift

The New York Times
Published: November 22, 2010

CAPE TOWN — The University of Cape Town was once a citadel of white privilege on the majestic slopes of Devil’s Peak. At the height of apartheid, it admitted few black or mixed-race students, and they were barred from campus dormitories, even forbidden to attend medical school postmortems on white corpses.

South Africa’s finest university is now resplendently multiracial. But it is also engaged in a searching debate about just how far affirmative action should go to heal the wounds of an oppressive history, echoing similar conflicts in the United States, where half a dozen states have banned the use of racial preferences in admissions to public universities.

Full Story:

Monday, November 22, 2010

'Diverse in the Heart'

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 21, 2010
A Texas admissions expert tells the long-forgotten tale of a pioneer in integration

By Eric Hoover
Austin, Tex.
Long before James Meredith became the first black man to enroll at the University of Mississippi, before a handful of black college students started a sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., and before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., a 33-year-old mail carrier walked into the registrar's office at the University of Texas. His name was Heman Marion Sweatt, and he sought admission to the university's law school. He might as well have chosen to walk into a hurricane.
The year was 1946. Sweatt, a Houston native with a college degree, was qualified to enroll. Administrators denied him for only one reason: He was black.

Full Story:

Graduate Programs Grow Less Diverse Without Racial Preferences, Research Suggests

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 20, 2010
By Peter Schmidt

State bans on the use of affirmative-action preferences by public colleges have resulted in significant declines in black, Hispanic, and Native American enrollments in graduate programs, with some fields hit much harder than others, concludes the first study to broadly examine the impact of such prohibitions on graduate education.
Moreover, the only race-conscious admissions policies allowed elsewhere—"holistic" admissions policies that purport to consider race and ethnicity as part of broad, subjective evaluation of applicants—cannot necessarily be trusted to promote diversity in graduate admissions, suggests a second study, of an unnamed medical school.
Taken together the studies, both presented here Friday at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, offer grim news to those seeking to enlarge the share of advanced degrees earned by black, Hispanic, and Native American people, especially in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and medicine.

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The GAP Unlawfully Fired Employee With Disability, EEOC Charges

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Manager With Kidney Disease Terminated Despite Excellent Performance, Suit Alleges

DETROIT – Global clothing retailer The Gap violated federal law by firing an employee at its Howell, Mich., store because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
The EEOC’s lawsuit (EEOC v. The Gap, Inc.,Case No.2:10CV14559) filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that Wayne Cook worked successfully for The Gap as a store manager for nearly three years. In December 2007, Cook took leave to address problems caused by his glomerolonephritis, a kidney disorder. In January 2008, he provided his supervisor with a detailed description of his medical conditions and the problems he was experiencing. In February, Cook returned to work and was fired on the spot, the EEOC said, allegedly for having tolerated the violation of a work rule prior to taking a leave of absence.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from terminating employees because of such medical conditions. The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for Cook in the form of back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“Mr. Cook was a well-regarded manager, but The Gap chose to terminate him based upon unjustified concerns surrounding his medical condition,” said EEOC Indianapolis Regional Attorney Laurie Young, whose jurisdiction includes Michigan. “The EEOC will pursue vigorously violations of the ADA, including cases like this one, when employers terminate employees based upon fears and stereotypes about their physical condition.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Friday, November 19, 2010

Guess Who’s Coming to Lunch?

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Dr. Marybeth Gasman, November 18, 2010

Last week, I sat down to have what I thought would be a pleasant lunch with someone I had talked on the phone with quite a few times. I’d never met her but we had developed a good professional rapport. Our conversation was moving along fine — we both exchanged some of our personal background and found we had quite a bit in common. All was fine until she asked how I came to do the work I do — meaning research related to race and historically Black colleges and universities. I started to explain how I came to understand the deep racial equity in the United States despite growing up in a low-income, predominantly White community in rural Michigan. I shared with her my belief that in the U.S. it is easier for individuals to overcome class inequalities but that deep prejudices around skin color in America make many situations more difficult for racial and ethnic minorities and curtail their access to opportunity. She stopped me in my tracks and said, “You don’t really think that people lack opportunity based on race, do you?” I replied, “Absolutely! I believe that opportunities in the U.S. are limited by class, gender, sexuality and most of all race.” She replied that “everyone has equal opportunity. They just need to work hard.” We were only 15 minutes into the lunch — the food hadn’t even been served.

Full Story:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pattern and practice cases: EEOC renews focus on systemic discrimination
Ogletree Deakins
Steven W. Moore and Jennifer L. Gokenbach
November 9 2010

With an increased budget and additional investigative resources, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced its renewed focus on combating systemic discrimination and its intent to pursue a greater number of large-scale enforcement actions through FY 2012 where it seeks relief for numerous applicants or employees. Known as a “pattern and practice” case, this type of litigation poses the greatest exposure and risk to employers through challenges to policies and practices in the workplace that allegedly have a discriminatory impact on a protected class and relies heavily on statistical evidence. In this past year, there has been a spate of EEOC enforcement actions seeking relief on a class basis. Now more than ever, it is imperative for employers to be cognizant of these large-scale cases, to understand the nuances involved in the EEOC’s handling and prosecution of such cases, and to be prepared to timely challenge any attempts by the EEOC to overreach.

