Monday, January 31, 2011

Alcoholism Requires Inpatient Care Or Continuing Treatment To Qualify As An FMLA "Serious Health Condition"

In Their Opinion
Posted on January 25, 2011 by Michael Rigney
AMES v. HOME DEPOT (January 6, 2011)

Diane Ames had a five-year, incident free employment record with Home Depot when she asked her store manager for the company's assistance with her alcohol problem. She enrolled in the company's employee assistance program and was put on paid leave. She was told that she could return when she had a treatment plan, passed a drug and alcohol test, and obtained return authorization. She did so and returned to work within a month. The following month, however, she was arrested for driving under the influence. When Home Depot found out, it required her to schedule an alcohol treatment evaluation. The company gave her several extensions within which to schedule the evaluation. In the meantime, she sought scheduling accommodations from her manager so she could attend her Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, she provided her manager a treatment note from her physician, and she shared many of her other personal difficulties with her manager. During a regularly scheduled shift on December 23, an assistant manager suspected that she was under the influence of alcohol. She was immediately tested. When the company learned that she tested positive for alcohol, it decided to terminate her for substance abuse. Her manager scheduled a meeting with her on January 2 to notify her. She missed the meeting because she began drinking more and checked herself into a hospital on January 1. Home Depot mailed Ames a letter on January 10 informing her of the termination of her employment. Ames filed suit pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Judge Coar (N.D. Ill.) granted summary judgment to Home Depot on those claims. Ames appeals.

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Obama May Take Big Step Against Campus Sex-Assault

Womens ENews
By Wendy Murphy
WeNews contributing editor
Monday, January 31, 2011
With several universities under investigation by the Department of Education for their handling of sexual assault complaints, Wendy Murphy is keeping a sharp eye out for Obama's expected Title IX advisory on the problem.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Momentum appears to be building to do more to prevent campus sex assault.
One major sign: President Obama plans to issue an advisory guided by Title IX, the federal law that requires schools to adopt "prompt and equitable" policies to fairly and effectively redress sexual harassment (including sexual assault) complaints.
This is a welcome development. It follows on the heels of growing concern that reports of sexual assault on campus are either being ignored or subjected to disciplinary hearings that are not compliant with federal law, to the disadvantage of victims and in violation of their rights under Title IX.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Arne Duncan on Monday: We need more black men in classrooms
9:28 am January 29, 2011, by Maureen Downey

Less than 2 percent of the nation’s teachers are black males.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, film director Spike Lee and Congressman John Lewis will try to change that Monday when they appeal to the men of Morehouse College to consider teaching as a career.
In a phone interview Friday, Duncan said the nation’s teacher workforce does not reflect the diversity of its student when only one in 50 teachers is a black male. “This is a national problem,” he said, “and one in which most schools of education have not shown leadership or foresight.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Affirmative action resolution in trouble at legislature
January 29, 2011 - 1:15 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - ABC 4 News has learned that, right now, there are not enough votes at the legislature to pass a controversial affirmative action resolution. The resolution would amend Utah's Constitution to ban affirmative action.Because this resolution would change the State Constitution, it needs more votes to pass than a regular bill.It would take a two-thirds majority to pass in both the house and senate.

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America’s Business Schools Seeking More Diverse Faculty Representing Changing Demographics

Hispanically Speaking News
January 28, 2011

Since 1994 the number of minority faculty in American business school has tripled but still falls short of representing the U.S. demographic.
American business schools are realizing that just having 3.5 percent of its faculty be minorities is not enough to create a PhD pipeline, recruit minority students, create diversity in corporate America or keep up with the current U.S. demographics.
If business schools factor in Asians as a minority their minority ranks look better though still do not reflect the minority make up of the U.S. For example at the University of Michigan’s business school, they have a 22 percent minority staff if you factor in all minorities and 3.7 percent with you remove Asian faculty.

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Kasich Responds To Cabinet Controversy

10 News HD Ohio
Friday, January 28, 2011 4:48 PM
Updated: Friday, January 28, 2011 5:55 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The governor's office was speaking out on Friday over its cabinet controversy.
There are no minorities among the 20 people hand-picked to assist the governor, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported.
Gov. John Kasich's office said it offered two African-Americans jobs in his cabinet and they both turned him down, but would not release their names.
Lt. Governor Mary Taylor said that finding people of color to fill the state's top jobs are important to the administration.
"John and I, the governor and I, remain committed to racial diversity not only within our cabinet but obviously all throughout our administration," Taylor said on Friday. "We've offered two positions to African-Americans and unfortunately they took a pass."

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Haley Criticized for Lack of Diversity on Cabinet

News Channel 7
South Carolina
By Robert Kittle Published: January 28, 2011
Updated: January 28, 2011 - 6:43 PM

The Legislative Black Caucus and state Democratic Party are criticizing Gov. Nikki Haley for a lack of diversity on her cabinet. Of her 13 cabinet appointments, 9 are white men, 3 are white women and one is an African-American woman.
South Carolina's population is about 30 percent African-American and 51 percent female, according to U.S. Census figures.
"Shame on Nikki Haley," says South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler. "The faces of this state's government ought to bear some resemblance to the faces of the South Carolinians they will govern. African-Americans make up nearly a third of all South Carolina's population, but Governor Haley has willfully ignored them in forming her government."

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Obama Nominee for Judge Could Be First Openly Gay Man on the Federal Bench

The New York Times
Published: January 27, 2011

President Obama has nominated a former Clinton administration lawyer to be a federal judge in Manhattan; he could become the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench in the United States.
The lawyer, J. Paul Oetken, 45, is a senior vice president and associate general counsel of Cablevision.
He is one of two openly gay men whose nominations are pending to the federal courts. The other is Edward C. DuMont, a lawyer who has been nominated to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

One Nation, Indivisible

The New York Times
Published: January 26, 2011

Fifteen years ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit flouted Supreme Court law when it struck down affirmative action at the University of Texas Law School. Last week, in an act of redemption, the appellate court upheld an admissions plan for undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin that takes race into account to encourage diversity. The plan was adopted after the Supreme Court again approved affirmative action in higher education in 2003.

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A life in the law: Justice Sotomayor fields questions at K-State

The Manhattan Mercury
January 27, 2011 12:00 AM

Bryan Richardson
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor addressed topics such as affirmative action, legal interpretation and the importance of education during the first spring presentation of the Landon Lecture Series on Thursday afternoon.
During the forum, she was asked questions on a variety of topics by Judge John Lungstrum of the U.S. District Court, Judge Deanell Tacha of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and K-State student body president Danny Unruh.
Sotomayor said affirmative action is a buzzword that upsets many people, but she views it as expanding the pool of candidates. "It is a conscience choice by society to understand that the norms of selection that's set up were influenced by a system that excluded others," she said.

