Saturday, July 31, 2010

Area colleges strive to hire more minorities to reflect changing communities
By Patti Zarling • • July 3, 2010

DE PERE — When Tynisha Meidl, who grew up in urban areas on the East Coast, began looking for a college teaching job, she didn't expect to be hired in Northeastern Wisconsin.
Now she's finishing her first year teaching education at St. Norbert College, and said she loves the school and the small-town feel of the area.
"There's lots to do here, and everything is not very expensive, as juxtaposed to a big city," she said. "I love the fact I live 15 miles from work and can get here in exactly 15 minutes, not an hour and a half."
Meidl is the kind of employee local colleges and universities seek to hire: a qualified minority. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, St. Norbert College and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in recent years have made it a priority to include underrepresented minorities when conducting employee searches.

Full Story:

Virginia Beach Plastering Company Sued by EEOC for Same-Sex and National Origin Harassment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Agency Charges Salvadoran Was Victimized by Supervisor

NORFOLK, Va. – A plastering and drywall company doing work at Norfolk Naval Base and MacArthur Center mall violated federal law when it subjected an employee of Salvadoran origin to a hostile work environment based on both his sex and national origin, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
The EEOC’s suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Tidewater Plastering and Drywall Company, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:10-cv-00369), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, charged that Virginia Beach-based Tidewater Plastering and Drywall Company, Inc. created and maintained a hostile working environment for Jorge Calderon based on both his male gender and Salvadoran national origin. According to the complaint, from around September 2008 until February 2009, a male foreman for Tidewater Plastering subjected Calderon to unwelcome sexual conduct. The conduct included calling Calderon “sexy,” blowing him kisses and caressing his hands and back. The complaint also alleged that on one occasion the foreman also told Calderon that Calderon would have to sleep with the foreman in order to work at Tidewater Plastering’s next job site.
The same foreman also made derogatory comments to Calderon based on his national origin, including calling him a “stupid Salvadoran.” According to the complaint, when Calderon sought the help of his employer to end the harassment, the president of the company told him that nothing could be done. Consequently, Calderon quit his job.
The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Calderon, as well as an injunction enjoining Tidewater Plastering from engaging in similar discrimination again and requiring it to take other measures to ensure a workplace free of discrimination for future employees. The agency filed suit after first attempting to settle the matter informally.
“Offering employees avenues for reporting harassment and then responding appropriately to employee complaints are critical in maintaining a workplace free from unlawful harassment,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District Office which also has jurisdiction over Virginia. “This is true across all industries. Employees in the construction industry have just as much right as persons in any other occupation to a workplace free from unlawful harassment.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fact Sheet: Highlights of the Final Rule to Amend the Department of Justice's Regulation Implementing Title III of the ADA

Fact Sheet

Highlights of the Final Rule to Amend the Department of Justice's Regulation Implementing Title III of the ADA

The Department of Justice (the Department) has amended its regulation implementing title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which applies to public accommodations (private businesses that fall within one of twelve categories established by the statute) and commercial facilities. The ADA requires the Department to publish ADA design standards that are consistent with the guidelines published by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). Therefore, the title III rule adopts new Standards for Accessible Design that are consistent with the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines developed by the Access Board. The final rule also amends the existing title III regulation to make it consistent with current policies and published guidance, to reflect the Department's experience since the regulation was first published in 1991, and to address and respond to comments received from the public in response to the Department's 2008 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
Adoption of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The Department has adopted revised ADA design standards that include the relevant chapters of the Access Board's 2004 ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines as modified by specific provisions of this rule. To minimize compliance burdens on entities subject to more than one legal standard, these design standards have been harmonized with the Federal standards implementing the Architectural Barriers Act and with the private sector model codes that are adopted by most States.
Effective Date. The rule will become effective six months after publication in the Federal Register. Eighteen months after publication, compliance with the 2010 Standards will be required for new construction and alterations and barrier removal. In the period between the effective date and the compliance date, covered entities may choose between the 1991 Standards and the 2010 Standards. Covered entities that should have complied with the 1991 Standards during any new construction or alteration of facilities or elements, but have not done so by 18 months after the date of publication of the final rule, must comply with the 2010 Standards.
Element by Element Safe Harbor. The rule includes a general "safe harbor" under which elements in covered facilities that were built or altered in compliance with the 1991 Standards would not be required to be brought into compliance with the 2010 Standards until the elements were subject to a planned alteration. A similar safe harbor applies to elements associated with the "path of travel" to an altered area.
Ticketing. The rule provides guidance on the sale of tickets for accessible seating, the sale of season tickets, the hold and release of accessible seating to persons other than those who need accessible seating, ticket pricing, prevention of the fraudulent purchase of accessible seating, and the ability to purchase multiple tickets when buying accessible seating. It requires a venue operator to accommodate an individual with a disability who acquired inaccessible seating on the secondary ticket market only when there is unsold accessible seating for that event.
Service Animals. The rule defines "service animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The rule states that other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as service animals. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals. The final rule also clarifies that individuals with mental disabilities who use service animals that are trained to perform a specific task are protected by the ADA. The rule permits the use of trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations. To allow flexibility in situations where using a horse would not be appropriate, the final rule does not include miniature horses in the definition of "service animal."
Wheelchairs and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices. The rule adopts a two-tiered approach to mobility devices, drawing distinctions between wheelchairs and "other power-driven mobility devices." "Other power-driven mobility devices" include a range of devices not designed for individuals with mobility impairments, such as the Segway® PT, but which are often used by individuals with disabilities as their mobility device of choice. Wheelchairs (and other devices designed for use by people with mobility impairments) must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use. "Other power-driven mobility devices" must be permitted to be used unless the covered entity can demonstrate that such use would fundamentally alter its programs, services, or activities, create a direct threat, or create a safety hazard. The rule also lists factors to consider in making this determination. This approach accommodates both the legitimate business interest in the safe operation of a facility and the growing use of the Segway® PT as a mobility device by returning veterans and others who are using the Segway® PT as their mobility aid of choice.
Effective Communication. The rule includes video remote interpreting (VRI) services as a kind of auxiliary aid that may be used to provide effective communication. VRI is an interpreting service that uses video conference technology over dedicated lines or wireless technology offering a high-speed, wide-bandwidth video connection that delivers high-quality video images. To ensure that VRI is effective, the Department has established performance standards for VRI and requires training for users of the technology and other involved individuals so that they may quickly and efficiently set up and operate the VRI system.
Reservations Made by Places of Lodging. The rule establishes requirements for reservations made by places of lodging, including procedures that will allow individuals with disabilities to make reservations for accessible guest rooms during the same hours and in the same manner as other guests, and requirements that will require places of lodging to identify and describe accessible features of a guest room, to hold back the accessible guest rooms for people with disabilities until all other guest rooms of that type have been rented, and to ensure that a reserved accessible guest room is removed from all reservations systems so that it is not inadvertently released to someone other than the person who reserved the accessible room. The final rule limits the obligations of third-party reservation operators that do not themselves own and operate places of lodging. In addition, to allow the hospitality industry appropriate time to change reservation systems, the final rule gives places of lodging 18 months from the date of publication to come into compliance with these requirements.
Timeshares, Condominium Hotels, and Other Places of Lodging. The rule provides that timeshare and condominium properties that operate like hotels are subject to title III, providing guidance about the factors that must be present for a facility that is not an inn, motel, or hotel to qualify as a place of lodging. The final rule limits obligations for units that are not owned or substantially controlled by the public accommodation that operates the place of lodging. Such units are not subject to reservation requirements relating to the "holding back" of accessible units. They are also not subject to barrier removal and alterations requirements if the physical features of the guest room interiors are controlled by their individual owners rather than by a third party operator.
For more information: Copies of this rule, the 2010 Standards, and this Fact Sheet are available in an accessible electronic format on the Internet at For additional information or to order copies of any documents, call the ADA Information Line (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY). Copies of this notice will be available in accessible formats.