Full Story:

We Might Be More Racist Than We Think We Are

Beacon Press
By Susan T. Fiske

The good news is that our prejudices are not inevitable -- we can fight them with broad social efforts to challenge stereotypes and by working together across group lines.
November 17, 2010

Reprinted from Are We Born Racist: New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology, edited by Jason Marsh, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and Jeremy Adam Smith. Copyright (c) 2010. Excerpted with permission from Beacon Press,

How prejudiced are you?
Most people think they’re less biased than average. But just as we can’t all be better than average, we can’t all be less prejudiced than average. Although the success of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign suggests an America that is moving past traditional racial divisions and prejudices, it’s probably safe to assume that all of us harbor more biases than we think.

Full Story:

GOP blocks pay equity measure in Senate

The Washington Post
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 17, 2010; 11:39 AM

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans have succeeded in blocking a measure designed to reduce wage disparities between men and women.
The 58-41 vote to take up the Paycheck Fairness Act fell short of the 60 needed to overcome GOP opposition.

Full Story:

Obama Administration Finalizes New Rules on ‘Equal Visitation Rights’ for Same-Sex Partners of Hospital Patients

CNS (conservative)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
By Susan Jones

( - In another bow to the homosexual community, the Obama administration on Wednesday issued news rules for hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid: Patients must be allowed to say who may visit them, and that includes same-sex partners.
The new rules stem from President Obama’s directive of April 15, 2010, in which he instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop rules for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals that would prohibit those hospitals from denying visitation on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Full Story:

EEOC holds meeting on age discrimination among nation's older unemployed workers
Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010, 9:17 AM
Jackie Headapohl

At a meeting held yesterday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heard testimony that age discrimination is causing the nation’s older workers to have a difficult time maintaining and finding new employment. The number and percentage of age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC have grown, rising from 16,548 charges — 21.8 percent of all charges — filed in fiscal year 2006, to 22,778 —24.4 percent — in fiscal year 2009.

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Wake School Board Under Probe

Education Week
Published Online: November 18, 2010
By T. Keung Hui, Thomas Goldsmith, and Mandy Locke, The News & Observer, N.C. (MCT)

Wake County school leaders will have to defend their student assignment and discipline policies to federal civil rights investigators responding to complaints filed by the NAACP.
The Office of Civil Rights investigates a third of the 6,900 complaints it receives each year, according to Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman of the U.S. Department of Education. Wake was notified about the investigation in a letter dated Nov. 5. Bradshaw said they typically try to complete investigations within six months.

Full Story:

DePaul Accused of Bias in Tenure Denial

Inside Higher Ed
November 18, 2010

Supporters of Quinetta Shelby released documents Wednesday suggesting bias in her tenure denial at DePaul University. Shelby is the only black faculty member in the chemistry department at the university, and while she was rejected by her department, a university appeals panel found that she was treated unfairly.

Full Story:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Justices again consider employment-law cases

The Washington Post
By Robert Barnes
Monday, November 15, 2010

Vincent Staub convinced a jury that his supervisors at a hospital got him fired because they were tired of his Army reserve duties taking too much of his time.
Kevin Kasten said the plastics company he worked for got rid of him for complaining that the time clock had been illegally placed in an inconvenient spot for workers.
And Eric Thompson said his pink slip came not from anything he did wrong. He said the company where he worked along with his fiancee was looking for a way to punish her for filing a sex discrimination complaint.
All three men are before the Supreme Court, seeking to expand the ways workers are protected from employers after they - or someone close to them, in Thompson's case - have done something to rile the bosses.

Full Story:

Bank of America Settles Bias Suit

The New York Times
Published: November 16, 2010

Bank of America has settled a lawsuit filed by a broker who claimed that the bank’s Merrill Lynch unit discriminated against women through its partnership model. Jamie Goodman, a broker who worked at Merrill since 1992, sued the company last year in federal court in Manhattan. United States District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin wrote in a court order on Tuesday that both sides told her that they had reached a settlement. Terms were not disclosed.

Full Story:

Job Seekers Find Bias Against The Unemployed

November 17, 2010
by John Ydstie

Unemployed workers face big hurdles as they try to get new jobs in today's economy. First, there's the numbers game: Close to 25 million workers unemployed or under-employed looking for jobs. In fact, there are five unemployed workers for every single job opening in the economy.
Increasingly, though, jobless workers are facing the ultimate barrier. Some employers are saying if you're out of work, we don't want to hire you.

Full Story and Audio:

Company Accused of Firing Over Facebook Post

The New York Times
Published: November 8, 2010

In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.
This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

Full Story:

Academic Hiring Freeze Looms as Obstacle to Faculty Diversity

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Kenneth J. Cooper , November 17, 2010

Dr. Christopher Tudico, who in the spring received his doctorate in the history of education from the University of Pennsylvania, says he’s realistic about his chances as he launches a search for a tenure-track position.
“I think in all honesty there’s about a 50 percent chance that I get placed because there are so many applicants and not enough positions. It’s impossible for everybody to have a position,” he says. “I think I’m a very strong candidate, but it may not work out.”

Full Story:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

OFCCP Confirms Seeking Rescission of Systemic Compensation Guidelines

The OFCCP has confirmed that it sent to the OMB on October 25 a proposed notice to rescind the Systemic Compensation Discrimination and Voluntary Guidelines for Self-Evaluation. Here is the information:

RIN: 1250-ZA00
TITLE: Notice of Proposed Rescission, Interpreting Nondiscrimination Requirements of Executive Order 11246 With Respect to Systemic Compensation Discrimination and Voluntary Guidelines for Self-Evaluation
STAGE: Notice
RECEIVED DATE: 10/25/2010

We do not have the contents of the request, but expect to hear about it in the near future.