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Supreme Court Upholds EEOC’s Retaliation Reach

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Fiancé of Person Filing a Charge of Discrimination Protected From Employer’s Retaliatory Action, Court Rules

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court ruled today that the fiancé of a woman who filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), was protected from retaliation by their mutual employer and had standing to redress this illegal act. In a unanimous opinion, Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, No. 09-291, the Supreme Court held that long-standing EEOC interpretations of the scope of the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) applied to an individual harmed by retaliation, even if that person had not himself filed a charge of discrimination.
In Thompson, Miriam Regalado filed a charge of discrimination against her employer, North American Stainless (NAS). Three weeks after receiving notice of the charge from the EEOC, NAS fired Regalado’s fiancé, Eric Thompson, who also worked there. Thompson then filed his own charge, claiming his termination was in retaliation for Regalado’s initial charge. After the district court in Kentucky and the entire Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Thompson could not raise a retaliation claim because he himself had not filed a charge of discrimination, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and issued its decision reversing the lower courts’ opinions.
“We are very pleased with the Supreme Court opinion issued today,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The unanimous decision reaffirms the importance of preventing retaliation against those seeking to protect their civil rights.”
This past fiscal year, the EEOC received more charges alleging retaliation than any other basis, supplanting race discrimination charges for the first time in its 45-year history as the most numerous.
The EEOC enforces the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC can be obtained at

Perspectives: Diversity and the Future of the Professoriate – A Call to Action

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Dr. Karen Jackson-Weaver , January 28, 2011

In 1981, the U.S. Department of Education reported that 4.2 percent of full-time faculty positions in higher education were held by African-Americans. In 2003, more than two decades later, the numbers had increased slightly, to 5.6 percent. If this rate remains constant, it will take more than 180 years for the Black faculty percentage to reach parity with the Black percentage of the U.S. population. Compelled by these startling statistics, last November I convened the “Diversity and the Future of the Professoriate” conference at Princeton University’s Graduate School.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OFCCP Issues Guidance on Coverage for Health Care Providers and Insurers

On December 16, 2010, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, US Department of Labor, issued a directive regarding the guidance for assessing when health care providers and insurers are federal contractors or subcontractors. Coverage is based on their relationship with a Federal health care program or participation in a Federal health care program.

The Directive No. 293, OFCCP Order No. ADM Notice/Jr, which is sent to OFCCP staff, indicates that this directive addresses contractor coverage in light of changes to health care programs and recent litigation. The directive applies to three health care programs: Medicare, TRICARE, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).

For a copy of the directive, go to:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

E&Y CEO on what makes global leaders successful
January 23, 2011, 8:00 pm

Many corporate leaders believe diversity helps their global organizations, but too few of them actually put those beliefs into action by including foreign executives in their management teams.
By James S. Turley, CEO, Ernst & Young

The World Economic Forum put talk of diversity -- of which there is much in global organizations -- into action this year by requiring its strategic partners to bring at least one female member in their five person delegation to Davos. Certainly this was a large step in the right direction to strengthen our global conversations with new voices that may have been overlooked in the past.
Those of us in the private sector might do well to consider similarly proactive paths to generate inclusive outcomes that bridge not only gender issues, but geographical and cultural differences as well. The rise of emerging markets has created a business environment where growth and innovation can come from anywhere, which means that strong leaders must be open to ideas from everywhere. But a new study conducted by Ernst & Young shows the majority of companies struggle to put their beliefs into action.

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OFCCP Blog Spot
Thomas M. Dowd joins OFCCP as Director of the Division of Program Operations where he will oversee the Functional Affirmative Action Program Unit and DPO’s three branches: Enforcement and Appeals, Field Liaison Operations and Technical Assistance, and Quality Assurance.Tom has more than twenty years experience managing employment and training programs at the local, state, regional, and national levels. He joined the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration in 1994 as Division Director for Indian and Native American Employment and Training Programs. He rose through the ranks at ETA serving as Associate Regional Administrator in the Rocky Mountain Region, Regional Administrator in the Mid-Atlantic, founding Director of the Business Relations Group, Deputy Assistant Secretary, and, most recently, Administrator for the agency.

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Note: AAAA has confirmed that Mr. Dowd replaced Patsy Blackshear in January 2011.

Monday, January 24, 2011

High court affirms third-party standing in employer retaliation suit

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) -- Miriam Regaldo sued her employer for alleged gender discrimination. Three weeks later the company fired her fiancé, citing "performance issues." The couple then sued, claiming job retaliation for the original complaint aimed specifically at the man.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous ruling favoring the couple and concluding federal protections can include third-party victims of retaliation.

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New Report Details Minorities’ Struggles to Bounce Back from Recession

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Amara Phillip , January 24, 2011

As the nascent economic recovery picks up steam, minorities are still struggling to make gains, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. The report, “The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy,” documents that minorities continue to lag behind Whites in homeownership and economic security while reporting higher rates of unemployment and foreclosures. Representatives from several top advocacy groups held a conference call with reporters this past Friday to discuss the report, and they urged policymakers to take more aggressive measures to aid the most economically depressed communities.

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Sam Yette Dies, Wrote of "Black Survival"

Maynard Institute
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Newsweek's 1st Black D.C. Writer Fired After "The Choice"

Samuel F. Yette, a reporter, teacher, author and photojournalist whose publication of the 1971 book "The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America" coincided with his dismissal as the first black Washington correspondent for Newsweek magazine, died Friday at an assisted living facility in Laurel, Md.
He was 81 and had Alzheimer's disease, a son, Michael Yette, told Journal-isms.
"My dad would like to be known for teaching," Michael Yette said. "He was a natural teacher, and he wanted to spread knowledge and wisdom to particularly his people to help them advance the lives of his people, and journalism was his tool of preference in doing that."
However, Yette's controversial Vietnam-era book "The Choice" put him in headlines. It came to be used as a textbook on 50 college campuses, including DePaul University, the University of Chicago and the University of Nebraska, he said, as well as at traditionally black schools such as Howard University.

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Meet Societal Challenges by Changing the Culture on Campus

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 16, 2011

By Elliot L. Hirshman and Freeman A. Hrabowski
American higher education has an extraordinary record of accomplishment in preparing students for leadership, in serving as a wellspring of research and creative endeavor, and in providing sustained public service. Despite this success, we are facing an unprecedented set of challenges. To maintain America's global pre-eminence, we must substantially expand the number of students we educate, increase the proportion of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and address the pervasive and longstanding underrepresentation of minorities who earn college degrees, including in those STEM fields.