Revised ADA regulations for Titles II and III
Proskauer Rose LLP
Carolyn Doppelt Gray, Joshua A Stein and Allan H Weitzman
USA July 27 2010

On July 26, 2010, the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Justice announced the issuance of the Revised ADA Regulations governing Titles II and III. These final rules will take effect six months from the date of their publication in the Federal Register. Compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design ("2010 ADAAG") is permitted after that date, but not required of newly constructed or altered facilities until 18 months after the eventual date of publication in the Federal Register.
The 2010 ADAAG contains an element-by-element safe harbor. Therefore, elements within existing facilities that were built or modified in compliance with the current ADAAG need not comply with the 2010 ADAAG until they are next modified.

These revised regulations will impact a broad range of industries - e.g., sports/entertainment venues; lodging; restaurants; retail establishments; and academic institutions - in a variety of ways, including policies, practices and procedure, and design/construction. Later this week, we will be circulating a client alert, providing detailed information regarding these many changes.

Full Story:

Employers beware: ADA claims on the rise now and into the foreseeable future
Hunton & Williams LLP
USA July 19 2010

As was predicted following the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which went into effect in January 2009, there has been a subsequent surge in the filing of lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Lawsuits brought under the ADA now comprise the highest percentage of claims filed by former employees. When compared with the number of ADA-related lawsuits filed in the first three months of 2009, there has been a nearly 40% percent increase in the number of ADA-related suits filed in 2010 during the same period. Moreover, the second quarter of 2010 saw the number of ADA-related lawsuits increase by 15% over those filed in the first quarter.
The significant increase in the number of ADA-related lawsuits is the result of the ADAAA’s express directive that the definition of “disability” is to be construed in favor of “broad coverage.” Not surprisingly, this change has encouraged Plaintiff’s attorneys regarding the prospects of successfully advancing a client’s ADA claim. More specifically, the ADAAA (i) expands the definition of “disability”-- which, necessarily increases the number of individuals covered under the ADA -- and (ii) shifted the focus from whether an individual is disabled to whether and how that individual should be accommodated. The ADAAA’s proposed implementing regulations, which are expected to become final later this summer, leaves no doubt that the operative question is no longer: Is an employee disabled? Instead, the key question is now: What should an employer do to accommodate the employee’s disability? For example, the proposed regulations create a list of “per se” physical and mental impairments that will “consistently” qualify as disabilities, such as cancer, blindness, deafness, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS and cerebral palsy. Additionally, the proposed regulations clarify what it means for an impairment to “substantially limit” a major life activity or major bodily function and explain how to evaluate impairments when mitigating measures are used.

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Teachers can close gender gap in classroom leadership during medical school, study finds

UCLA Newsroom
By Elaine Schmidt July 28, 2010

Half of first-year medical students in the U.S. are women, yet a new UCLA study shows that they volunteer for leadership roles in the classroom significantly less than their male counterparts. Subtle encouragement from teachers, however, can even out the playing field by boosting female students' willingness to identify themselves as leaders.

"People assume that if you have parity in the numbers of men and women training to become physicians, then everything else will fall into place," said Nancy Wayne, a professor of physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and lead author of the study. "Surprisingly, we found that wasn't the case."

Full Story:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Next Week's Court Hearing on Affirmative Action

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 28, 2010, 01:12 PM ET
By Richard Kahlenberg

(Kahlenberg continues his campaign against affirmative action...)

Next Tuesday, August 3rd, when many folks in higher education may still be winding up vacations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear oral arguments in the most important affirmative action case since the 2003 Supreme Court decision supporting the policy at the University of Michigan Law School in Grutter v. Bollinger.The challenge to the use of race in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin sharpens the focus on a question left hanging in Grutter: how vigorously do universities need to pursue race-neutral alternatives to affirmative action before resorting to racial preferences in admissions? As an excellent article by Morgan Smith in the Texas Tribune last week notes, the fact that UT Austin was banned from using race by an earlier Fifth Circuit decision in Hopwood v. Texas (1996) provides a unique set of circumstances to test whether race-neutral alternatives are able to produce a “critical mass” of under-represented minority students.

Full Story:

Justice Department Weighs Putting Web Sites Under Disability Rules

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 28, 2010, 05:13 PM ET
By Marc Parry

The modern Internet did not exist when the Americans With Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990. Now the Justice Department is weighing changes to bring the landmark civil-rights law in line with the rise of the Web—a debate that could have implications for colleges.
The department this week announced that it is considering revising ADA regulations "to establish specific requirements for state and local governments and public accommodations to make their Web sites accessible to individuals with disabilities."
The announcement and call for public comment, preliminary as they are, drew celebration from WebAIM, an Internet-accessibility training and consulting nonprofit at Utah State University. Jonathan Whiting, the center's director of training and evaluation, described the move as "huge." Many colleges' digital materials are designed in a way that makes them difficult to use for people with disabilities, he says.

Full Story:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do Colleges Discriminate Against Poor Whites?

Time, inc.
Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010

Sociologist Thomas Espenshade got an unexpected bout of publicity last week when a New York Times columnist used a study he published in October, a 500-page tome on college-admissions practices at eight elite schools, to argue that working-class whites — as well as whites in rural areas — get the short end of the stick. As columnist Ross Douthat sparked a viral rebirth of the affirmative-action debate, Espenshade was quick to point out that the newspaper article had overreached with the data. He talked to TIME's Katy Steinmetz about his 2009 work, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, and detailed what this decade-long admissions investigation did and did not uncover. (See TIME's special report on paying for college.)
Douthat cited your study to say that the gatekeepers of elite education seem inclined to exclude the poor of red-state America. You say those findings go beyond your study. How? What I think he did was take a relatively minor finding and push an interpretation that goes beyond the bounds of available evidence. We have this finding that if students held leadership positions or won awards in career-oriented extracurricular activities when they were in high school, there was a slightly negative impact on their chances of being admitted to one of these top private schools. (Comment on this story.)