OFCCP inspection of I-9s: a thing of the past

Seyfarth Shaw LLP
November 12 2010

Insiders at the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have advised us that the agency will stop inspecting contractors’ Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification documentation during onsite compliance evaluations.
We have been told that on Tuesday, November 9, 2010, Patricia Shiu, Director of OFCCP, announced during an internal videoconference that the agency will stop exercising its authority to inspect I-9 audits during onsite investigations. Historically, OFCCP has conducted these inspections pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Labor and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. The MOU can be accessed here.
By ceasing I-9 inspections, OFCCP will be able to focus its audits on issues it has authority to remedy and resolve. Under the MOU, OFCCP does not have enforcement authority with respect to I-9s, and it cannot assess penalties or fines. Instead, it must refer I-9 compliance problems to ICE. By relinquishing I-9 inspection authority, OFCCP can concentrate its resources on the areas of importance under its Strategic Plan for 2010-2016, which was discussed in a prior Seyfarth Management Alert that can be accessed here. OFCCP does not appear to have reduced this new approach to writing, nor has it provided a timeline for when it will stop its I-9 inspections.

Full Story:

OFCCP Continues to use CSAL for advance notice of reviews

AAAA has learned that OFCCP will continue sending Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters (CSALs) as advance notice for establishments that have been identified for potential compliance reviews. The OFCCP has stated that the next round of CSALs will be mailed out in the next two months.

CSALS are defined by OFCCP as:

notification to a corporation that two or more of its establishments are on
the list of contractor establishments selected to undergo a compliance
evaluation during the scheduling cycle. The list is generated from OFCCP's
Federal Contractor Selection System (FCSS). It is not a letter scheduling a
compliance evaluation. The purposes of the CSAL are to:
Provide the
contractor's internal EEO staff notice to obtain management support for EEO and
self-audit efforts;
Encourage contractors to take advantage of OFCCP
compliance assistance offerings;
Encourage contractors to focus on
self-audit efforts that, if problems are adequately analyzed and corrected,
saves OFCCP time/resources when we do an evaluation; and
Help contractors
manage/budget the amount of time required for evaluation activity.

The CSAL is not the official scheduling letter that is sent when an establishment has been selected for a compliance evaluation.

For more information about CSALS, go to the agency's website at:

Thanks to Pat Parrish and the NILG for this information....

Monday, November 15, 2010

EEOC to Explore Impact of Economy on Older Workers at Meeting on Wednesday, November 17

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

WASHINGTON – In order to examine the pressing problem of age discrimination in the workplace, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a public meeting to explore the impact of the current economic climate on older workers. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Time), at agency headquarters, 131 M Street, N.E. The Commission is scheduled to hear from the following invited panelists:
Panel 1: Impact of the Economy on Older Workers
William Spriggs, Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
David Lopez, EEOC General Counsel
Jessie Williams, class member in EEOC v. Republic Services
Panel 2: Legal Issues
Mary Anne Sedey, Partner, Sedey Harper P.C.,
Michael Foreman, Clinical Professor, Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law
R. Scott Oswald, Principal, The Employment Law Group
Panel 3: Employer Best Practices
Deborah Russell, Director, Workforce Issues, American Association of Retired Persons
Cornelia Gamlem, President, GEMS Group and Society for Human Resource Management
There will be a brief question-and-answer session with EEOC Commissioners following each panel discussion.
In accordance with the Sunshine Act, the meeting is open for public observation of the Commission’s deliberations. Seating is limited and it is suggested that visitors arrive 30 minutes before the meeting in order to be processed through security and escorted to the meeting room.
The Commission agenda is subject to revision. Additional information about the hearing, when available, will be posted at
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Minorities still lack a presence in executive ranks

Chicago Breaking Business
By Alejandra Cancino
Posted today at 10:43 a.m.

Despite slight improvements, minorities continue to have limited access to managerial and executive positions in Chicago-area corporations, according to a report by Chicago United, an advocacy group.
“Unfortunately, despite the more than 30 years of affirmative action and corporate diversity initiatives, access to the C-suite is still elusive in Chicago and in corporations across the country,” according to the report.
The report, called the “2010 Corporate Diversity Profile,” was based on a survey of 19 public corporations.

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A Bad Credit Score Could Keep You Unemployed

The Root
Employers and the EEOC may be heading for a confrontation over the use of credit ratings in hiring.
By: Sherrilyn A. Ifill
Posted: November 15, 2010 at 12:01 AM

It's a cruel irony of life that, as Billie Holiday sang, "Them that's got shall get," but practices in today's job market suggest that those in the best position financially have a better chance of being hired to fill the limited openings available. That's because credit checks are increasingly becoming a standard practice for employers. Thirty-five percent of employers admitted that they checked applicants' credit in making hiring decision in 2003. It's believed that the percentage of employers relying on credit checks has increased dramatically in the two years since the onset of the nation's economic crisis. This means that those who most need a job -- unemployed men and women who have fallen behind in home or car payments -- may be less likely to be hired than similarly qualified, but financially secure, applicants.