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Emory declares its regret for historic involvement with slavery

Emory Report
Campus News
January 14, 2011
By Ron Sauder

On the eve of Emory University's 175th anniversary year, the executive committee of the Board of Trustees has adopted a formal statement of regret over the history of the school's involvement with slavery.
Emory was founded in 1836 by a group of enterprising Methodists in a small town they dubbed Oxford after the famous seat of higher learning in England. The college itself was named for John Emory, a Maryland bishop who owned slaves, and a growing body of research has revealed the important role of slaves in helping to build and support the young institution.
The founders and early leaders of Emory were, by and large, supporters of slavery who were influential in bringing about a North-South schism in the Methodist Episcopal Church as the Civil War neared.
By consensus vote at the board's Jan. 13 meeting, the trustees' committee adopted a resolution declaring that:
Emory acknowledges its entwinement with the institution of slavery throughout the College's early history. Emory regrets both this undeniable wrong and the University's decades of delay in acknowledging slavery's harmful legacy. As Emory University looks forward, it seeks the wisdom always to discern what is right and the courage to abide by its mission of using knowledge to serve humanity.
President Jim Wagner and Board Chairman Ben F. Johnson III described the committee's statement of regret as the culmination of several independent factors. They include:
• A five-year, Ford Foundation-funded initiative known as the Transforming Community Project (TCP). Regarded as a national model for how academic communities can productively discuss complex racial and ethnic issues, the faculty-led initiative involved more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students in small-group meetings and larger conferences over the course of its existence. The TCP is widely credited with producing a new level of understanding of Emory's complex heritage around race and slavery, dating to antebellum days.
• The approach of Founders Week, kicking off a year-long commemoration and celebration of Emory's 175th anniversary, along with heightened attention to many of the University's historical milestones and accomplishments.
• A planned national scholarly conference entitled "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies." Scheduled to be held at Emory in early February, the conference will include a Feb. 3 keynote address by President Ruth Simmons of Brown University.
• Key questions about the role of slavery in the history of the institution raised by faculty, student and staff members of the President's Commission on Race and Ethnicity (PCORE).
"We at Emory resolved years ago in our community's vision statement to be an 'inquiry-driven' university distinguished for our courageous leadership," says Wagner. "Honestly acknowledging some of the conditions of our early founding that we find painful today is a step that we feel required to take as we live out the values expressed in that vision. I wish to acknowledge the important leadership role played by PCORE as well as that of the leadership of TCP in bringing us to this important juncture."

Johnson's father, Ben F. Johnson, Jr., was dean of Emory Law School and represented Emory in a successful 1962 lawsuit to allow private institutions to retain tax-exempt status while admitting African American students. "Emory has always been a place that seeks to act on the basis of ethical understanding," says Johnson. "The statement issued by the Executive Committee seeks to address and fulfill that aspiration."
Wagner and Johnson say they expect the explorations of Emory's racial and ethnic heritage to continue as part of the ongoing life of the University, in accordance with the University's vision statement and also with an ongoing strategic initiative studying various dimensions of race and difference.

December 2010 Disability Employment Statistics Released

US Department of Labor
Office of Disability Employment Policy

In December 2010, the percentage of people with disabilities in the labor force was 21.0. By comparison, the percentage of persons with no disability in the labor force was 69.6.
The unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 14.3 percent, compared with 8.9 percent for persons with no disability, not seasonally adjusted.
Read about the December Disability Employment Statistics
Retrieve Historical Disability Employment Data
Read Commonly Used Terms in BLS Employment Statistics

Employment Discrimination Laws ‘New Frontier’ In War Against Human Labor Trafficking

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Panel of Experts, Victim, Tell EEOC How Trafficked Workers Are Misled, Mistreated and Discriminated Against

WASHINGTON—Anti-employment discrimination laws—particularly those prohibiting race and national origin discrimination as well as sexual harassment—are an integral part of the national fight against human labor trafficking, experts testified before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting today. The meeting was held in conjunction with National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
A panel from government agencies and public interest groups, along with a victim of labor trafficking whose case the EEOC litigated, spoke about the problems in identifying, prosecuting and remedying the trafficking of people for the purpose of labor—whether bringing people from abroad under false promises of employment and wages, or from within the United States.
“President Obama has designated January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “Today’s Commission meeting highlighted the critically important role the EEOC has played in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking.”
Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the Department of State and an expert on the global problem of trafficking, recognized the EEOC’s “crucial partnership” in the interagency efforts to combat trafficking. “The EEOC is perfectly poised to contribute to Federal government efforts to combat human trafficking because of its role to enforce laws that offer protection within the workplace,” he said. “I see the EEOC’s participation in federal interagency efforts to combat trafficking as a new frontier of the U.S. approach to tackling this crime and seeking justice for the victims.”
Ambassador CdeBaca’s view was echoed by Daniel Werner of the Immigrant Justice Project, part of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who told the Commission that “employment discrimination claims are often a critical component of litigation on behalf of human trafficking survivors. The willingness of traffickers to target individuals of specific national origins based on stereotypes about who best performs certain jobs or is less likely or able to complain about exploitation places many human trafficking cases squarely within the purview of the EEOC.” Trafficking is not just a case of undocumented immigrants, he pointed out in testimony echoed by other witnesses, in many instances unscrupulous labor traffickers exploit visa programs designed to bring guest workers into the country legally.
Perhaps the most poignant testimony came from a victim of trafficking, Sathaporn Pronsrisirisak, one of the charging parties in EEOC’s case against Trans Bay Steel. Speaking through an interpreter and at times overcome with emotion, Mr. Pronsrisirisak detailed how he was lured to the United States from Thailand with the promise of lucrative work as a welder, mortgaging his family’s home and land to pay the exorbitant “processing” fee demanded by the trafficker. Instead of high-paying welding work, he was held against his will in an apartment without electricity or water, had his passport confiscated and his movements restricted, and was forced to work in a Thai restaurant without pay. He finally escaped—and through the EEOC’s lawsuit, was given the promised job at Trans Bay, along with monetary relief, educational benefits, and a visa enabling him to remain in the country and to be reunited with his family.
“Even though I was exposed to the worst in America, but at the same time I could also see the best that this country has to offer,” he told the Commission. “For example, the law that brought justice for the residents who were less fortunate and were being taken advantage off and never dreamed that this type of justice would exist in the society.”
Florrie Burke of Freedom Network USA, an umbrella organization of non-government organizations combating forced labor, discussed best practices for identifying victims and pursuing civil litigation. She praised the EEOC and particularly two regional attorneys for patiently developing and pursuing complicated labor trafficking cases—Robert Canino, regional attorney in Dallas, who brought a case against the James Pickle Co. involving men trafficked from India with the promise of well-paying jobs, but who were kept in servitude, degraded and denied wages; and Anna Park, regional attorney in Los Angeles, for her work on the Trans Bay Steel case.
“I would say that human trafficking is not only an immigration issue, it is not only a criminal issue, it is not only a moral issue or women and children’s’ issue—it is a human rights issue and needs to be regarded as such,” she told the Commission.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC is available at Specific information about the meeting, including witness statements and biographies, is available at