Read more:,8599,2006805,00.html?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz0v0Lre6UD

American Association for Affirmative Action Responds to Senator James Webb’s Call to End Affirmative Action for Hispanics and Asians

American Association for Affirmative Action
Responds to Senator James Webb’s Call to End Affirmative Action for Hispanics and Asians

Association of diversity and civil rights professionals invites Virginia Senator to meet and discuss what Affirmative Action is and is not

For Immediate Release: July 27, 2010
Contact: Shirley J. Wilcher (240) 893-9475

Washington, DC, July 27, 2010 - The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), an association of equal employment opportunity (EEO), diversity and affirmative action professionals founded in 1974, expressed dismay regarding Senator James Webb’s opinion editorial in the Wall Street Journal. In his op-ed titled “Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege,” (July 22, 2010), Senator Webb called for the end of Affirmative Action programs, except for those intended for African Americans. The Association wrote a letter to the Senator on July 27, 2010, and stated:

We agree with your assessment that nondiscrimination laws should be applied
equally among all citizens. You may not know, however, that anti-discrimination
laws, which banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin in 1964 as well as disability and veterans’ status in 1973 and
1974, protect everyone, including white men and women.
The Association explained that national origin discrimination was among the original covered categories in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because of the persistent exclusion of individuals who, by virtue of their language, ancestry, culture or birthplace were denied access to employment or educational opportunities. “Affirmative action laws were added as a means of promoting equal opportunity and remedying the effects of discrimination,” said Gregory T. Chambers, AAAA President. “Affirmative action is necessary, fair, prevents discrimination and gives everyone an opportunity to compete regardless of race, ability or gender,” he added.

Discrimination is grounded in prejudice resulting in unjust exclusion of qualified individuals in the workforce, academe and government contracting. There is a well-established history of discrimination against Asians and Hispanics as well as African Americans, women and individuals with disabilities in the USA.

AAAA urged Senator Webb to meet with its leadership in Washington, DC in September. “We invite the Senator to have a dialogue with us in order to be properly informed about affirmative action law and policy,” said Mr. Chambers.

Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA) 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 and Affirmative Action, go to

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Virginia NAACP head slams Webb for affirmative action column

The Washington Post
Virginia Politics Blog
By Ben Pershing July 26, 2010; 5:16 PM ET

The head of the Virginia Conference of the NAACP lashed out at Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) Monday, three days after Webb stirred controversy with an op-ed piece suggesting most government diversity programs should be abolished because they "marginalized" white Americans.
In a Wall Street Journal column published Friday, titled "Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege," Webb complained that "the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America." As he has repeatedly in the past, including during his 2006 campaign, Webb said that affirmative action programs made sense for African Americans who suffered from the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow laws but not for other ethnic groups and recent immigrants.
Webb's column drew attention but did not spark much vocal criticism Friday, other than from former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. But now King Salim Khalfani, the executive director of the NAACP's Virginia State Conference, has unloaded on Virginia's senior senator.

Full Blog:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Webb Perpetuates a Myth of His Own.

The American Prospect
Posted by Monica Potts on July 26, 2010 2:52 PM

There's a way to care about and address poverty in every community where it manifests itself without positing that poor whites in America suffer with no help while poor blacks, Latinos, and new immigrants benefit from a slew of government programs. Unfortunately, that's not the kind of writing Sen. Jim Webb did last week, or Ross Douthat did before that, or Daniel Foster did when he wrote about Douthat's column. All of these authors write about poor whites as if they haven't gotten assistance from the government, but poor minorities have. Douthat and Foster were concerned with college admissions and a study that showed lower-income whites were not given extra consideration over their wealthier counterparts. Webb's concern was with non-black minorities and new immigrants whom he says affirmative action was never meant to help. (He also asserts that decades of affirmative action have marginalized white workers, but fails to show how. Such an assertion ignores that the current recession is worse for communities of color, especially black communities, in just about every way possible.)

Full Blog Post:

Financial Reform Bill Would Impose Diversity Requirements for Federal Contractors

Connecticut Employment Law Blog
Posted at 8:15 AM on July 14, 2010 by Daniel Schwartz

Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd has been spearheading a massive financial reform package that will have a noticeable impact on that industry, including many businesses based here in Connecticut.
The final Conference Report (which you can download here, all 884 pages worth!), contains several provisions that will affect financial services employers who will be dealing with either existing or newly created federal agencies in the financial services area.
Section 342 of the bill would create an "Office of Minority and Women Inclusion" in the each of the 20 or so financial-services agencies; those offices would be responsible for all matters "relating to diversity in management, employment and business activities". However, these new offices would not be responsible for enforcement of various civil rights laws.
So what would be the duties of these offices? To develop standards for:
equal employment opportunity and the racial, ethnic,and gender diversity of the workforce and senior management of the agency;
increased participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the programs and contracts of the agency, including standards for coordinating technical assistance to such businesses; and
assessing the diversity policies and practices of entities regulated by the agency.
For contract proposals, the agencies must also set up procedures that include a component that consideration to the diversity of the applicant (to the extent that it is consistent with other federal anti-discrimination laws).

Full Blog Post:

EEOC Releases Federal Work Force Report

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Number of Workers With Targeted Disabilities Holds Steady After 13 Years of Decline, While Federal Agencies’ Efficiency in the Complaint Process Slips
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released its Annual Report on the Federal Work Force for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009. The full text of the report is available on the agency’s web site at The report assesses the state of equal employment opportunity throughout the federal work force – including trends in the composition of the workforce, and data concerning complaints of employment discrimination in the federal sector – and includes practical tips for agencies to improve their performance. Over the last ten years, the EEOC has found that there have been subtle changes in the composition of the federal work force. Overall, the participation rates of women, Hispanic or Latinos, and Asians have increased slightly. The number of women in the federal work force rose from 42.3 percent to 44.06 percent; Hispanics / Latinos from 6.81 percent to 7.90 percent; and Asian-Americans from 5.22 percent to 5.84 percent. The total work force increased by 15.09 percent.Additionally, in FY 2009, for the first time since FY 1995, the percentage of people with targeted disabilities in federal jobs held steady, halting a 13-year decline. However, despite a modest net gain of 236 employees in FY 2009 over FY 2008, people with targeted disabilities still remain below one percent (0.88 percent) of the total work force. Targeted disabilities include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental retardation, mental illness, and distortion of the limb and/or spine.In FY 2009, federal employees and applicants filed 16,947 complaints alleging employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability and reprisal. Unlike the private sector, federal agencies themselves are responsible for processing and investigating charges of discrimination filed against them. The average processing time for conducting investigations rose from 180 days in FY 2008 to 186 days in FY 2009. In addition, the average processing time for closing complaints was 344 days, an increase from the 336 days in FY 2008. Of the 6,905 cases closed on the merits, 2.98 percent resulted in findings of unlawful discrimination. In addition, the parties entered into settlements in 3,394 complaints, or 21 percent of the total complaint closures.“As the largest employer in the nation, the federal government should lead the way in creating a diverse and just workplace,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “Government employers need to continue to recruit and promote employees who represent the tapestry of America. They must also improve the efficiency of the complaint process so that justice delayed is not justice denied. We look forward to assisting the federal government to become an exemplary employer.”The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at