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Conservative Utah considers ban on affirmative action (Utah)
November 14th, 2010 9:14 am MT
Alison Peek
Salt Lake City Political Buzz Examiner

Once again, conservative members of the Utah Legislature are considering a constitutional amendment prohibiting affirmative action. The legislation is backed by the American Civil Rights Institute, a national organization fighting affirmative action in at least five other states. Senator Margaret Dayton-R, Orem is expected to sponsor the proposed amendment. Similar legislation narrowly missed passage during the last legislative session.
Affirmative action was a term first coined by the Kennedy administration, and it evolved into a program to stop discrimination based on gender, race, religion, physical disability or ethnicity. Affirmative action created opportunities for the recruitment, training and advancement of people who have been discriminated against in the past. In our recent history, it was virtually impossible for these groups to make headway in business, education, and many other aspects of life without an enforceable law stating it was illegal to discriminate. Some believe this has worked in reverse, making Caucasians and men targets of discrimination.

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Walking on Eggshells: Avoiding Retaliation Claims When an Employee Who Files a Discrimination Complaint Doesn’t Leave

Workforce Management
An employee can win a retaliation claim even when he does not win the discrimination claim. The anti-retaliation law protects employees from negative consequences for complaining about discrimination, whether the complaint was justified or not. By Mary Price Birk

One of an employer’s hardest management dilemmas, because of the danger of retaliation claims, is when an employee who has made an EEOC claim, or filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination, still works for the employer. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It also prohibits retaliation against employees who file complaints of such discrimination.
Retaliation is any action by an employer that would have deterred a reasonable employee from making a claim of discrimination, had the employee known this action would be taken against him if he complained. An employee can win a retaliation claim even when he does not win the discrimination claim. The anti-retaliation law protects employees from negative consequences for complaining about discrimination, whether the complaint was justified or not. In addition to Title VII, there are many other federal and state laws that also prohibit retaliation.

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Job Tracker: AFL-CIO publishes data on employers with labor/OFCCP violations

The AFL-CIO's Job Tracker site publishes information about employers who outsource jobs, have OSHA violations or are cited in OFCCP conciliation agreements. In a recent article on the AFL-CIO blog, the union announces the availability of the data base used to report violations:

Job Tracker: Outsourcers Can Run, But Now They Can’t Hide
by Mike Hall, Oct 7, 2010

In the past decade, more than 5 million manufacturing jobs and 850,000 information sector jobs have disappeared—many of which have been shipped overseas. This outsourcing is encouraged by faulty trade and tax policies that corporate executives use to boost record-breaking profits and outrageous and obscene executive salaries.
But finding out specific information on specific companies sending American jobs overseas and devastating their communities has been nearly impossible—until today. The AFL-CIO and Working America’s new Job Tracker database lists information on more than 400,000 corporations that have exported jobs overseas, violated health and safety codes or engaged in discriminatory or other illegal practice. (Check it out at
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in a conference call with reporters this morning, said Job Tracker’s searchable by ZIP code and the interactive database gives
everyday people the opportunity to actually see what is happening in their community and shine the light on what corporations are doing. For the first time, working people have one place to see the real impact of the failed policies of the past that gave corporations the ability to ship American jobs overseas.
With this new data as a benchmark, working people will have the ability to separate the economic patriots from the corporate traitors at the ballot box.

Alleged violators are listed by zip code. To see the data service, go to:

Bureau of Labor Statistics Publishes Study on Impact of Recession on Disabled

The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published a study entitled, "The impact of the 2007–09 recession on workers with disabilities" in its Monthly Labor Review Online. According to the abstract:

New data available from the Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that
between October 2008 and June 2010, job losses among workers with disabilities
far exceeded those of workers without disabilities; this labor market volatility
resulted in the proportion of employed U.S. workers identified as having
disabilities declining by 9 percent.

For a copy of the report, go to:

ODEP Publishes October Disability Employment Statistics

DOL, Office of Disability Employment Policy

October 2010 Disability Employment Statistics Released

In October 2010, the percentage of people with disabilities in the labor force was 21.4. By comparison, the percentage of persons with no disability in the labor force was 69.8.
The unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 14.8 percent, compared with 8.8 percent for persons with no disability, not seasonally adjusted.
Read about the October Disability Employment Statistics
Retrieve Historical Disability Employment Data
Read Commonly Used Terms in BLS Employment Statistics

EEOC Informal Letter on Criminal Records

On September 10, 2020, EEOC issued an informal discussion letter regarding the use of criminal records in hiring:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following letter to respond to a request for public comment from a federal agency or department. This letter is an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

Title VII: Criminal Records
September 10, 2010

Thank you for your letter dated August 19, 2010, in which you expressed concern that your son’s 1986 conviction for felony possession of marijuana is preventing him from finding a job. You contacted me based on a newspaper article about job screening practices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Commission or EEOC) was created in 1965 to enforce the prohibitions against employment discrimination in the federal civil rights laws. The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination by many private employers on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The EEOC looks at criminal records exclusions because they can lead to employment discrimination that violates Title VII. When employers screen out an applicant due to a criminal record, the result typically is that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately excluded from employment opportunities.

Full Letter:

EEOC Issues Informal Letter on Use of Video Resumes

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following letter to respond to a request for public comment from a federal agency or department. This letter is an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.
ADA, GINA, Title VII & ADEA: Video Resumes

September 21, 2010

This is in response to your May 4, 2010 email inquiring about the legality, under the federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws, of screening job applicants based on video resumes and online professional and personal videos. Noting that your firm offers a video resume service, you observe that when presenting this technology to companies and universities, “the first question we are consistently asked is in regard to discrimination.”
As you know, the EEOC enforces the federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination by employers, employment agencies,1 and labor organizations on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.2 Covered employers may include private and state and local government employers.3 Universities, as employers, are covered, but the EEO laws do not apply to universities’ decisions about admitting students.
The EEO laws prohibit these covered entities from recruiting and selecting new employees in a discriminatory way. The EEO laws do not expressly prohibit the use of specific technologies or methods for selecting employees, and therefore do not prohibit the use of video resumes. The key question under the EEO laws is how the selection tools are used.