Jury Returns Verdict in EEOC Bias Suit; Paul's Big M to Pay $1,260,080 for Sex Harassment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Federal Agency Said Class of Young Women, Including Teens,Subjected to Verbal and Physical Sexual Abuse by Grocery Store Manager

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - In a victory for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a jury in federal district court here has returned a $1,260,080 verdict in a significant sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the agency. The verdict settled the EEOC’s suit against Paul’s Big M grocery store in Oswego, N.Y., that had charged that a class of female employees, many of whom were teenagers still in high school at the time, was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by the store’s general manager for more than 10 years.
“The jury’s award sends a strong message to employers that they must maintain work environments free of sexual harassment and be vigilant in protecting young employees one of the most vulnerable segments of the labor force,” said Markus Penzel, an EEOC trial attorney on the case. “We applaud the courage of these young women and Ms. Bradford, Ms. Goodrich and Ms. Haskins for speaking out and coming to the EEOC. This verdict shows that justice has been done.”
The EEOC’s lawsuit (2008-CV-01019), charged KarenKim, Inc. -- known as Paul’s Big M -- with sexually harassing a class of female workers from 2001 onward at the Oswego store. The harassment, the EEOC said, included egregious acts of verbal and physical sexual conduct by the company’s general manager, Allen Manwaring. For example, the EEOC charged, Manwaring suggested a sexual threesome with one teenage cashier’s mother, stuck his tongue in another teenage cashier’s mouth and grabbed and touched the breasts and buttocks of other women.
At trial, woman after woman testified that Manwaring made sexual propositions, described his sex life with owner Karen Connors, to whom he was engaged, made lewd gestures to employees and touched or grabbed them in private areas. Many witnesses testified about the longstanding and ongoing relationship between Manwaring and Connors. They cited the relationship as one reason why the store and Connors refused to take action in response to repeated complaints about sexual harassment by Manwaring.
Manwaring testified that he pled guilty in 2008 to one criminal count of harassment in the second degree in satisfaction of four other charges after four women complained to the police. Connors testified that Manwaring was only given a 30-day paid suspension following his guilty plea. The harassment continued until Manwaring was fired in 2010 for sexually harassing another young woman, the EEOC said, although she testified that she was pressured by the company not to reveal the harassment or the reason for Manwaring’s termination.
The EEOC reported that the company repeatedly failed to take necessary steps to stop the harassment, despite numerous complaints to management and the police. The agency also asserted that working conditions were so intolerable that some of the women were forced to quit.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
After a nearly two-week trial that started January 3, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the EEOC, awarding $1,250,000 in punitive damages against the company. It also awarded an additional $10,080 to 13 women to compensate them for the emotional pain and suffering they endured including Andrea Bradford, Judith Goodrich, and Deborah Haskins, the three women who first brought the harassment to the EEOC’s attention. Total damages awarded to the 13 women amounted to $1,260,080. The EEOC will also ask the court to award injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.
Ami Sanghvi, the other EEOC trial attorney on the case, said, “The harassment at the store was especially egregious because many of the employees were teenage girls who were harassed by the General Manager, who was engaged to the owner, and felt they had no where to turn for help. This lawsuit demonstrates that the EEOC is committed to protecting teen workers through strong enforcement when employers fail to prevent and correct discrimination.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC can be found online at

Supreme Court Rules Background Checks Appropriate for NASA Lab Workers

Workforce Management
January 20, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 19 that background checks for government contract workers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—including questions in the background checks about use of illegal drugs—do not violate the workers’ right to information privacy.
A group of 28 contract workers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, sued arguing the background checks violated their right to privacy. The contract workers were hired at a time before such background checks were required.
A presidential order later required the checks, and the workers were asked to undergo them. The workers then filed a lawsuit.

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New year's resolutions: what employers need to know - and not do - in the new year
Ward and Smith PA
Jeremy R. Sayre
January 1 2011
All too often, employment laws are not consistent with what many people believe to be common sense. The vast majority of employers mean well and try to do the right thing. However, as the saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Simply stated – it is hard to do the right thing if you don't understand what the law requires. With that in mind, the new year is a good time for employers to be reminded of some of the common mistakes that well-intending employers make. Resolve to think twice if you hear yourself, or your managers, making any one of the following statements:

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Salesperson's inability to fly to attend conference did not constitute a substantial work limitation under the ADA

Fenwick & West LLP
Sheeva J. Ghassemi-Vanni
January 7 2011

The First Circuit Court of Appeals (Boston) recently held in Faiola v. APCO Graphics, Inc. that a sales representative did not make "the required threshold showing of disability" under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") by informing her employer that she was not "up to" attending a conference in another state. During her employment, Faiola had been diagnosed with mild depression, but was never diagnosed with "classic depression" or any anxiety disorders. Following a decline in her performance, she was terminated. Immediately prior to her termination, Faiola informed her supervisor that she was "going through a personal crisis" and was not sure she would be "up to" attending the out-of-state conference since she was going through a "rough time." At no time did Faiola mention that flying to the conference would cause her undue stress.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Key Win for Affirmative Action

Inside Higher Ed
January 19, 2011

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the University of Texas is not barred from considering race in admissions even though the use of a "10 percent" plan helps the university achieve some levels of diversity in its student body.
The decision -- while likely to be appealed -- is a significant victory for proponents of affirmative action in higher education because of the novel argument used, unsuccessfully, by the plaintiffs in the case. The plaintiffs focused on the requirement set by the U.S. Supreme Court that consideration of race in government programs must not only be justified but also must be "narrowly tailored." Since the University of Texas at Austin by all accounts has succeeded in attracting minority students through the 10 percent plan, the argument goes, it shouldn't need to consider race directly in admitting students who don't win slots through the 10 percent plan.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Affirmative Action Bans Have Consequences

hispanic speaking
Published at 3:43 pm, January 18, 2011

As an increasing number of states are banning affirmative action in their institutes of higher education, researchers warn of the negative outcome.
It is said that the ban would result in fewer black and Latino students being accepted into the best schools, and they would instead be “shuffled-down” to less selective universities or even community colleges. White and Asian students would reportedly fill the top-tier schools.