Employer Must Provide Names and Addresses of Possible Victims of Discrimination to EEOC

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Court Finds Production of Contact Information Appropriate in Litigation and Refuses to Restrict EEOC Communication with Potential Class Members
CHICAGO – Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has ruled that a major trucking industry employer must provide the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with a list of the names with last known addresses and phone numbers of all African-American employees employed at its Chicago Ridge facility from 2004 until the facility was closed in 2009. The EEOC has alleged that the trucking company, Yellow Transportation/YRC (“Yellow”), engaged in widespread discrimination against its African-American employees by fostering a racially hostile work environment, including the presence of nooses and racist graffiti, and by subjecting African-American employees to discriminatory terms and conditions of employment The EEOC is seeking relief on behalf all affected African-American employees who worked at Yellow’s Chicago Ridge terminal from 2004 until the facility was closed in 2009. EEOC moved to compel Yellow to produce contact information for all African-American employees who worked at the Chicago Ridge terminal from 2004 until the facility was closed. Yellow had argued that the EEOC’s request for the full list was beyond the scope of discovery. The court rejected Yellow’s argument and held that, in the course of the on-going litigation, production of the complete list of all African-American employees who worked at the facility was warranted. The court further found there was no basis to limit the EEOC’s request to the specific job categories held by the charging parties, since there is no reason to believe the alleged conduct was limited to those specific job categories and the EEOC’s complaint did not limit its class allegations to specific job categories.The court also rejected Yellow’s request to restrict the EEOC’s communication with potential class members, finding that the company had provided no basis for restricting the EEOC’s communications with the prospective class for whom it is seeking relief. EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, John Hendrickson, said, “It’s ironic how some employers are so recalcitrant about identifying those who are most likely to be within the class of individuals who suffered discrimination, and then later try to block relief on the grounds that EEOC delayed identification of the very individuals the employers attempted to conceal. Of course, that’s nonsense and stands reality on its head, so we are pleased whenever courts decline to encourage defendant employers to go down that road.”EEOC’s case is captioned EEOC v. Yellow Transportation Inc. and YRC, Inc., Northern District of Illinois No. 09 C 7693. The decision was entered by the court this Wednesday, July 21, 2010.In addition to Hendrickson, EEOC is represented by Supervisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour and Trial Attorneys Richard Mrizek, Ethan Cohen, and Deborah Hamilton. 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 informationabout the Commission is available on its web site at

National Equal Pay Task Force May Include Revised Equal Opportunity Survey

The Administration's newly announced Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force brings together the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the Department of Justice and the Office of Personnel Management. The Task Force was convened to "crack down" on violations of the nation's equal pay laws and to better coordinate the enforcement of these laws. The task force also offers recommendations for better collection of wage data, in order to ascertain the full scope of the wage gap. Third, the task force will design employer and employee education programs to improve their knowledge of rights and responsibilities under the equal pay laws. Since the General Accountability Office has identified an eleven cent wage gap between women and men in the federal workforce, the group will study the reasons for this gap. The Administration is also supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act that awaits action in the Congress.

Among the Recommendations of the Task Force are:

1. Improve interagency coordination and enforcement efforts to maximize the effectiveness of existing authorities. The EEOC, DOJ, and DOL will establish a standing working group to coordinate interagency enforcement of wage discrimination laws and to help implement Task Force recommendations. The agencies will focus on improving coordination and communication among the agencies, coordinating investigations and litigation, identifying areas in which they can issue joint guidance to employers and employees, and conducting joint training as appropriate. The agencies will confer with one another to promote consistency in policy and litigation positions, including opportunities to file amicus briefs. The working group will focus on the following specific functions.

2. Collect data on the private workforce to better understand the scope of the pay gap and target enforcement efforts. Private sector employers are not required to systematically report gender-identified wage data to the federal government. This lack of data makes identifying wage discrimination difficult and undercuts enforcement efforts. We must identify ways to collect wage data from employers that are useful to enforcement agencies but do not create unnecessary burdens on employers. The Administration will issue a notice seeking input as to whether the Equal Opportunity Survey, which was rescinded during the Bush Administration, should be redesigned in order to collect compensation data while minimizing the burden on employers.

Additional recommendations of the Task Force can be found by clicking here:

US Labor Department seeks public input to strengthen disability regulations

News Release
OFCCP News Release: [06/09/2010]

Contact Name: Jesse Lawder Michael Volpe

Phone Number: (202) 693-4659 or x3984

Release Number: 10-1015-NAT
US Labor Department seeks public input to strengthen disability regulations

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is seeking input from the public on ways to strengthen its regulations requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. In an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be published in the Federal Register July 23, the agency invites the public to help revise the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
"Equal access to employment is a fundamental right of every American," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "It's time to update this regulation to ensure that everyone has access to good jobs, including individuals with disabilities."
The Section 503 regulations have required equal employment opportunity and affirmative action since the 1970s, yet the rate of disabled people who are unemployed or not in the labor force remain significantly higher than those without disabilities. According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21.7 percent of people with disabilities were in the labor force in June 2010, compared with 70.5 percent of people with no disability. In addition, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 14.4 percent, compared with 9.4 percent unemployment for those without a disability.
"Work is central to every person's financial independence, sense of self and integrity," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "OFCCP is re-examining its affirmative action regulations so that people with disabilities can be assured that federal contractors are proactively seeking them out for employment."
Topics on which comment is requested include:
What employment practices have been effective in recruiting, hiring, advancing and retaining qualified individuals with disabilities.
What data are available that could be used to establish hiring goals and conduct utilization analyses of individuals with disabilities.
How linkage agreements between federal contractors and organizations that focus on the employment of qualified individuals with disabilities can be strengthened to increase effectiveness.
Comments must be received by OFCCP within 60 days of the ANPRM's publication. To read the ANPRM or submit a comment, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at The deadline for receiving comments is ­­Sept. 21, 2010.
OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, 38 U.S.C. 4212. These laws prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and veteran status. They also require affirmative action in employment by federal contractors and subcontractors.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thrown to the Wolves

The New York Times
Published: July 23, 2010

The Shirley Sherrod story tells us so much about ourselves, and none of it is pretty. The most obvious and shameful fact is that the Obama administration, which runs from race issues the way thoroughbreds bolt from the starting gate, did not offer this woman anything resembling fair or respectful treatment before firing and publicly humiliating her.