Full Letter:

Court Orders Media Giant To Comply With EEOC Subpoena In Age Bias Case

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Federal Judge Says That Kable News Company Did Not Meet the “High Threshold” for Non-Compliance With an EEOC Administrative Subpoena

CHICAGO – A federal district judge has ordered Kable News Company, a nationwide periodical circulator, to provide a comprehensive employee list in response to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administrative subpoena in an age discrimination case, the agency announced today.
The EEOC’s subpoena was issued in connection with its investigation stemming from a discrimination charge filed by a former Kable News employee contending that he had been fired because of his age. Judge Elaine Bucklo, relying on the EEOC’s prior subpoena enforcement action against the Sidley Austin law firm, rejected Kable’s argument that the EEOC could not obtain comprehensive employee data because the information sought in the subpoena was outside the scope of the individual discrimination charge. (EEOC v. Kable News Co., N.D. Ill.No. 10 C 5234, Minute Order, 11/4/10, E. Bucklo, D.J.).
In rejecting that argument and K able’s contention that it had already provided the EEOC with enough information, Judge Bucklo wrote that EEOC “enforcement proceedings are highly deferen­tial,” and the “role of the court is ‘sharply limited’ in such proceedings.” Kable, she continued, “fails to appreciate that the . . . grant of investigative authority to the Commission is not cabined by any reference to charges.” Additionally, the court found:
[Kable’s] argument that it has already produced sufficient information for the EEOC to conclude its investigation of the current charge not only suffers from the same mis­apprehension, it assumes the correctness of [Kable’s] own theory of the case, which the EEOC is entitled to test through an expanded investiga­tion.
Bucklo also rejected Kable’s argument that producing the information would be unduly burdensome, even though it would take six to 12 weeks to compile. “[Kable] does not meet the high threshold of showing that responding to the subpoena would ‘threaten the normal operation of respondent’s business,’” the judge wrote. “Moreover, [Kable] is clearly part of a substantial corporate group that presumably has the resources to enlist additional employees in the process,” the judge added.
John Hendrickson, regional attorney for EEOC in Chicago, commented, “This decision, like many before it, makes unequivocally clear that it is the EEOC that determines what may be required in its administra­tive investigations—not the employer. There is nothing really new in what Judge Bucklo has said. But some employers appear to think that it’s a good idea to ‘make a federal case’ out of the enforcement of EEOC subpoenas. The court’s forceful articulation of the rules to the contrary should provide more realistic guidance to decision makers.”
Kable, a company established in Mount Morris, Ill., is a self-proclaimed print media empire. According to its website, “Kable is one of the largest magazine and periodical circulators in the world. Eleven unique, yet interrelated services comprise our selection of circulation and marketing services for the publishing and direct response industries.”
In addition to Hendrickson, the EEOC is represented by Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason and Trial Attorney Aaron DeCamp. The EEOC Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at

Perspectives: True Picture of Oppression Left Out of Social Studies Classes

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Dalyn Montgomery , November 15, 2010

I went to a great public school, had a top notch teacher and lived in a great community. I paid attention and my teachers encouraged me to think critically. If best-case scenarios could be created in a test tube, they would look much like my real one did.
I loved social studies.
We learned all the dates and names. We even learned about things like context and perspective. I left high school knowing who Nat Turner, W.E.B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes were. I recall experiencing a version of the famed blue-eyed-brown-eyed segregation exercise in elementary school.

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Blind advocates allege Penn State services not blind friendly

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Posted on Sat, Nov. 13, 2010

By Robert Moran
Inquirer Staff Writer

A national advocacy group for the blind has called for an investigation of alleged "pervasive and ongoing discrimination" at Pennsylvania State University in the availability of technology-based services for blind students and faculty.
The National Federation of the Blind sent a seven-page complaint letter dated Friday to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, alleging that Penn State is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"Penn State's persistent failure to abide by the law has resulted in gratuitously denying its blind students and faculty equal access to information and thereby to an equal-education opportunity," the complaint states.

Read more: Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else

Friday, November 12, 2010

Key Leadership at Football Conferences Remains White and Male

Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport
Media Contact: Kelvin Ang, 315-450-1420

The Buck Stops Here: Assessing Diversity among Campus and Conference Leaders for Football Bowl

Subdivision (FBS) Schools in the 2010-11 Academic YearBy Dr. Richard Lapchick with Jamile M. KitnurseOrlando, Fla.… November 11, 2010 – The key leadership positions at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools and conferences remain overwhelmingly white and male, even though a record-high 15 head coaches of color led FBS (formerly Division I-A) teams at the start of the 2010 college football season, according to a new study released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida. The 15 head coaches of color represent 12.5 percent of the 120 FBS coaches.TIDES released The Buck Stops Here: Assessing Diversity among Campus and Conference Leaders for Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Schools in the 2010-11 Academic Year. This is a study that examines the race and gender of conference commissioners and campus leaders, including college and university presidents, athletics directors and faculty athletics representatives for all 120 FBS institutions. The study also includes head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, assistant coaches and student-athletes for the football teams. Finally, the faculty as a whole is examined.Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES and principal author of the report, said, “Women and people of color who seek leadership positions in American higher education and in college sport face enormous odds. The leadership in the power structure in college sport remains overwhelming white. In FBS institutions, this includes 100 percent of the conference commissioners, 92.5 percent of the presidents, 88.3 percent of the athletics directors, 93.6 percent of the faculty athletics reps, 87.5 percent of the head football coaches and 83.3 percent of the faculty.