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Special Report on Training: More to Learn
U.S. companies regained their appetite for employee development in 2010, but a new report shows their tastes are changing. By Garry Kranz
January 2011

The recession reduced the corporate appetite for employee training programs, but hiring budgets are no longer being starved.
For the first time in three years, U.S. companies boosted the size of their training staffs in 2010, according to The Corporate Learning Factbook 2011, produced by research firm Bersin and Associates in partnership with Workforce Management. The average increase was 6 percent to 5.3 staff members for every 1,000 learners.
Not a feast, perhaps, but it’s better than the recent near famine. And should their financial results improve during the next 12 months, companies are likely to fatten training budgets even more, according to the report, which is due out this month and which culled responses from 748 U.S. companies with more than 100 employees. The difference is that “learning no longer is about courses and programs. Learning needs to be continuous, and it needs to be everywhere,” says Karen O’Leonard, a principal analyst at Oakland, California-based Bersin and author of the fact book.

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First Circuit holds that Title VII does not protect employees from the "ordinary slings and arrows that suffuse the workplace every day."

Employment Law Matters
Posted on January 3, 2011 by Maria Danaher

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reminds us that while Congress’ antidiscrimination laws are designed to protect workers’ rights, they are “not intended to function as a collective panacea for every work-related experience that is in some respect unjust, unfair, or unpleasant.” Consistent with this statement, the court dismissed the claims of four female radiology technicians who complained that their supervisor’s abrasive behavior and its resulting “nerve-wracking” work environment caused each of them to leave her employment at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. Ahern, et al v. Shinseki, 1st Cir., 09-1985, December 13, 2010.

JW Marriott Sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Las Vegas Resort Staff Were Constantly Touched and Demeaned by Their Supervisor, Federal Agency Charges

LAS VEGAS — JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf violated federal law by failing to prevent and correct the ongoing sexual harassment of female resort staff, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed last month.
Since about 2003, at least two female restaurant servers at the resort in Las Vegas were subjected to aggressive sexual harassment by a male co-worker who later became their supervisor, according to the EEOC. The EEOC contends that the harasser repeatedly engaged in verbal and physical harassment including rubbing his body against the women, groping them, and consistently making vulgar remarks. The EEOC asserts that the harassment continued until the harasser was discharged in December 2007, but that JW Marriott failed to sufficiently prevent and correct the harassment despite official complaints dating back to 2006, a direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (EEOC v. JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf, Case No. 2:10-cv-02265), after efforts to reach a pre-litigation settlement failed. The EEOC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of any and all victims found during the course of litigation as well as injunctive relief to prevent future sexual harassment.
“These women worked in fear on a daily basis,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “Unchecked sexual harassment can escalate and erode the work environment; this behavior should not be tolerated.”
Lucy Orta, local director for the EEOC’s Las Vegas Office, added, “As a preventive measure, employers should train and encourage staff to report illegal harassment, and advise them that there would be no retaliation for doing so. Upon any sign of harassment, employers must act quickly and effectively address such flagrant violations of the law.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

OSHA declares texting while driving a workplace hazard
Hunton & Williams LLP
December 17 2010

Recently, there has been a large amount of public commentary regarding the dangers of distracted driving, including texting while driving. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates workplace safety, has now officially declared texting while driving to be a workplace hazard and an OSHA violation. In its recent open letter to employers, OSHA explained that:
It is [the employer’s] responsibility and legal obligation to create and maintain a safe and healthful workplace, and that would include having a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against the hazard of texting while driving. Companies are in violation of [OSHA] if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.
The Department of Labor and the Department of Transportation are partnering with OSHA in its distracted driving initiative. These government agencies are initiating public awareness campaigns on the issue of distracted driving.

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Employers beware: credit checks may expose you to unwanted discrimination claims
Greenberg Traurig LLP
Mona M. Stone
January 11 2011

Can an employer be sued based on its use of credit checks during hiring? Yes, at least according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There appears to be a new enforcement direction from the EEOC, as evidenced by certain recent court filings. Over the past several months, the agency has filed complaints on behalf of classes of workers, claiming that their employers participated in patterns or practices of illegal discrimination when refusing to hire a protected class or classes of job applicants based on credit histories.

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GINA final rules effective January 10, 2011
Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP
January 6 2011

On November 8, 2010, the EEOC issued final regulations implementing the employment provisions of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) which is effective January 10, 2011. Under Title II of GINA, it is illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts employers and other entities covered by Title II (employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management training and apprenticeship programs - referred to as "covered entities") from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information. Following are two key provisions for employers to be aware of:

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Silence

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 16, 2011, 11:45 pm

By Marybeth Gasman
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” —Martin Luther King Jr.
As we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., I am reminded of one aspect of him that is most compelling to me. Over and over, King warned us to refrain from keeping silent—to speak up when we encounter injustice. One of his most profound statements was: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” King reminded us that we cannot merely sit back and watch injustice; we need to speak out and consciously push back against it.

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Study: Workplace Diversity Must Include Buy-In From Whites

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Associated Press , January 18, 2011

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Organizational efforts to create and maintain an inclusive multicultural environment often face resistance by Whites, says a University of Michigan researcher.
“Without the support of Whites, organizations and educational settings will fail in their attempts to navigate and manage the complexities of diverse work forces and constituencies,” says Dr. Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, an associate professor of management and organizations at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “In the face of the dramatic projected growth in demographic diversity, such failure could have severe economic, social and political consequences.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Bitching Point

Meghan Casserly
Girl Friday
Jan. 14 2011 - 4:39 pm

When it comes to getting ahead at work, when does being assertive cross into hostile territory?
We’ve been told that nice girls don’t get the corner office.
We’ve been told that we need to fight harder than our male counterparts to get ahead, and that our supposed female attributes—helping, comforting, having emotions—are obstacles to overcome.
We’ve been told to be tough, act a little more like men, and to tone down the girly.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Firms Honored for Building Diversity into Projects

University of Texas at Dallas
News Release

UT System Singles Out 4 that Furthered Goal to Use Minority-Owned Businesses
Jan. 12, 2011
The University of Texas System has honored four firms for advancing the goal of using historically underutilized businesses to design and build the spate of campus buildings that opened last year at UT Dallas.
“These awards are one indicator of the longstanding comprehensive commitment UT Dallas has to engaging the diversity that it takes to deliver an extraordinary transformation of the campus,” said Dr. Calvin D. Jamison, UT Dallas’ senior vice president for Business Affairs. “Really, it’s a great business model with an outstanding product.”
A historically underutilized business (HUB) is one that is at least 51 percent owned by an Asian-Pacific American, Afro-American, Hispanic American or an American woman with its principal place of business in Texas.