Moving with the swiftness of fanatics on a hanging jury, big shots in the administration and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News came to exactly the same conclusion: Shirley Sherrod had to go — immediately! No time for facts. No time for justice.
What we have here is power run amok. Ms. Sherrod was not even called into an office to be fired face to face. She got the shocking news in her car. “They called me twice,” she told The Associated Press. “The last time, they asked me to pull over to the side of the road and submit my resignation on my BlackBerry, and that’s what I did.”
This woman was thrown to the wolves without even the courtesy of a conversation. Her side of the story? The truth? The administration wasn’t interested.

Full Story:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege

The Wall Street Journal
Opinion Journal
JULY 22, 2010

The NAACP believes the tea party is racist. The tea party believes the NAACP is racist. And Pat Buchanan got into trouble recently by pointing out that if Elena Kagan is confirmed to the Supreme Court, there will not be a single Protestant Justice, although Protestants make up half the U.S. population and dominated the court for generations.
Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future.
I have dedicated my political career to bringing fairness to America's economic system and to our work force, regardless of what people look like or where they may worship. Unfortunately, present-day diversity programs work against that notion, having expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white.
In an odd historical twist that all Americans see but few can understand, many programs allow recently arrived immigrants to move ahead of similarly situated whites whose families have been in the country for generations.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nell Irvin Painter’s Note to On Point: Race and NYTimes’ Ross Douthat
On Point
Posted by John Wihbey on Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We had a debate today over emerging issues of race, class, and anxiety for whites in 21st century America. (Audio is available here.) New York Times columnist Ross Douthat got the discussion going this week with his column, “The Roots of White Anxiety.”
One of our guests, Nell Irvin Painter, author of “The History of White People” and a longtime Princeton professor, took on some of Douthat’s ideas on air today. And she wrote in after our show to share more thoughts. We post her note here:
To the On Point Blog, from Nell Painter, 21 July 2010:
Today’s program left me wishing I had been able to say more about the historical context of comments like Ross Douthat’s (remember Michael Novak?). And more about the spurious opposition of race versus class.
Issues of race and class, though not the same, aren’t mutually exclusive. Both forces can be operating at the same time, even though race and class are different aspects of an individual or a family’s identity. I feel strongly that the economic status of a college applicant’s family should be taken into account, say through needbased scholarships, because it’s harder to achieve a strong grade-point average if you have to work full-time than if your finances aren’t precarious. An institution like Metropolitan College (formerly Audrey Cohen College) in New York City shows what working adults can do with support. There should be more like it.
Now, as for history: the theme of tracing the anxieties of white Americans to the supposed advantages of other people, especially black people, is far older than affirmative action.

Full Story:

USDA Flap Shows 'Post-Racial' Future Has Not Arrived


by Alan Greenblatt

July 21, 2010

The decision to fire Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod — an action Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has now rescinded — is clearly part of a larger debate about discrimination and racial sensitivity in the public sphere.
It's also evidence that hopes so often expressed during the 2008 presidential campaign that Barack Obama would lead the country into a "post-racial" future have thus far gone unrealized. The controversy has brought up complaints about past government discrimination against African-Americans and highlighted a feeling among some whites that the administration is biased against them.
In video posted online, Sherrod is seen recounting her thoughts that a white farmer who came to her for aid in 1986 should go seek help from "his own kind." But the clip initially posted by blogger Andrew Breitbart failed to show the larger context of her remarks, in which Sherrod described how she had overcome such sentiments.

Picture: Shirley Sherrod, NPR

Arrests highlight education busing issues


By Liane Membis, Special to CNN
July 21, 2010 2:30 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- The arrest of 19 protesters at a rancorous school board meeting Tuesday brings the issue of busing and diversity in education into the national spotlight.
The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and local African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches held a mass mobilization march Tuesday in Raleigh, North Carolina, to protest the recent decision by the Wake County Board of Education to end a 10-year-old socioeconomic diversity plan for public schools. The school board voted 5-4 on March 23 to end "forced busing," a method initiated in the 1970s to promote diversity in public schools.

Affirmative Action Suit Challenges UT Admission Policy

The Texas Tribune
by Morgan Smith July 21, 2010

If two young women have their way, the University of Texas may soon rival the University of Michigan as the nation's top breeding ground for affirmative action jurisprudence.
Abigail Fisher and her co-plaintiff, Rachel Michalewicz, are the faces of a movement to overturn a landmark 2003 U.S. Supreme Court opinion allowing the use of race in the admissions process at the Michigan Law School. Their chosen target is UT, which denied them both admission in 2008. They believe that happened because they're white.
On Aug. 3, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in their lawsuit, which has attracted widespread attention from the legal community, including an amicus brief from the Obama administration in support of the university’s position. The case threatens to reinvigorate an ideological skirmish that reached its peak in the late 1990s.
Fisher and Michalewicz’s challenge to the use of race is the first in an undergraduate setting since the high court handed down Grutter v. Bollinger and its companion case, Gratz v. Bollinger — a pair of decisions that articulated how schools could use race-based affirmative action to select their incoming classes. The current plaintiffs lost in district court, in a 2009 ruling that affirmed the university’s policies were within constitutional bounds set forth in Grutter, which allows schools to use race as factor in the holistic consideration of candidates. (Explore annotated versions of both sides' appellate briefs and the district court's opinion here.)

Full Story:

Sherrod not sure she would go back to Ag Dept

Yahoo News

By MARY CLARE JALONICK and BEN EVANS, Associated Press Writers Mary Clare Jalonick And Ben Evans, Associated Press Writers – 22 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The woman at the center of a racially tinged firestorm involving the Obama administration and the NAACP said Wednesday she doesn't know if she'd return to her job at the Agriculture Department, even if asked.
"I am just not sure how I would be treated there," Shirley Sherrod said in a nationally broadcast interview. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he would reconsider the department's decision to oust Sherrod over her comments that she didn't give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago.
The White House called the Agriculture Department Tuesday night after more information about Sherrod's remarks emerged, a White House official said. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the call, said the White House and the department agreed that the case should be reviewed based on the new evidence.

Picture: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Judiciary panel OKs Elena Kagan for Supreme Court

Yahoo News
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer 13 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Pushing toward an election-year Supreme Court confirmation vote, a polarized Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday approved Elena Kagan to be the fourth female justice. Just one Republican joined Democrats to approve Kagan's nomination and send it to the full Senate, where she's expected to win confirmation within weeks.
"Elena Kagan will be confirmed," predicted Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Judiciary chairman. "She will go on the U.S. Supreme Court."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., broke with his party to cast the sole GOP "yes" vote on President Obama's nominee to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in June. The vote was 13-6.

Full Story:

Arizona's new racial rampage, banning affirmative action

It's not enough to target immigrants, now the state goes after all minorities

By: Nadra Kareem TheLoop21 (Add to your loop) Mon, 07/19/2010 - 09:51

Arizona is still making headlines for its controversial stance on undocumented immigrants. Come November, though, the state will be in the news in relation to a ballot initiative that aims to ban affirmative action there. Proposition 107, the brainchild of anti-affirmative action crusader Ward Connerly, will amend the state constitution to prohibit race-based preferences in public employment, education and contracting.
This marks the first time Arizonans will vote on affirmative action. If the initiative passes, a likely outcome given the state’s conservative disposition, you can bet that the percentage of Latinos, Native Americans and blacks in public agencies will plummet, a shame considering that minorities are already woefully underrepresented in these sectors.
Connerly, who’s helped get similar measures passed in California, Michigan and other states, tried to put an anti-affirmative action proposition known as the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative on the 2008 ballot.
The fact that the initiative failed to garner enough signatures from voters ultimately disqualified it from appearing on the ballot. But that didn’t stop Connerly. In 2009, the former University of California regent teamed up with Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce and Arizona State Rep. Steve Montenegro to sidestep the need for signatures by swaying the State House and Senate to green light it for inclusion on the November 2010 ballot.

Picture of Ward Connerly from the Loop 21


For Immediate Release
July 20, 2010
Vice President Biden Holds Middle Class Task Force Event on Work and Family
Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force Releases Recommendations;
White House Council on Women and Girls Launches Work-Flex Event Starter Kit

WASHINGTON – Today, Vice President Joe Biden held a Middle Class Task Force event on solutions for families balancing the dual demands of work and caring for family. The Vice President and members of the White House Middle Class Task Force and Council on Women and Girls announced recommendations from the Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force and discussed the Administration’s ongoing commitment to improving work-family balance for all Americans.
Chair of the White House Middle Class Task Force, Vice President Biden said: “Women make up nearly half of all workers on U.S. payrolls, and two-thirds of families with children are headed either by two working parents or by a single parent who works. Yet, the workplace has, for the most part, not changed to reflect these realities – and it must. Closing the gender pay gap, helping parents keep their jobs while balancing family responsibilities, and increasing workplace flexibility – these are not only women’s issues, they are issues of middle class economic security.”
To implement President Obama’s pledge in the State of the Union address to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, the Administration created the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, bringing together the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Department of Labor (“DOL”), and the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”).
Although a number of laws exist to address equal pay enforcement, the Task Force has identified five persistent challenges in this area, made recommendations to address each challenge, and developed an action plan to implement those recommendations. The recommendations from the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force are as follows:
1. Improve interagency coordination and enforcement efforts to maximize effectiveness of existing authorities.
2. Collect data on the private workforce to better understand the scope of the pay gap and target enforcement efforts.
3. Undertake a public education campaign to educate employers on their obligations and employees on their rights.
4. Implement a strategy to improve the federal government’s role as a model employer.
5. Work with Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
To read more about this set of recommendations and action plan, please click here.
The White House Council on Women and Girls also announced the White House’s launch of a Work-Flex Event Starter Kit to encourage greater dialogue around workplace flexibility at the community level and bring people together to start making changes. Employees, businesses, and universities are encouraged to use the Event Starter Kit to host a discussion in their own community about how innovative workplace flexibility policies can help employees balance work and family responsibilities, while simultaneously improving employers’ bottom lines. To view the White House’s Work-Flex Event Starter Kit, please click here.
At the event, the Vice President was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, and Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Jacqueline Berrien. Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by President Obama to fight pay discrimination and ensure fundamental fairness to American workers, introduced the Vice President.
The Department of Justice: Attorney General Eric Holder pledged that the Department of Justice and other enforcement agencies will coordinate and collaborate through investigations, litigation, policy guidance, data analysis, and public education efforts to make meaningful progress in closing the wage gap. Already, the Justice Department, in conjunction with the EEOC and four of its district offices, has launched a robust and intensive pilot program to coordinate the investigation and litigation of charges against state and local government employers. The Department is also coordinating with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to better enforce the laws that protect the civil rights of employees of federal contractors. The Attorney General recommitted the Department of Justice to these critical efforts and to ensuring equal opportunity and equal treatment in the workplace. For more information, please visit:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: The EEOC committed to engage in increased outreach and education to improve awareness of wage discrimination laws; evaluate wage data collection needs and current capabilities, working in concert with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to avoid duplicative data collection efforts; work with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to improve the federal government’s status as a model employer; and work with the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice to improve interagency coordination toward enforcement of our nation’s wage discrimination laws. For more information, please visit:
The Department of Labor: Through a collaborative effort between the Departments of Labor, Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Administration will ensure strategic enforcement of pay discrimination cases. In addition to hiring nearly 200 more enforcement staff, DOL will publish an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking early next year. The ANPRM will seek input from stakeholders on how the Equal Opportunity survey can be improved. The Labor Department will also launch new public education efforts, including an Equal Pay Checklist, a revamping of the Equal Pay Employer Self-Audit tool, and hosting an Equal Pay Research Summit.
To address issues related to work/family balance, the Labor Department will conduct a new Family and Medical Leave Act survey in 2011. The survey will provide needed insights into how families use leave. In addition to baseline data collection, the survey will also provide information on regulatory changes including a recent administrative interpretation of the FMLA. In 2011, DOL intends to sponsor a supplement to the American Time Use Survey. The data collection will be designed to gather more information on parental leave, child care responsibilities, family leave insurance program usage, and other issues related to the intersection of work and family responsibilities. Building on the White House’s Flexibility Forum, the Department will also host a series of “National Dialogue on Workplace Flexibility” forums across the country. For more information about the U.S. Labor Department’s pay equity and workplace flexibility initiatives, please visit:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rush Limbaugh and race
Posted: July 19, 2010

The game that radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh plays isn’t new. History is full of individuals who’ve sought to forge a coalition by rallying people against “the other.” What makes Limbaugh different is the lack of consequence and public outcry over his repeated racist remarks. Just this past weekend, Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams was punted from the National Tea Party Federation for racist garbage about the NAACP that he posted on his blog. As disgusting as Williams’ comments were, what Williams wrote was no worse than what Limbaugh says on a regular basis. So why does Rush continually get a pass? Why does Limbaugh repeatedly get away with saying things that would get any anyone else fired? Money.

Full Commentary and Video:

The Roots of White Anxiety

The New York Times
Published: July 18, 2010

In March of 2000, Pat Buchanan came to speak at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. Harvard being Harvard, the audience hissed and sneered and made wisecracks. Buchanan being Buchanan, he gave as good as he got. While the assembled Ivy Leaguers accused him of homophobia and racism and anti-Semitism, he accused Harvard — and by extension, the entire American elite — of discriminating against white Christians.
A decade later, the note of white grievance that Buchanan struck that night is part of the conservative melody. You can hear it when Glenn Beck accuses Barack Obama of racism, or when Rush Limbaugh casts liberal policies as an exercise in “reparations.” It was sounded last year during the backlash against Sonia Sotomayor’s suggestion that a “wise Latina” jurist might have advantages over a white male judge, and again last week when conservatives attacked the Justice Department for supposedly going easy on members of the New Black Panther Party accused of voter intimidation.

Full Story:

Japan Prada Case Probes High-Fashion Harassment

Women's ENews
By Catherine Makino
WeNews correspondent
Monday, July 19, 2010

Prada countersued the plaintiff in a harassment lawsuit July 12, saying she was hurting the high-fashion Italian company's brand. Rina Bovrisse says the lawsuit gives her another chance to speak up for Japanese women who keep too quiet.

TOKYO (WOMENSENEWS)--Prada countersued Japanese national Rina Bovrisse on July 12 at Tokyo District Court, accusing her of damaging the Italian high-fashion company's brand name by charging it with sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and abuse of its employees.
The Milan, Italy-based Prada claims she spread false information in its lawsuit against Bovrisse. ...

Bovrisse said women in Japan are often afraid to speak out about harassment in a way that harks back to the mood among U.S. women in the 1960s and 1970s, before they won major labor rights and harassment and discrimination verdicts.
"They were scared when one person started speaking out for their rights because they were not use to it," she said.

Full Story:

Ex-coach wins lawsuit against Clark College

The Columbian
Kiser was fired as women’s basketball coach in 2002
Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trev Kiser, a former women’s basketball coach at Clark College who had sued the school alleging wrongful termination, was awarded $545,000 Thursday by a jury in Thurston County.
“It was a good verdict today,” Kiser said, before referring questions to his lawyer.
Kiser coached at Clark from fall 1997 through March 2002. According to the lawsuit, “Clark College terminated Kiser because he took action promoting compliance with and expressing concern regarding non-compliance with Title IX.”

Full Story:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Federal Court Bars Employer’s Questions About Immigration And Sexual History In EEOC Sexual Harassment Case

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Judge Grants Order Against Inquiries that "Intimidate ... Needlessly"

PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal district court has ordered an employer to stop questioning Hispanic farm workers who filed charges of sexual harassment and retaliation with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) concerning their immigration status, employment history and, in one woman’s case, her sexual history. In June 2009, the federal agency sued Willamette Tree Wholesale, Inc. of Molalla, Ore., alleging that workers were sexually harassed and threatened in retaliation for reporting the harassment. The EEOC also charged that one Latina farm worker was repeatedly raped by her supervisor.
The EEOC, together with the claimants represented by the Oregon Law Center, sought a protective order in response to requests by Willamette Tree’s lawyers for certain information. They argued that the company’s inquiries would have a chilling effect. In an order issued last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak of U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland division, specifically prohibited the company’s attorneys from asking questions concerning the alleged rape victim’s immi­gration status, whether she has ever used another name, her prior sexual history and her reasons for not contacting police after the sexual assaults. It also bars discovery of the immigration status and third-party employment records for all workers participating in the case.
The court stated that “the public interest would be far better served” if meritorious discrimination claims were presented by immigrants regardless of their status, rather than if the “potentially chilling effect” of scrutinizing plaintiffs' documentation prevented workers from coming forward.
Judge Papak also found that the female farm worker’s sexual history is “not clearly relevant” to the claims of the case and would have “clear prejudicial effect” on the lawsuit: “to permit Willamette Tree to make inquiries into [her] sexual or romantic history would intimidate [her] needlessly.” He rejected Willamette Tree’s arguments to depose the worker as to why she did not contact law enforce­ment after the sexual violence, by observing that the woman had already testified on record “that her supervisor threatened her and her family with violent reprisal should she tell anyone that he had raped her.”
EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “Judge Papak’s order gives hope to victims of sexual harassment at work. By refusing to re-victimize the victim with needless attack on her sexual history and immigration status, the court provides key protections not only for the individual involved in this case, but ultimately for others who have been in her situation: immigrants, females, workers driven to keep their jobs, and the targets of sexual assault and retaliation.”
“The EEOC has seen an alarming rise in harassment cases involving egregious sexual assaults being committed against female workers, particularly those from immigrant communities,” Tamayo continued. These include suits against AllStar Fitness in Seattle on behalf of a Latina janitor who allegedly had been raped multiple times; La Pianta L.C.C., which does business as Frenchman Hills Vineyard in Othello, Wash., alleging that a supervisor sexually assaulted a Latina worker; and a suit with the Oregon Law Center against Woodburn, Ore.-based Wilcox Farms resulting in a $260,000 settlement in a sexual harassment case that involved a physical sexual assault. Additionally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict of $1,000,000 in favor of the EEOC against Coalinga, Calif.-based Harris Farms on behalf of a Latina farm worker who charged she was raped by her supervisor and retaliated against.
Mavel Morales, attorney with the Oregon Law Center, stated, “Our client had to overcome enormous challenges to speak out against sexual harassment in this case. We are grateful that Judge Papak has prohibited the defendants from pursuing a line of questioning that would needlessly intimidate her and discourage workers from coming forward with similar claims in the future.”
The case (EEOC v. Willamette Tree Wholesale, Inc. (CV-09-690-PK) is scheduled for trial on February 8, 2011.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

EEOC to Celebrate ADA 20th Anniversary July 22

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Speakers to Discuss Landmark Disability Law

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will observe the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 22 with two panels of civil rights experts discussing the landmark law.
Under the theme of “Celebrating the ADA: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” ten speakers, including EEOC officials and authorities on disability law and practice, along with the complainant in a key EEOC disability rights case, will explore the “nuts and bolts of EEOC work” as well as the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which expanded the ADA’s scope. The agency will also present awards to current and former EEOC Commissioners and staff who played key roles in the passage of the ADA, promulgation of regulations and guidance under the ADA, and enforcement of the ADA.
DATE AND TIME: Thursday, July 22, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
PLACE: EEOC Headquarters, Training Center, 131 M Street, NE, Washington, DC
EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien
EEOC Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum
Wade Henderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Andrew J. Imparato, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Association of People with Disabilities
Randel K. Johnson, Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Laura Hinton, National Outreach Coordinator, EEOC
Lisa Clinton Jones, Investigator, EEOC Baltimore Field Office
Allison Nichol, Deputy Chief of Disability Rights Section, U.S. Department of Justice, and Former EEOC Trial Attorney, Chicago District Office
Jean Kamp, Associate Regional Attorney, EEOC Chicago District Office
James Hill, Charging Party in EEOC v. Extra Space Management Inc.
John Mosby and Marilyn Cain Gordon, Class Counsel in Glover v. United States Postal Service
The presentation will also be live-streamed on the agency’s website.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the Commission is available on its web site at

Affirmatively Defenseless: Avoiding Workplace Blowouts

Workforce Management
Workforce Blog
June 25th, 2010

Ask senior executives to assess the risk in a business matter and many will turn first to their lawyers for guidance.
They’ll seek a legal opinion on topics ranging from employment decisions to work practices, to product development, to financial transactions, to manufacturing processes.
In our litigious society, where legal costs and damages can be crippling, this makes sense. Skilled lawyers can quickly identify legal hazards and readily find cases where bad outcomes occurred or were prevented. They will also identify strategies for minimizing risk and lay out defenses that can be constructed to limit exposure.
But my advice to organizational leaders is to rely on their legal experts with caution and in the proper context. It’s dangerous to focus only on legal risk and potential limits on exposure alone, or to give them overarching precedence in looking at business issues.
As I pointed out in my recent post “Values Trump Laws for Risk Management,” business risk is much broader than legal risk.
In today’s world, organizations that limit their risk analysis to legal exposure or, more likely, give it too much weight may put their reputations and viability at greater risk in the process. Legal risk is one of many starting points, not the end point for risk management. This is true for people issues as well as manufacturing and other business practices....

Stephen Paskoff is a former EEOC trial attorney and the president and CEO of Atlanta-based ELI Inc., which provides ethics and compliance training that helps many of the world’s leading organizations build and maintain inclusive, legal, productive and ethical workplaces. Paskoff can be contacted at

Full Blog Post:

Lawyers' Committee Releases Report Focusing on U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan's Civil Rights Record

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
News Release

CONTACT: Stacie B. Royster
202-662-8317, office

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law released a report today detailing an in-depth analysis of Solicitor General Kagan's record on civil rights issues, particularly racial justice issues. As an organization established by President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the private bar in the vigorous enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law remains committed toward ensuring that the Supreme Court confirmation process include a focus on the vital importance of protecting civil rights laws and our constitutional values.
"Solicitor General Kagan has an accomplished background and we applaud the President's nomination of such a qualified woman to the Supreme Court," said Lawyers' Committee Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. "However, key questions remain regarding her civil rights record that we had hoped would be answered during the confirmation hearings, but were not completely. Because the Lawyers' Committee's standard is based not only on a nominee's legal competency and qualifications for the Supreme Court, but also upon the nominee's civil rights record, we cannot take a position on General Kagan's nomination as we did Justice Sotomayor."
Recognizing the US. Supreme Court's critical role in civil rights enforcement and the central role that civil rights enforcement plays in our democracy, the Lawyers' Committee has long reviewed the records of nominees to the Supreme Court to see if the nominee has demonstrated views that are hostile to the core civil rights principles for which the Lawyers' Committee has advocated. Based on such a review, the Lawyers' Committee has opposed nominees in very few instances. Beginning with its 2009 report on now-Justice Sotomayor, the Lawyers' Committee also undertook to consider whether to affirmatively support a nominee by evaluating whether the nominee's record demonstrates that the nominee possesses both the exceptional competence necessary to serve on the Court and a profound respect for the importance of protecting the civil rights afforded by the Constitution and the nation's civil rights laws.
"Given Justice Stevens's leadership in protecting and defending civil rights, it is particularly important that his successor continue this commitment to upholding the constitutional principles he set forth in civil rights cases. It is the Lawyers' Committee's hope and expectation that General Kagan will in fact live up to our exacting standard on civil rights so that this Supreme Court will be a beacon of light in the quest to achieve racial justice and equal opportunity for all," Ms. Arnwine continued.
In addition to consulting a variety of sources concerning General Kagan's work in the Clinton Administration and her service as Dean of Harvard Law School, representatives of the Lawyers' Committee attended the hearings held by the Senate Judiciary Committee from June 28th to July 1st. Specifically, the following documents were reviewed by the Lawyers' Committee's Supreme Court Task Force:
Kagan's legal writings, including her signed, published law journal articles and her unsigned student note published in the Harvard Law Review;
Briefs relating to civil rights issues that Kagan signed as Solicitor General, including briefs as amicus curiae;
Approximately 167,000 pages of documents, including emails, released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum, all such documents which either were included in folders relating to civil rights issues or used terms relating to civil rights issues.
For a full copy of the report, please click here.

About the Lawyers' CommitteeThe Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment discrimination, voting, education and environmental justice. For more information about the LCCRUL, visit

Federal Government Contractors Must Report Executive Compensation And First-Tier Subcontract Awards

Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Press & News

On July 8, 2010, the Federal Government issued an Interim Rule that requires certain Government contractors to report first-tier subcontract awards and the names and total compensation of the contractor’s and first-tier subcontractor’s five most highly compensated executives. This Interim Rule implements 2008 amendments to the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (P.L. 109-282) which require reporting of Federal contract information to reduce “wasteful and unnecessary spending.” The Government has imposed similar reporting requirements on recipients of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
Application Of The Reporting Requirements: The first-tier subcontract reporting requirement applies to all Federal contractors, including small businesses and commercial item/commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) contractors, who had gross revenue of $300,000 or more in the previous tax year. Such contractors must report first-tier subcontracts of $25,000 or more, including options.

Full News Release:

To see the interim rule "Reporting Executive Compensation andFirst-Tier Subcontract Awards (FARCase 2008–039)" go to:

Friday, July 16, 2010

NAACP condemns racism in tea party
Political movement members deny bigotry; Palin appalled at accusation
updated 7/14/2010 1:17:04 AM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders of the country's largest civil rights organization accused tea party activists on Tuesday of tolerating bigotry and approved a resolution condemning racism within the political movement.
The resolution was adopted during the annual convention in Kansas City of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spokesman Chris Fleming said. Local tea party organizers disputed claims of racism and called on the NAACP to withdraw the resolution.
Debate was mostly closed to the public, but the final version of the resolution "calls on the tea party and all people of good will to repudiate the racist element and activities within the tea party," said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau.

Full Story:

See CNN video on YouTube:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

DRBA EEO/AA and Diversity Manager Selected to Lead National Organization Gregory T. Chambers to Serve as President of AAAA

July 6, 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact: James Salmon(302) 571-6409(New Castle, DE)

On July 1, 2010, Gregory T. Chambers, EEO/AA and Diversity Manager for the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), was sworn-in as President of the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA). The ceremony took place at the Association's Access, Equity and Diversity Summit and Annual Meeting held in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I am honored and proud to lead an organization that champions access, opportunity and diversity in the workplace," Chambers said.

AAAA Board Member Featured in Williamsburg Magazine

Incoming Regional Director Tammy Currie, who serves as Director of Equal Opportunity at the College of William and Mary, was featured in Williamsburg's Next Door Neighbors, June 2010 edition. According to the report, Tammy is responsible for enforcing federal regulations as they relate to workplace issues of discrimination and harassment. In addition, Ms. Currie oversees faculty recruitment efforts and ensures the fairness and transparency of the process. Tammy is active both in the university community and within the Williamsburg community.

Ms. Currie is the newly designated director of AAAA's Region III. To see the article, go to:, pp. 16 - 18.