Full Document and story:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Affirmative action in US led by Hub woman

The Bay State Banner (Massachusetts)
November 11, 2010 — vol. 46, no 14
Kenneth J. Cooper

Not many people talk much about affirmative action these days. Shirley Wilcher does. It’s part of her job.
The Mattapan resident is executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action, a professional organization whose 1,000 members work to assure fair employment practices at private companies, government agencies and colleges. Largely telecommuting from home, Wilcher has directed the Washington, D.C.-based “4-A” since 2005.
In a recent interview, Wilcher offered her professional observations of the state of affirmative action, saying it is faring better in the federal government but faltering in the private sector.

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Questions And Answers About Employer Responsibilities Concerning The Employment Of Muslims, Arabs, South Asians, And Sikhs

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state and local fair employment practices agencies have recorded a significant increase in the number of charges alleging discrimination based on religion and/or national origin. Many of the charges have been filed by individuals who are or are perceived to be Muslim, Arab, South Asian, or Sikh. These charges most commonly allege harassment and discharge.
While employers have an ongoing responsibility to address workplace discrimination, reaction to the events of September 11, 2001 may demand increased efforts to prevent discrimination. This fact sheet answers questions about what steps an employer can take to meet these responsibilities. The Commission has also prepared a companion fact sheet that answers questions about employee rights. For additional information, visit the EEOC's website at
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, country of origin, race and color. Such discrimination is prohibited in any aspect of employment, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, benefits, training, job duties, and termination. Workplace harassment is also prohibited by Title VII. In addition, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for religious practices unless doing so would result in undue hardship. The law prohibits retaliation against an individual because s/he has engaged in protected activity, which includes filing a charge, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, or opposing a discriminatory practice. Employers with 15 or more employees are required to comply with Title VII. Title VII also prohibits discrimination by most unions and employment agencies.
Hiring And Other Employment Decisions
Narinder, a South Asian man who wears a Sikh turban, applies for a position as a cashier at XYZ Discount Goods. XYZ fears Narinder's religious attire will make customers uncomfortable. What should XYZ do?
XYZ should not deny Narinder the job due to notions of customer preferences about religious attire. That would be unlawful. It would be the same as refusing to hire Narinder because he is a Sikh.
XYZ Discount Goods should also consider proactive measures for preventing discrimination in hiring and other employment decisions. XYZ could remind its managers and employees that discrimination based on religion or national origin is not tolerated by the company in any aspect of employment, including hiring. XYZ could also adopt objective standards for selecting new employees. It is important to hire people based on their qualifications rather than on perceptions about their religion, race or national origin.
Muhammad, who is Arab American, works for XYZ Motors, a large used car business. Muhammad meets with his manager and complains that Bill, one of his coworkers, regularly calls him names like "camel jockey," "the local terrorist," and "the ayatollah," and has intentionally embarrassed him in front of customers by claiming that he is incompetent. How should the supervisor respond?
Managers and supervisors who learn about objectionable workplace conduct based on religion or national origin are responsible for taking steps to correct the conduct by anyone under their control. Muhammad's manager should relay Muhammad's complaint to the appropriate manager if he does not supervise Bill. If XYZ Motors then determines that Bill has harassed Muhammad, it should take disciplinary action against Bill that is significant enough to ensure that the harassment does not continue.
Workplace harassment and its costs are often preventable. Clear and effective policies prohibiting ethnic and religious slurs, and related offensive conduct, are needed. Confidential complaint mechanisms for promptly reporting harassment are critical, and these policies should be written to encourage victims and witnesses to come forward. When harassment is reported, the focus should be on action to end the harassment and correct its effects on the complaining employee.
Religious Accommodation
Three of the 10 Muslim employees in XYZ's 30-person template design division approach their supervisor and ask that they be allowed to use a conference room in an adjacent building for prayer. Until making the request, those employees prayed at their work stations. What should XYZ do?
XYZ should work closely with the employees to find an appropriate accommodation that meets their religious needs without causing an undue hardship for XYZ. Whether a reasonable accommodation would impose undue hardship and therefore not be required depends on the particulars of the business and the requested accommodation.
When the room is needed for business purposes, XYZ can deny its use for personal religious purposes. However, allowing the employees to use the conference room for prayers likely would not impose an undue hardship on XYZ in many other circumstances.
Similarly, prayer often can be performed during breaks, so that providing sufficient time during work hours for prayer would not result in an undue hardship. If going to another building for prayer takes longer than the allotted break periods, the employees still can be accommodated if the nature of the template design division's work makes flexible scheduling feasible. XYZ can require employees to make up any work time missed for religious observance.
In evaluating undue hardship, XYZ should consider only whether it can accommodate the three employees who made the request. If XYZ can accommodate three employees, it should do so. Because individual religious practices vary among members of the same religion, XYZ should not deny the requested accommodation based on speculation that the other Muslim employees may seek the same accommodation. If other employees subsequently request the same accommodation and granting it to all of the requesters would cause undue hardship, XYZ can make an appropriate adjustment at that time. For example, if accommodating five employees would not cause an undue hardship but accommodating six would impose such hardship, the sixth request could be denied.
Like employees of other religions, Muslim employees may need accommodations such as time off for religious holidays or exceptions to dress and grooming codes.
Temporary Assignments
Susan is an experienced clerical worker who wears a hijab (head scarf) in conformance with her Muslim beliefs. XYZ Temps places Susan in a long-term assignment with one of its clients. The client contacts XYZ and requests that it notify Susan that she must remove her hijab while working at the front desk, or that XYZ assign another person to Susan's position. According to the client, Susan's religious attire violates its dress code and presents the "wrong image." Should XYZ comply with its client's request?
XYZ Temps may not comply with this client request without violating Title VII. The client would also violate Title VII if it made Susan remove her hijab or changed her duties to keep her out of public view. Therefore, XYZ should strongly advise against this course of action. Notions about customer preference real or perceived do not establish undue hardship, so the client should make an exception to its dress code to let Susan wear her hijab during front desk duty as a religious accommodation. If the client does not withdraw the request, XYZ should place Susan in another assignment at the same rate of pay and decline to assign another worker to the client.
Background Investigations
Anwar, who was born in Egypt, applies for a position as a security guard with XYZ Corp., which contracts to provide security services at government office buildings. Can XYZ require Muhammad to undergo a background investigation before he is hired?
XYZ may require Anwar to undergo the same pre-employment security checks that apply to other applicants for the same position. As with its other employment practices, XYZ may not perform background investigations or other screening procedures in a discriminatory manner.
In addition, XYZ may require a security clearance pursuant to a federal statute or Executive Order. Security clearance determinations for positions subject to national security requirements under a federal statute or an Executive Order are not subject to review under the equal employment opportunity statutes.
Where To Go For Guidance
The EEOC is available to provide you with useful information on how to address workplace problems relating to discrimination based on religion, national origin, race or color. We conduct various types of training, and we can help you find a format that is right for you.
Small businesses are faced with unique challenges in promoting effective workplace policies that prevent discrimination. Our Small Business Liaisons are located in each of our District, Local and Area offices to assist you in compliance with EEO laws.
You should feel free to contact EEOC with questions about effective workplace policies that can help prevent discrimination. We are also available to answer more specialized questions. Please call 1-800-669-4000 (TTY 1-800-669-6820), or send inquiries to:
Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionOffice of Legal Counsel131 M Street, NEWashington, D.C. 20507

Legal Alert: EEOC Issues Final GINA Regulations

Ford & Harrison LLP

On November 9, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published final regulations implementing Title II of the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The regulations are available at: As we previously outlined when the Act was first passed, Title II of GINA prohibits employers from making employment decisions on the basis of genetic information and family history. This statute also prohibits employers from acquiring genetic information and family medical history about applicants, employees, and former employees, subject to specific exceptions. (See our Legal Alert, Employers and Insurers Meet GINA – The Newest Addition to the Federal Discrimination Law Family, 05/23/2008, available on our web site at:
While it's unlikely that employers are genetically screening applicants to create a workforce of "employees of the month," the implementation of the new regulations raises questions about some common employer practices that could be viewed as violating GINA.

Full Alert:

EEOC Issues Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Final Regulations

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Law Prohibits Using Genetic Information to Make Employment Decisions

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued final regulations implementing the employment provisions (Title II) of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). GINA prohibits use of genetic information to make decisions about health insurance and employment, and restricts the acquisition and disclosure of genetic information. Title II of GINA represents the first legislative expansion of the EEOC’s jurisdiction since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
The regulations were approved by a unanimous vote of the Commission, and include clarifications and refinements made in response to comments received during the notice and comment period. "The final regulations implementing GINA reflect the concerted effort by all Commissioners to ensure that workers, job applicants and employers will have clear guidance concerning the implementation of this new law. These regulations are also a testimony to the tireless work of the late Paul Steven Miller, who was a Commissioner of the EEOC and a leader in the movement to protect individuals against discrimination based on family medical history or genetic information for many years," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. The GINA regulations are the first issued by the EEOC since Chair Berrien and Commissioners Chai R. Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic joined Commissioners Stuart J. Ishimaru and Constance Barker on the Commission in April, 2010.
Congress enacted GINA with strong bipartisan support in 2008, in response to concerns that patients would decline to take advantage of the increasing availability of genetic testing out of concern that they could lose their jobs or health insurance if such tests revealed adverse information. Title II of GINA prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information, and restricts the acquisition and disclosure of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about individuals’ genetic tests and the tests of their family members; family medical history; requests for and receipt of genetic services by an individual or a family member; and genetic information about a fetus carried by an individual or family member or of an embryo legally held by the individual or family member using assisted reproductive technology.
The final regulations provide examples of genetic tests; more fully explain GINA’s prohibition against requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information; provide model language employers can use when requesting medical information from employees to avoid acquiring genetic information; and describe how GINA applies to genetic information obtained via electronic media, including websites and social networking sites.
"I am pleased that the new Commission was able to complete the GINA regulations and make some common-sense changes based on the public record," said EEOC Commissioner Victoria A. Lipnic. "While fulfilling the law’s purpose to protect individuals from genetic discrimination, I believe these final regulations properly balance and reflect the needs and realities of the workplace and preserve the appropriate means for employers to offer health and wellness plans."
The Commission has also issued two question-and-answer documents on the final GINA regulations, one of which is aimed at helping small businesses comply with the law. Links to the regulations and to the questions-and-answers are on EEOC’s website, at

Canadian Study Finds Lower Dropout Rates for Immigrants and Minority Students

Inside Higher Ed
November 11, 2010

A Canadian study concludes that immigrant students and what it calls "visible minorities" are less likely than are other students to drop out in their first or second year of college -- a finding that the researchers attribute to the fact that many white students in Canada are in college because of parental pressure. The study, by the Measuring the Effectiveness of Student Aid (MESA) Project, finds that among low-income students at Canada's colleges, 17.1 percent of "visible minority immigrants" drop out in the first or second year, compared to 25.5 percent for other students.

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Justice Department Reaches Settlement with University of South Carolina to Ensure Students Are Free from Harassment

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with University of South Carolina to Ensure Students Are Free from Harassment

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with the University of South Carolina to resolve an investigation into the university’s policies and procedures related to discrimination and harassment.
After receiving a report of race discrimination on campus, the department examined the university’s policies and practices related to the handling of complaints of discrimination and harassment. Federal civil rights laws require public institutions to appropriately address and respond to such complaints. To meet this federal standard, the university agreed to improve its policies and practices for receiving, investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. The settlement agreement will ensure that students, faculty and administrators understand and are trained on their responsibilities under the university’s policies, including when and how to report incidents of harassment or discrimination, and will require the university to respond to such complaints in a timely and effective manner. In order to ensure ongoing compliance with its revised policies, the university also will train select administrators, faculty and students to lead future trainings on campus. The settlement provides that the university will adopt revised anti-discrimination and harassment policies before the start of the 2011-12 school year and will initiate training during the spring 2012 semester.
"Public institutions of higher education must ensure that their students are not denied equal access to educational opportunities," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Public institutions must adopt policies and procedures that allow them to identify and respond to allegations of discrimination and harassment in a reasonable, timely and effective manner. I applaud the University of South Carolina for entering into an agreement that will communicate to students, faculty, administrators, and the public at large, that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated on its campus."
The enforcement of Title IV is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at .
Civil Rights Division

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DOL Regulations on Internships

Workforce Management
Dear Workforce: How Do New Regulations on Internships Affect Our For-Profit Organization?The regulations apply to all employers—whether for-profit or not-for-profit companies. The purpose: to ensure that employers are not using the 'intern' label to avoid paying workers minimum wage and overtime.

Dear Workforce:
I know that federal regulations are tightening for internships at for-profit organizations. What do we need to know?

A. Your question is a timely one, as the Labor Department is stepping up its enforcement efforts concerning student intern programs. Although media reports may focus on the use of unpaid interns at large, for-profit companies, the regulations in this area apply to all employers—whether for-profit or not-for-profit companies. The purpose of the regulations is to ensure that employers are not using the “intern” label to avoid paying their workers the minimum wage and overtime.
The Labor Department applies a six-part test to determine whether an intern program is exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the wage-and-hour laws. To pass that test, you need to understand what a qualifying intern program is, and just as important, what a qualifying program is not.

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Cactus Grill Pays $150,000 To Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Restaurant Tolerated Sexual Harassment of Teen Female Server, Agency Charged

KANSAS CITY – Cactus Grill, part of a restaurant chain in the Kansas City metropolitan area that is managed by Northstar Restaurants, Inc., will pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas (EEOC , et al. v. Cactus Grill, Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-02290-EFM), charged that Cactus Grill discriminated against a teenage female server by permitting an older assistant manager to sexually harass her and then discharging her from her employment.
Cactus Grill had received a sexual harassment complaint about this assistant manager from at least one other female employee before this incident occurred, the EEOC said.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in May 2010 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.
In addition to paying $150,000, Cactus Grill has agreed that it will not rehire the alleged harasser in any of its restaurants. The company also agreed to update its anti-discrimination policy as necessary to ensure it meets the EEOC’s requirements, and redistribute the policy to all employees. Cactus Grill also will provide training on sexual harassment and its anti-discrimination policy and complaint procedure to all managers and assistant managers in its restaurants. Additionally, the company will report to the EEOC on all complaints it receives about sexual harassment for two years.
“It is imperative that restaurants employing young workers deal swiftly and effectively with sexual harassment” said Regional Attorney Barbara A. Seely of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “Cactus Grill had received a prior complaint about the alleged harasser and issued him a disciplinary write-up. But the company’s actions were insufficient to deter him from harassing others. Employers need to understand they must be proactive and resolute in putting a stop to sexual harassment when they become aware of it.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at

Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected

The New York Times
Published: November 9, 2010

An achievement gap separating black from white students has long been documented — a social divide extremely vexing to policy makers and the target of one blast of school reform after another.
But a new report focusing on black males suggests that the picture is even bleaker than generally known.
Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys.

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Religious Accommodation Makes Waves

Inside Higher Ed
November 9, 2010

Colleges strive to create welcoming, inclusive communities for students from every background. But a new effort at George Washington University has scores of critics and supporters abuzz with heated comments that continue to pour in on various blogs and news articles.
At the request of the university’s Muslim Students’ Association, George Washington began offering a once-weekly, female-only swim hour in March. But it only recently turned into an online debate over issues of religious and sexual discrimination and -- though not always explicitly -- racism, spurred by an article in the student newspaper, The GW Hatchet.

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