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Does your financial institution have affirmative action obligations? Are you compliant?
Baird Holm LLP
Kelli P. Lieurance
January 5 2011

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a division of the Department of Labor (DOL), has recently stepped up its enforcement efforts related to affirmative action. Indeed, since President Obama’s inauguration, the OFCCP has nearly doubled in size and budget—which means that it has more manpower and funds to conduct compliance reviews and audits. In 2008 alone, prior to any change in administration, the OFCCP conducted more than 5,000 compliance reviews which resulted in a record recovery of $67.5 million dollars in financial remedies. For FY 2009, although the OFCCP changed the way in which it reported monetary recovery, its actions nevertheless showed aggressive enforcement. Such aggressive enforcement will only continue into 2011.
What is Required?
As you may know, a financial institution that serves as a depository of government funds in any amount, or who acts as an issuing and paying agent for U.S. Savings Bonds and Notes, is required to prepare and put into place Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs) pursuant to Executive Order 11246, as are federal contractors with 50 or more employees and federal contracts of at least $50,000.

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After Diversity Lawsuit, FDNY Hiring in Limbo

The Network Journal
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paul Washington is a New York City firefighter, like his dad and his uncle before him. His brother is also on the job. Some of his cousins are firefighters, too.
Family legacies aren't unusual in the Fire Department of New York, but the Washingtons are — because they are black. And the nation's largest fire department remains an overwhelmingly white force.
But a federal lawsuit, a court order and a revamped application system are offering a glimmer of a future in which the FDNY could become as diverse as the population it serves — a goal other big-city departments have already achieved.

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 20 Cabinet appointments so far lack diversity
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 5:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 12:25 PM
By Reginald Fields, The Plain Dealer

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. John Kasich is on pace to be the first Ohio governor since 1962 to have an entire Cabinet without any racial diversity.
Every one of Kasich's 20 full-time agency director hires so far has been a white person. Four are women.
The Republican governor is unfazed by critics who charge that he is ignoring diversity in such important public positions. Kasich says he has a tough job, and he has the right to surround himself with whomever he wants to help him get his agenda accomplished.

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U.S. Companies Getting Better at Hiring Veterans but Need Help to Reach Those With Disabilities

PR Newswire
News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll released today found that a majority (67 percent) of HR professionals have included veterans in their organization's diversity plan or policy during the past 12 months.
The findings are detailed in a joint poll released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University's ILR School.
The poll, "Recruiting Veterans with Disabilities: Perceptions in the Workplace," also shows that 68 percent of organizations have hired a veteran during the past 12 months, with activity high across small, medium-sized and large organizations.
"The data indicate that many organizations have hired veterans, but they have yet to realize the full potential of resources out there to help them hire more of these highly skilled candidates," said Mark Schmit, director of research at SHRM. "Also, many organizations have not yet capitalized on the great potential of disabled veterans."
Though human resource professionals are showing a strong intent to recruit and hire military veterans with disclosed disabilities, the number that hired during the past 12 months remains relatively low. Only 17 percent of HR professionals said their organization hired a veteran who disclosed a disability either before or after time of hire. Unknown is the number of veterans hired who chose not to disclose a disability.
People with disabilities are generally included in the diversity plan or policy of 70 percent of organizations represented in the poll.
Hannah Rudstam, senior extension faculty at the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University, points to further implications of these poll findings: "Employers indicate having good will and recognize the business benefits in employing veterans with disabilities. Yet they struggle to translate this good will into recruiting, hiring and accommodation practices, particularly for veterans with the 'signature' disabilities of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury."
How can HR find military veterans to recruit?
While there are several key resources available to help civilian employers recruit military veterans with disabilities, HR professionals remain largely unaware of the programs:
87 percent were unaware of the Tip of the Arrow Foundation;
73 percent were unaware of the VetSuccess Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs;
61 percent were unaware of the Wounded Warrior Program;
60 percent were unaware of the Job Opportunities for Disabled American Veterans, or JOFDAV; and
59 percent were unaware of veterans' service organizations, such as the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Among those HR professionals familiar with employer programs for disabled veterans, less than three percent reported using these resources in the past 12 months.
The poll surveyed 1,083 HR professionals from SHRM's membership.
To read this survey: Follow SHRM research on Twitter at

About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at

About the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University's ILR School
The Northeast ADA Center within Cornell University's ILR School provides employers and other stakeholders with research, technical assistance, training and resources on a broad range of issues related to disability in America. Go to Cornell ILR advances the world of work through teaching, research and outreach. ILR's mission is to prepare leaders, inform national and international employment and labor policy, and improve working lives. Founded in 1945 as the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, ILR studies many areas – including human resource management – that shape the working world and contribute to an organization's success in a global economy. Go to
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RELATED LINKShttp://www.shrm.org

Maintaining racial diversity in schools

The Washington Post
Arne Duncan, Washington
The writer is U.S. education secretary

Thursday, January 13, 2011; 7:16 PM

America's strength has always been a function of its diversity, so it is troubling to see North Carolina's Wake County School Board taking steps to reverse a long-standing policy to promote racial diversity in its schools ["In N.C., a new battle on school integration," front page, Jan. 12]. The board's action has led to a complaint that has prompted an investigation by our Office for Civil Rights, but it should also prompt a conversation among educators, parents and students across America about our core values.

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EEOC reports record rise in bias complaints, progress in trimming backlog

Government Executive
By Charles S. Clark January 12, 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday reported that private sector job discrimination complaints rose to an unprecedented level of nearly 100,000 in fiscal 2010, an increase of 6,715 over the previous year, while the agency documented clear progress in reducing a backlog of unprocessed charges.
Through its programs in enforcement, mediation and litigation over complaints of bias -- based on race, gender, disability, religion and retaliation -- EEOC in 2010 secured more than $404 million in benefits for victims from employers. That is the highest level of monetary relief ever obtained by the commission through the administrative process, the report said.

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Diversity Spotlight: Jim Vincent
01:00 AM EST on Sunday, January 16, 2011
By Steph mcKennaJournal staff writer

Jim Vincent plans to increase membership and to focus on diversity in employment, especially at the highest levels.

The Providence Journal / Steve Szydlowski
If you want to know what’s going on in the community — any community — just ask Jim Vincent.
Vincent, recently elected president of the Rhode Island NAACP, has been heavily involved in community affairs since he came to Rhode Island in 1990. “I’m thrilled to be in this position,” he says. Civil rights are “a big part of my life.”

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Medical Residents Ruled Employees

Inside Higher Ed
January 12, 2011

Medical residents are considered employees for payroll tax purposes, and therefore do not qualify for a student exemption, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
The case, Mayo Foundation v. United States (09-837), pitted the Mayo Foundation and the University of Minnesota against the U.S. Treasury Department, which issued regulations in 2004 that declared residents to be employees rather than students during their training. The department’s rules concluded that residents, who spend between 50 and 80 hours a week caring for patients, are appropriately classified as employees. Consequently, they are subject to taxes for Social Security and Medicare, which both residents and teaching hospitals must pay.

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The Gender Gap on Service

Inside Higher Ed
January 12, 2011

For years, women in academe have complained that they are assigned a disproportionate share of departmental service duties -- work that needs to be done but that doesn't carry much weight when it's time to decide who gets promoted.
A study on the issue -- by Joya Misra, Jennifer Hickes Lundquist, Elissa Dahlberg Holmes and Stephanie Agiomavritis -- is being released today in Academe. It explores the subject through surveys of and interviews with 350 faculty members at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2008-9 -- and finds significant gender gaps in service assignments and advancement of male and female professors. The study examines patterns related to specific service duties as well as allocation of time.

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EEOC Reports Job Bias Charges Hit Record High of Nearly 100,000 in Fiscal Year 2010

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Retaliation Surpasses Race as Most Frequent Allegation; Agency Obtains $404 Million for Victims

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the federal agency nationwide hit an unprecedented level of 99,922 during fiscal year (FY) 2010, which ended Sept. 30, 2010.
Despite the increase in overall charges filed with the EEOC last fiscal year, the Commission dramatically slowed the growth of the charge inventory. As a result, the federal agency ended FY 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.
"We are pleased to see that our rebuilding efforts are having an impact on how efficiently and effectively the Commission enforces the civil rights laws protecting the nation's workers," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. "Discrimination continues to be a substantial problem for too many job seekers and workers, and we must continue to build our capacity to enforce the laws that ensure that workplaces are free of unlawful bias."
The FY 2010 data show that the EEOC filed 250 lawsuits, resolved 285 lawsuits, and resolved 104,999 private sector charges. Through its combined enforcement, mediation and litigation programs, the EEOC secured more than $404 million in monetary benefits from employers -- the highest level of monetary relief ever obtained by the Commission through the administrative process -- to promote inclusive and discrimination-free workplaces.
The FY 2010 enforcement and litigation statistics, which include trend data, are available online at
According to the FY 2010 data, all major categories of charge filings in the private sector (which include charges filed against state and local governments) increased. These include charges alleging discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; the Equal Pay Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Last year, for the first time ever, retaliation under all statutes (36,258) surpassed race (35,890) as the most frequently filed charge, while allegations based on religion (3,790), disability (25,165) and age (23,264) increased. In its first year of enforcement, the EEOC received 201 charges under GINA. Historically, race had been the most frequently filed charge since the EEOC became operational in 1965.
The FY 2010 data also show:
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 resolved more than 4,600 federal sector appeals -- 400 more than in FY 2009.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site (

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Join AAAA or Renew Your AAAA Membership


Now is the time to join the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA) or renew your AAAA dues in 2011. The American Association for Affirmative Action is the association of professionals managing affirmative action, equal opportunity, diversity and other human resource programs. 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.

We help our members to be more successful and productive in their careers. We also promote understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.

STAY CURRENT WITH THE LATEST AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, EEO AND DIVERSITY NEWS and receive Professional Development Training by the preeminent affirmative action, EEO and diversity organization.

Click Here for the AAAA Membership Brochure:

Thanks for supporting AAAA!

Texas’ 10% Plan Found to Influence Choice of High School

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 10, 2011, 2:11 pm

A significant share of young people in Texas select a high school based on whether they are likely to graduate with a class rank high enough to guarantee them admission to any Texas public college under the state’s “top-10-percent plan,” a new study concludes. Such decisions to enroll in high school based on class-rank considerations have the effect of making many such high schools slightly more racially integrated while knocking minority students out of the pool of college applicants qualifying for the state’s class-rank-based college-admission guarantee, the researchers found.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Employment Discrimination Settlements Surge
January 7, 2011
A 664-page report analyzes 848 decisions rendered against employers in state and federal courts, including private plaintiff and government enforcement actions. The $346.4 million total for the top 10 in 2010 compares with $84.4 million for the top 10 during 2009.

The monetary value of settlements of the top 10 private plaintiff employment discrimination class-action lawsuits paid or entered into in 2010 totaled $346.4 million, which is more than four times the amount in 2009, according to an analysis released Jan. 5.The largest was the $175 million settlement in Velez et al. vs. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., according to the Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report by Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw.
The 664-page report analyzes 848 decisions rendered against employers in state and federal courts, including private plaintiff and government enforcement actions.

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Measurement Incorporated Pays $110,000 To Settle Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

DURHAM, N.C. – A Durham, N.C.-based educational testing company will pay $110,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that Measurement Incorporated discriminated against Jacqueline Dukes when it fired her for refusing to work on her Sabbath. Dukes is a member of a Christian denomination called Children of Yisrael which prohibits its members from working on the Sabbath, from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants because of their religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
In addition to the $110,000 in back pay and compensatory damages, the three-year consent decree resolving the case (EEOC v. Measurement, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-00623 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina) includes injunctive relief enjoining Measurement Incorporated from engaging in further religious discrimination and requiring anti-discrimination training; the posting of a notice about the EEOC and its lawsuit against the company; and regular reporting by the company on its handling of religious accommodation requests .
“Some employers still need to be educated that they are required by law to explore reasonable accommodations to solve situations like this,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District, which includes the EEOC’s Raleigh Area Office, where the charge was filed. “No person should be forced to choose between her religion and her job when the company can provide an accommodation without suffering an undue hardship .”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at

City Of Greensboro To Pay $91,000 To Settle EEOC Age Case

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
City Hired Younger Workers Over More Qualified 58-Year-Old Applicant, Federal Agency Charged

GREENSBORO , N.C. – The City of Greensboro has agreed to pay $91,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the city failed to hire a 58-year-old job applicant in June 2007 in favor of three younger candidates.
The EEOC brought the lawsuit against the City of Greensboro under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) after the city failed to hire Terry Pearson (then age 58) as an electronic processes specialist within the city’s Guilford Metro 911 Division. The job was a technician’s position and generally involved maintenance of the city’s radio communication systems for first responders. Pearson had owned an electronics repair shop and had other substantial experience in electronics repair and maintenance through various technician jobs. However, the city selected three substantially younger applicants, all under age 40, who, the EEOC contends, were not as qualified as Pearson. According to the EEOC, several individuals in the case testified that Pearson was rejected because of his age, and specifically, that the hiring manager was concerned Pearson might retire soon after being hired.
Discrimination against persons age 40 and over based on age violates the ADEA. The EEOC filed its complaint in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. city of Greensboro, Civil Action No. 1:09-cv-00576) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The lawsuit also involved a claim against the city for failure to preserve records related to hiring for the position. Federal law requires all employers to keep documents related to personnel decisions for at least one year, and further requires that employers retain such documents in the event an EEOC charge is filed against the employer after the personnel decision is made.

EEOC Approves ADAAA Draft Final Regs

January 10, 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) privately approved its draft final regulations under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). The regulations are being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other federal agencies. The ADAAA took effect January 1, 2009. The law was intended to restore the ADA’s definition of disability, which had been narrowed through a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Disabled Students Declare Independence, by Design

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 2, 2011
By Katherine Mangan
Champaign, Ill.

Until he went off to college, Leo Kullander relied on his parents and brother around the clock to help him with routine tasks like getting up in the morning, dressing, and using the bathroom.
Now the 20-year-old sophomore, majoring in engineering physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, enjoys a measure of independence unheard of for most students with severe physical disabilities.

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At Elite Colleges, Legacy Status Counts More Than Was Previously Thought, Study Finds

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 5, 2011
By Elyse Ashburn

Family connections help you get into college. And a new paper suggests that at highly selective colleges, they may count even more than was previously thought.
A researcher at Harvard University recently examined the impact of legacy status at 30 highly selective colleges and concluded that, all other things being equal, legacy applicants got a 23.3-percentage-point increase in their probability of admission. If the applicants' connection was a parent who attended the college as an undergraduate, a "primary legacy," the increase was 45.1-percentage points.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Supervalu / Jewel-Osco to Pay $3.2 Million under Consent Decree for Disability Bias

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Charged Failure to Accommodate Scores of Discharged Workers in ADA Class Action

CHICAGO – A federal judge today signed a consent decree for $3,200,000 and extensive remedial relief resolving the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) disability discrimination lawsuit against supermarket giants SUPERVALU INC., American Drug Stores LLC, and Jewel Food Stores, Inc. (collectively referred to as “Jewel-Osco”).
According to the EEOC, Jewel-Osco had a policy and practice of terminating employees with disabilities at the end of medical leaves of absence rather than bringing them back to work with reasonable accommodations. Approximately 1,000 employees of the defendants’ Jewel-Osco stores in the greater Chicago area were allegedly terminated under this policy since 2003, the EEOC said. Not all of these former employees wished to participate in the suit or were found eligible by the EEOC.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Case No. 09-cv-5637) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree resolving the case, signed this morning by Federal District Chief Judge Ronald Guzman, provides for a fund in which 110 individuals will share, bringing the average award to approximately $29,000 per claimant. In addition to the monetary relief, Jewel-Osco is required to ensure that its employees involved in making accommodation decisions undergo training on the requirements of the ADA and on the types of accommodations that are available to return their employees to the workplace.
Jewel-Osco will also hire consultants to review and recommend changes to its current job descriptions, ensure that the descriptions of the physical requirements of the job are accurate and provide recommendations on possible accommodations to common work restrictions in various positions in the stores. The company will have to report regularly to the EEOC on its efforts to accommodate employees with disabilities who are attempting to return from medical leaves of absence. Furthermore, Jewel-Osco will revise its communications with such employees to assure them that they need not be 100% healed in order to be considered for a return to work, and to inform them of some of the types of accommodations that may be available to them if they are considering returning to work with medical restrictions.
“This very important settlement underscores the EEOC’s commitment to vigorous enforcement of the Americans With Disabilities Act and to ensuring that all workers receive fair and equal treatment in the workplace,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.
Regional Attorney John Hendrickson of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office said, “It is vital that employers understand that the primary goal of the ADA is to allow people with disabilities to be active and productive members of the work force,” “Sending them home, with reduced or no pay, and without the ability to advance, thwarts that purpose. I am concerned that some employers believe that keeping an employee who is able to work off the job and on a leave of absence is a reasonable accommodation relieving them of further obligations under the ADA. Such a belief could lead to costly mistakes.”
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour added, “We are very pleased with the resolution of this case. Not only have we obtained significant financial relief for a large number of former Jewel and Osco employees, the employment practices that these stores use will be greatly improved. This is a win for the employees and a win for the company as well--it will retain employees who would have been discharged in the past, and so will continue to receive their productive and valuable services.”
In addition to Hendrickson and Gochanour, the EEOC was represented by Chicago Trial Attorneys Ethan Cohen, Gordon Waldron, Aaron DeCamp, Laurie Elkin, Deborah Hamilton, Richard Mrizek and Grayson Walker. EEOC attorneys from Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit, Indianapolis and St. Louis also participated in the litigation. According to Hendrickson, the EEOC’s utilization of attorneys from numerous offices was consistent with the agency’s adoption of a “national law firm model” approach to important cases challenging systemic discrimination, and “it demonstrates once again that EEOC has the capability to successfully litigate large cases against major employers.”
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 agency is available on its web site at

Next to be Cut: State Aid to Women and Minority Business Owners
By Joanne Cleaver January 5, 2011

What the Feds giveth women business owners, the states taketh away. Even as the Small Business Administration makes it easier for women business owners to snag federal contracts, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just scuttled its Division of Minority and Women Business Development. Such departments are easy targets for budget-cutting politicians — even as they claim that improving the business climate is a top priority.

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Interpretive Standards for Systemic Compensation Discrimination and Voluntary Guidelines for Self-Evaluation of Compensation Practices Under Executive

Federal Register
U.S. Department of Labor
A Proposed Rule by the Federal Contract Compliance Programs Office on 01/03/2011

This article has a comment period that ends in 58 days (03/04/2011) Submit a formal comment


The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is proposing to rescind two guidance documents addressing compensation discrimination: Interpreting Nondiscrimination Requirements of Executive Order 11246 with respect to Systemic Compensation Discrimination (Standards) and Voluntary Guidelines for Self-Evaluation of Compensation Practices for Compliance with Executive Order 11246 with respect to Systemic Compensation Discrimination (Voluntary Guidelines). OFCCP is proposing to rescind the Standards which have limited OFCCP's ability to effectively investigate, analyze and identify compensation discrimination. In so doing, OFCCP will continue to adhere to the principles of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII) in investigating compensation discrimination and will reinstitute flexibility in its use of investigative approaches and tools. OFCCP also proposes to establish procedures for investigating compensation discrimination through the traditional means of using its compliance manual, directives and other staff guidance. OFCCP is proposing to rescind the Voluntary Guidelines because they are largely unused by the Federal Government contracting community and have not been an effective enforcement strategy.

See full Federal Register notice of proposed rule: