Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sexual Harassment Falls, Retaliation Rises

Fins Finance
Apr 27 2011
by Julie Steinberg

The workplace seems to be getting safer for women when it comes to sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment charges across 20 different industries decreased to 11,717 in 2010 from 15,475 in 2001, according to data provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. body that oversees discrimination laws. While the decline in sexual harassment charges could point to tougher policies in the workplace that obviate the need for federal involvement, experts say that the situation may be more complicated. Women could just be more reluctant to come forward for fear of retaliation from their employers.

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PAT BUCHANAN: President Obama Is "Affirmative Action All The Way"

Business Insider
The Wire
Steven Loeb Apr. 27, 2011, 11:45 AM

Donald Trump has gone from questioning President Obama's citizenship to questioning his education, wondering how he got into Columbia and Harvard calling him "a terrible student."
Appearing on Hardball last night, Pat Buchanan refused to go as far as Trump has with really questioning the President's background, he did have his own theories about how Obama wound up getting into Ivy League schools.
"I think he's affirmative action all the way."
"He's an African-American kid at a time when everybody's saying bring those guys in, give them an advantage, move them's about whether he benefited from affirmative action. Is that an illegitimate question?

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Birtherist response highlights racial undertones of ‘debate’

Yahoo News

Wed Apr 27, 5:34 pm ET

By Rachel Rose Hartman

During the 2008 campaign, questions about John McCain's birth in the Panama Canal Zone on a U.S. military base prompted some to ask whether McCain was eligible to be president, since the Constitution stipulates that anyone not born in the United States is not eligible to be president.
Amid a flurry of news reports, McCain's own campaign announced in February 2008 that it was conducting an investigation. When a bipartisan pair of lawyers announced the following month that McCain was indeed eligible, the issue virtually died--apart from a Senate resolution that pretty much laid the question to rest by attesting to the facts surrounding McCain's birth and citizenship.
But the winner of the 2008 election, Barack Obama, has faced a relentless campaign questioning his U.S. citizenship--and thereby the legitimacy of his presidency--that has disregarded the facts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

EEOC to Commemorate Equal Pay Day With Public Forum and Informational Fair

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

WASHINGTON—To heighten public awareness of gender-based wage discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a public forum from 10:30 a.m. to1:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, April 28, to commemorate Equal Pay Day. The program will be held at the EEOC’s downtown headquarters, 131 M Street, NE, Washington, D.C., and will be open to the public.
The forum will feature the following panels and exhibitors:
10:30-11:30 Closing the Wage Gap—Perspectives on Government Enforcement of Federal Wage Discrimination Laws

Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Department of JusticeSara Manzano-Diaz, Director, Women’s Bureau, Department of Labor (DOL)Patricia Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, DOL Nancy Leppink, Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, DOL Christine Griffin, Deputy Director, Office of Personnel Management
11:30-12:30 Strategies for Closing the Wage Gap
Cecelie Counts, Legislative Representative, AFL-CIO Deborah Gillis, Senior Vice President, Membership & Global Operations, Catalyst Kate Kimpel, Partner, Sanford Wittels & Heisler, Plaintiffs’ Counsel in Velez v. Novartis Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy, American Association of University Women Moderator: Judith Winston, Former Undersecretary and General Counsel, Department of Education
12:30-1:30 Informational Fair: Learn What You Can Do to Close the Wage Gap

Partial List of Exhibitors: DC Office of Human Rights; National Partnership for Women and Families; National Women's Law Center; American Association of University Women; National Committee on Pay Equity; Coalition of Labor Union Women; Executive Office of the Mayor (DC)

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

EEOC Sues Company in One of the Largest Cases of Human Trafficking

Hispanically Speaking News
Published at 1:24 pm, April 25, 2011

The federal government is suing a farm labor recruiter out of Beverly Hills on charges of human trafficking.
Global Horizons Inc. is being sued in one of the largest cases the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ever had. The civil complaints allege that the company forced a number of workers to harvest pineapples and coffee beans while living in rat-infested conditions.
The farms at with the laborers worked were in Washington and Hawaii, and the EEOC claims that Global Horizons routinely practiced origin and race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

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QuickWire: Law School Admission Council to Make Site More Accessible to Blind Applicants

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 25, 2011, 6:42 pm
By Katie Mangan

The council that administers the Law School Admission Test has agreed to make its entire Web site accessible to blind law-school applicants who use screen-reader software, the association announced on Monday. That move is part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed in 2009 by the National Federation of the Blind.

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College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity

The New York Times
Published: April 25, 2011

Ever since Congress passed the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, universities have opened their gyms and athletic fields to millions of women who previously did not have chances to play. But as women have surged into a majority on campus in recent years, many institutions have resorted to subterfuge to make it look as if they are offering more spots to women. At the University of South Florida, more than half of the 71 women on the cross-country roster failed to run a race in 2009. Asked about it, a few laughed and said they did not know they were on the team.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

AAAA Summit Early Bird Registration Ends April 29th

Join us at the AAAA Access, Equity and Diversity Summit and Annual Meeting, June 28 - 30, 2011

Click here for Summit Brochure:

AAAA Summit 2011 Brochure with Agenda at-a-Glance

Early bird (Advance) registration ends on Friday, April 29, 2011.

Martin Castro Appointed as Chairman of U.S. Civil Rights Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C—President Barack Obama has designated Marty Castro as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A unanimous vote of the Commission approved the President’s designation of Castro as the Chairman at its regular business meeting on March 11,2011.Mr. Castro becomes the eighth chairperson of the Commission since its inception in 1957, and the first Latino chairperson in the Commission’s history. Mr. Castro was appointed by President Obama to the Commission on January 27, 2011.Chairperson Castro said, “I am humbled by the confidence that President Obama and my fellow Commissioners have shown in me by elevating me to Chairperson of the Commission. As the son and grandson of immigrants from Mexico who came to this county for the hope it offered,and as a proud American, I am honored to serve my country in this important capacity. I believe the Commission has an important role to play in ensuring that the American Dream continues to be available to all persons in the United States. I also look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners and our staff to ensure that the Commission renews its mission to be our Nation’s conscience on civil rights issues.”Chairman Castro is President of Castro Synergies, LLC in Chicago, and Chair of the Illinois Human Rights Commission.###

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged with monitoring federal civil rights enforcement. Commission meetings are open to the general public. The Commission’s website is

Revised Inter-agency Agreement Clarifies Worksite Enforcement Directives

Immigration Daily

by John Fay
Yesterday, the US Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) signed a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which clarifies the ways in which the two agencies will coordinate their respective civil worksite enforcement initiatives. Historically, both agencies have worked together pursuant to a 1998 MOU which promoted the shared interests of having a legal workforce that is protected under the full range of fair employment standards. Despite this long-standing agreement, it has never been entirely clear to what extent the two agencies would conduct coordinated or joint enforcement activities (the dreaded one-two punch). Yesterday’s MOU revision clarifies that while both agencies are encouraged to share pertinent worksite information (which would be relevant to the other), employers should generally not expect both DOL and ICE worksite investigations at the same time. Nevertheless, employers should take note that there are limited circumstances (see below) when dual investigations are not only permitted, but also very likely. Plus, when it comes to worksite enforcement, policy and practice have been known to diverge on occasion.

Full Story:,0421-fay.shtm

Civil Rights Commission announces 2011 statutory enforcement project on bullying

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Commission announces 2011 statutory enforcement project
Peer-to-Peer Violence and Bullying: Examining the Federal Response

On May 13, 2011, the Commission will hold a day-long briefing on peer-to-peer violence in K-12 public schools. The briefing will examine bullying and other types of peer-to-peer violence where students are targeted due to their race, national origin, religion, disability, gender, or LGBT-status. Student needs, promising programs, jurisdictional issues, and the enforcement efforts of the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice will be discussed.

The public is welcome to submit comments on this topic; the public record will remain open for 15 days following the briefing.

The Commission will issue a final report on this topic in September 2011.

DOL proposes rule to improve employment of protected veterans
Washington, DC (MMD Newswire) April 25, 2011 --

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs today announced a proposed rule to strengthen affirmative action requirements of federal contractors and subcontractors for veterans protected under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Veterans protected by VEVRAA include those with disabilities and those recently discharged as well as those who served during a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized. The proposed rule will be published in the April 26 edition of the Federal Register.
"At the Labor Department, we support veterans as they seek meaningful ways to apply their talents to expand the American economy. By re-examining our affirmative action requirements, we will ensure that our nation's veterans are protected against discrimination and provided equal opportunity in the workforce," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu.
The award of a federal contract comes with a number of responsibilities. Among them are complying with non-discrimination and affirmative action provisions, engaging in meaningful and effective efforts to recruit and employ veterans protected under VEVRAA, and maintaining accurate records on affirmative action efforts. Failure to abide by these responsibilities may result in various sanctions, from withholding progress payments to termination of existing contracts and debarment from receiving future ones.
The framework articulating a contractor's responsibilities with respect to affirmative action, recruitment and placement has remained unchanged since 1976. Increasing numbers of veterans are returning from tours of duty, and many are faced with substantial obstacles in finding employment upon leaving the service.
The proposed rule clarifies mandatory job listing requirements, under which a contractor must provide job vacancy and contact information for each of its locations to an appropriate employment service delivery system. The rule proposes requiring contractors to engage in at least three specified types of outreach and recruitment efforts each year. In addition, the proposed rule would require that all applicants be invited to self-identify as a "protected veteran" before they are offered a job. Increasing data collection on job referrals, applicants and hires, and requiring contractors to establish hiring benchmarks to assist in measuring the effectiveness of their affirmative action efforts also are proposed.

Comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking must be submitted by June 25. Visit the federal e-rulemaking portal,, to submit comments.
In addition to VEVRAA, OFCCP's legal authority exists under Executive Order 11246 and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As amended, these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

For general information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at

Minorities gain in corporate world (Lower Hudson Valley, NY)
12:39 AM, Apr. 25, 2011

With a brand-new law degree in 1978, Elizabeth Moore followed her peers, knocking on the doors of New York City law firms, ready to prove herself.
But her reception was different.
"Being an African-American woman, there wasn't a lot of receptivity to my joining a law firm," recalled Moore, 56, who lives in Sleepy Hollow.
The ambitious attorney persevered, securing a job in Consolidated Edison's law department. Moore left the utility a few years later — practicing privately and serving as counsel for Gov. Mario Cuomo — but returned two years ago with a different title: general counsel — the first black to fill the executive post at Con Edison.

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Employer's swift and serious response to initial complaint of discrimination pays off
Fenwick & West LLP
Victor Schachter and Betsy White
April 8 2011

A recently issued decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals (Boston), Wilson v. Moulison North Corporation, provides an excellent example of how employers can avoid liability for harassment through preventive measures and follow-through. Plaintiff, an African-American employee, brought a Title VII action against his employer alleging race-based hostile work environment and retaliation. After receiving racial slurs and racially derogatory statements from his co-workers during his first week of employment, the plaintiff telephoned Moulison, the company's owner and chief executive, and told him what had happened.

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Defendant's "overwhelming evidence" of poor performance defeats ADA claim
Fenwick & West LLP
Victor Schachter and Betsy White
April 8 2011

In Whitfield v State of Tennessee, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Cincinnati) upheld judgment for an employer who had presented "overwhelming evidence" that performance problems, as opposed to her status as a disabled person, caused her termination. Plaintiff was blind in one eye and had cerebral palsy. During her first six months in an administrative job, her work product was plagued with bad grammar, serious spelling mistakes, and difficulty filing documents alphabetically. Although training classes were offered, Plaintiff did not attend.

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First Facebook and now Twitter ... social media legal compliance challenges are no "LOL" matter!
Foley & Lardner LLP
Scott Callen
April 18 2011

Employees continue to file suits challenging company social media handbook policies and companies who discipline employee use of online tools like LinkedIn and Facebook. The New York Times recently reported, and various other media reports indicate, that absent a settlement, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) plans to commence a legal proceeding challenging a company's social media policies and response (possible verbal reprimand) involving an employee's Twitter post related to the company's cooperation with union members.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is a federal labor law that prohibits companies from violating a worker's federally protected right to engage in concerted, protected activity with co-workers to improve working conditions. The NLRB will commence legal proceedings claiming the company improperly restricted the employee's right to use Twitter to discuss working conditions with co-workers and implemented an unlawful social media policy that chilled employees' rights to discuss working conditions, which the NLRB will assert is a violation of Section 8(a)1 of the NLRA.

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Professionals Tap a Higher Power in the Workplace

Workforce Management
April 2011
Although religion remains a taboo topic at some companies, more employers are allowing workers to embrace their spiritual beliefs while on the job. By Fara Warner

New employees at Tyson Foods Inc. sit through much the same orientation about policies and procedures as new hires at any other company. But they hear from someone most employees don’t: a chaplain.
One of the company’s 120 chaplains gives a short lecture on the spiritual leaders’ role at Tyson, which several years ago rewrote its mission statement to include the words “faith-friendly” and “God.” “Primarily, we are here to demonstrate to all our people how deeply we care for them,” says Richard McKinnie, Tyson’s head chaplain. “Just as we have nurses who take care of the physical parts of our employees’ lives, we are here to help with the spiritual component of their lives.”
McKinnie’s chaplain program serves as an employee resource to help people deal with issues such as work-life balance, a divorce, or a death or sickness in the family. The chaplains are quite visible as they walk the floors of the company’s plants and offices every day listening to people’s concerns and sometimes praying with them. On plant floors, chaplains wear workplace smocks or hard hats with their name and the word “chaplain” written on the front.

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EEOC Sues Over India Immigrant Workers' Treatment

ABC News/Money
Associated Press

A federal agency claims in a lawsuit filed this week that hundreds of people recruited in India to work for an oil rig construction company in Mississippi and Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were forced into oppressive living arrangements and subjected to harsh language and discriminatory working conditions.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Signal International LLC in U.S. District Court in Gulfport, Miss., alleging discrimination based on race and place of birth. The lawsuit seeks class action status for about 500 Indians who came to the United States on the H-2B guest worker program to take jobs as welders and pipefitters in Pascagoula, Miss., and Orange, Texas.
Signal International did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

New Toolkit for Establishing State Disability History Legislation

US Department of Labor
Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

A toolkit for states and territories on how to pass Disability History Legislation is now available. Designed for ease of use, this resource will enable state legislatures to help their citizens learn from the successes of past and present disability activists who have worked to make our country more inclusive. The toolkit reflects successful strategies, templates, and best practices for advocating for disability awareness from other model states. It includes useful information on state and territory legislative systems, the basic legislative process, basic etiquette tips on working with legislators, an example of a written appeal for a disability history initiative, strategies for advocating for disability awareness from six states, and a glossary of useful terms. This toolkit was undertaken as a goal of ODEP's Alliance with the National Association of Governors' Committees on People with Disabilities (NAGC).
Read Establishing Disability History Awareness Initiatives — A Roadmap for States and Territories (PDF)

Ganley Lincoln of Bedford Settles EEOC Racial Harassment Suit for $300,000

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Former General Manager Jay Walsh Regularly Insulted and Mistreated African-Americans, Federal Agency Charges

CLEVELAND – Ganley Lincoln of Bedford, Inc., an auto dealership in Bedford, Ohio, will pay $300,000 to four African-Americans to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Jay Walsh, Ganley’s general manager at the time, routinely used derogatory terms to refer to blacks, customers as well as employees, including the epithet “n----r.” Walsh, in referring to an older African-American employee, wished the “old n----r ... would hurry up and die.” Further, the agency charged, Walsh utilized a compensation system that disadvantaged black salespeople with regard to sales opportunities and commissions.
Racial discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit, No. 1:07cv2829, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides for training on employee rights and employer obligations under Title VII, as well as supervisor accountability with regard to racial discrimination. The decree also requires Ganley to post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that provides the EEOC’s contact information.
“Racial harassment is utterly unacceptable and illegal,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “It demeans the entire workplace as well as the direct victims. This settlement – both the monetary relief and the training -- will help ensure that African-Americans at this company will never have to face such abuse again.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at

Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Settles EEOC Racial Harassment Suit for $160,000

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

White Supervisor Routinely Insulted and Demeaned African-Americans, Federal Agency Charges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Ralph Jones Sheet Metal, Inc., an architectural sheet metal company located in Memphis, will pay $160,000 to former African-American employees to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that a white supervisor and other employees subjected African-American employees to racially offensive comments. The EEOC charged that the supervisor regularly referred to African-American employees with the epithet “n----r” and used other slurs. In addition, the EEOC charged that racial graffiti was on display in common areas and on company equipment.
Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit, No. 2:09-cv-02636, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, after first attempting to settle the matter through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the 18-month consent decree settling the lawsuit provides for training on employee rights under Title VII, and requires Ralph Jones Sheet Metal to maintain records of racial harassment complaints, provide annual reports to the EEOC, and post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that includes the EEOC’s contact information.
“Employees should not have to endure a racially hostile work environment as it is a violation of federal law,” said Faye Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Memphis District Office. “It is appalling that racial harassment and the use of racial slurs remain so pervasive in today’s workplace. The EEOC will continue to forcefully fight against this misconduct.”
According to company information, Ralph Jones Sheet Metal fabricates and installs architectural panels made from aluminum composite, copper and stainless steel.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

The Segregated Workplace

The American Prospect
Jamelle Bouie March 31, 2011
Some workplaces are far more racially diverse than they were decades ago, but striking disparities still exist.

Given the proliferation of corporate publications and websites that feature smiling minorities, one might think that the days of stark workplace segregation are long gone. And while, yes, the American economy is no longer formally segregated, the data clearly show a workforce where minorities remain greatly underrepresented at management and leadership levels and overrepresented in low-wage work.
A 2007 study conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a government agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination law, found that only 20 percent of minorities are midlevel managers, despite the fact that they account for 34 percent of the total workforce. Moreover, only 24 percent are white-collar professionals and 17 percent are executive or senior-level officials. At the highest levels of corporate governance, these numbers are even smaller. A survey released last year by the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force found that just 14.5 percent of directors on corporate boards are people of color.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Federal Courts Rebuff Faculty Discrimination Suits

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Eric Freedman , April 20, 2011

In recent months, federal judges in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Arizona have dealt major setbacks to faculty members in lawsuits alleging racial discrimination at three universities:
Duquesne University
In Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge Nora Fischer dismissed most claims by Kellen McClendon, a tenured African-American associate professor who was passed over for dean of the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh.
McClendon alleged that racial bias played a role in denying him even an initial interview during a 2004 dean’s search. The hiring committee chairman, Duquesne Provost Ralph Pearson, reportedly told another committee member at the time that he “did not want to advance a ‘token’ to the interview stage,” according to court documents.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The legend of the persecuted white guy

Salon News
by David Sirota

"The Beached White Male" -- this bellowing cover headline from the new issue of Newsweek is only the latest installation of the most resilient parable in American cultural mythology: The Legend of the Persecuted White Guy.This narrative has been part of the media mix for the larger part of the last few decades, from the 1980s when it was alleged that civil rights initiatives (affirmative action, busing, etc.) were persecuting whites, to the last decade which lamented whites as "America's forgotten majority," to the present political moment in which the first African-American president is accused of caring only about his fellow minorities and harboring "a deep seated hatred of white people."

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Affirmative action isn't for white guys
Women are crowding men out of college. So be it.
April 18, 2011

By Jonathan Zimmerman
'Boys have it easy." So said my 17-year-old daughter, observing the annual college sweepstakes at her high school in Lower Merion. When letters and e-mails arrived from university admissions offices this month, most of her male friends got good news.

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Settlement Reached in Firing Over Facebook Post

Workforce Management
A Connecticut woman was fired in December 2009 after disagreements between her and her supervisor culminated in the woman’s posting of negative remarks about the supervisor on her personal Facebook page. By Jeff Casale

A settlement in the case involving an employee who was fired for posting negative comments about a supervisor on her Facebook page was made on Feb. 7, the eve of a scheduled hearing.
The National Labor Relations Board’s Hartford, Connecticut, regional office and American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc., worked out an agreement before a hearing regarding Dawnmarie Souza, a union worker for AMR’s New Haven office. She was fired in December 2009 after disagreements between her and her supervisor culminated in Souza’s posting of negative remarks about the supervisor on her personal Facebook page.

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ODEP Publishes Study Confirming Workers with Disabilities Meet or Exceed the Job Performance of Co-Workers Without Disabilities

US Department of Labor
Office of Disability Employment Policy

Using a case study approach, researchers selected 13 diverse examples from around the nation of partnerships — between employers and trusted workforce intermediaries — with a track record of helping employers recruit, hire, train, and retain employees with disabilities. Over the course of six months, researchers conducted in-depth research and interviewed and visited leaders and practitioners at the heart of these business-public collaborations. The goal of this research was to identify successful elements of these strategies and offer lessons that can be learned by employers and employer organizations, workforce development and disability service organizations, and federal, state, and local policymakers.
Read more about Ready and Able: Addressing Labor Market Needs and Building Productive Careers for People with Disabilities Through Collaborative Approaches

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Equal Pay Day

U.S. Department of Labor
News Release
WB News Release: [04/11/2011]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-8666 or x4667
Release Number: 11-0531-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Equal Pay Day
WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding Equal Pay Day, which will be tomorrow, April 12:
"As a growing segment of America's workforce, women now hold nearly half of today's jobs. Their earnings account for a significant portion of the household income that sustains the financial well-being of their families.
"Almost 50 years after enactment of the Equal Pay Act, equal pay for equal work remains elusive for millions of working women. In fact, over the past 10 years, the pay gap has remained virtually unchanged. Today in America, women are paid an average of 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. The pay gap is even larger for women of color, with black women earning about 70 cents, and Latinas about 60 cents, of every dollar paid to all men.
"When women start at a disadvantage, they stay at a disadvantage. Every time a woman starts a new job or tries to negotiate for a pay raise, she is starting from a lower base salary. So, the pay gap grows wider and wider over time. According to the Labor Department's chief economist, the pay gap for the average, full-time working woman means she gets $150 less in her weekly paycheck. If she works all year, that's $8,000 less at the end of the year and approximately $380,000 over a lifetime. That is the real cost of the pay gap.
"In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama said he wanted to crack down on equal pay violations. As a result, he established the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force that comprised four federal agencies, including the Labor Department. Working together, we have identified persistent challenges to equal pay enforcement and are taking action to address each of them.
"At the Labor Department, we are increasing our enforcement against employers who discriminate, leveling the playing field for those who do not, strengthening our regulatory authorities and creating opportunities for workplace flexibility so that women can make reasonable choices to care for their families without being penalized. The department's Women's Bureau is developing educational materials, including information to help employers identify potential wage discrimination and resources to assist employers in complying with the law. Our Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will issue new guidance to collect better data on how workers are paid as part of our efforts to root out discrimination among federal contractors.
"Equal pay is not just a women's issue. It's not just a family issue. It's a recovery issue. I am committed to finding commonsense solutions to closing the pay gap once and for all so that our nation will be a more fair and equitable place for everyone.”

EEOC Sues Owner Of 42 McDonald’s Restaurants For Sexual Harassment And Retaliation

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Multiple Women, Including Teens, Were Abused at Reedsburg Restaurant; Some Were Fired for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges

MILWAUKEE -- The McDonald’s restaurant in Reedsburg, Wis. , owned and operated by Missoula Mac, Inc., violated federal civil rights laws by permitting male employees to create a hostile work environment of sexual harassment against female employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed this morning in federal district court in Madison, Wis.
The EEOC filed suit on behalf of a class of women it said were subjected to sexual comments, sexual propositions, or physical touching by co-workers. The suit also alleges that some of the women were fired in retaliation for complaining about the sexually hostile work environment and that the harassment was so intolerable that at least one woman was forced to quit her job to avoid it.
John Rowe, director of EEOC’s Chicago District, which includes Wisconsin, noted that the agency’s administrative investigation, which preceded the lawsuit, revealed that male employees at the Reedsburg McDonald’s made sexual comments about the bodies of female co-workers, propositioned them, and touched them inappropriately. Further, Rowe said, several of the victims were teenaged high school students.
“One of the distressing things is how young some of the victims appear to have been,” said Rowe. “Another is that some of the employees who complained about what was going on were allegedly either fired or ignored. It’s cause for considerable concern, especially at a business which employs so many young and vulnerable women.”
The EEOC’s lawsuit stems from discrimination charges filed by three former employees of the McDonald’s restaurant located at 1500 Main Street in Reedsburg. In total, Missoula Mac owns and operates 42 McDonald’s restaurants in Wisconsin.
The EEOC sued after first trying to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process. The agency seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for the women who were harassed, retaliated against, or both, and injunctive relief to end the discriminatory practices. The suit, captioned EEOC v. Missoula Mac, Inc., d/b/a McDonald’sRestaurant (Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-00267), was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison. The case will be litigated primarily by attorneys in the EEOC’s Milwaukee Area Office.
John Hendrickson, EEOC regional attorney for the Chicago District said, “McDonald’s is one of the most well-known brands in America and the world, and its image is one of complete reliability, good taste and wholesomeness. What we found was allegedly going on at the McDonald’s in Reedsburg was something completely different and illegal. This litigation is going to put the Reedsburg McDonald’s under a well-deserved microscope, and, if the allegations are borne out, assure that appropriate relief is provided to the victims and that the harassment is brought to a halt.”
The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its website at

Walmart to Pay $440,000 to Settle EEOC Suit for Harassment of Latinos

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Mexican-American Subjected Other Hispanic Employees to Ethnic Slurs at Fresno Sam’s Club, Federal Agency Charged

FRESNO, Calif. – Sam’s Club, the wholesale chain store owned and operated by Walmart, will pay $440,000 and furnish other relief to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC contends that at least nine employees of Mexican descent at the Sam’s Club in Fresno, along with one who was married to a Mexican, endured ethnic slurs and derogatory remarks by a fellow co-worker who is Mexican-American. Since late 2005, the victims were barraged with near-daily insults about Mexicans such as “f----n’ wetbacks,” and references to Mexicans only being good for cleaning the harasser’s home, according to the EEOC. The harasser even threatened to report three of the victims to immigration authorities despite their legal status. The victims and harasser – all female – worked in the demonstration department, serving food samples to customers.
The victims complained about the hostile work environment to management as early as April 2006 to no avail. Instead, the complaints only intensified the harassment and led to intimidation, said the EEOC. Another employee also began deriding a victim for her inability to speak English. It was not until after an official EEOC charge of discrimination was filed in October 2006 that Sam’s Club finally discharged the harasser in December 2006.
In May 2009, the EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (EEOC v. Walmart Stores, Inc. dba Sam’s Club, et al., Case No. 09-CV-00804), claiming that the harassment, and Walmart’s failure to appropriately address it, were in direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Aside from the monetary relief, the parties entered into a three-year consent decree which requires Walmart to comply with the following at its Sam’s Club locations in Fresno and/or Bakersfield, Calif.:
review and make available its policies against and complaint procedures for national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation;
provide training to non-management employees in the Fresno location regarding anti-discrimination laws, including national origin discrimination and harassment;
provide separate training to management employees in the Fresno and Bakersfield locations which will including training on how to receive, investigate, or report to designated officials complaints of national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation;
set up a record-keeping procedure for the Fresno location that provides for the centralized tracking system for such complaints;
report the handling of such complaints and compliance with the decree to the EEOC; and
provide neutral references for the victims upon inquiry.
“We commend Walmart for taking the issues of national origin harassment seriously and implementing preventative measures,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which includes Fresno in its jurisdiction. “A work environment that is free of harassment ensures a more productive and vibrant workplace for all.”
Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, added, “National origin discrimination remains a serious problem in this region, and it is important to remember that harassment can manifest even within the same ethnic group. Employers failing to take immediate action send a message that such behavior is tolerated, giving license for others to do the same.”
According to company information, Walmart Stores, Inc. is an Arkansas-based international retailer, operating more than 8,300 stores worldwide, including Sam’s Club warehouses.
The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at

Only 3% of State Supreme Court Justices in U.S. Are Latino

Fox News Latino
By Amanda Hernandez
Published April 18, 2011
Fox News Latino

While Latinos make up 16 percent of the population of the United States, Latino judges make up only 3 percent of state supreme court justices across the country.
According to an analysis by Fox News Latino, only 10 out of a total of 326 state supreme court justices are Latino. According to an analysis by Fox News Latino, only 10 out of a total of 326 state supreme court justices are Latino. That number includes last month’s retirement of California judge Carlos R. Moreno, but not that of New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto, the first and only Hispanic justice on the state’s highest court, who has announced that he will not seek re-nomination when his term ends in September.

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Norway’s boardroom equity push spreads across EU

Economy Lab
STOCKHOLM— Globe and Mail Blog
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 7:00AM EDT

Want to spice up your morning meeting? Suggest a gender quota for the company board. Then run for cover, because few things provoke such sputtering, vehement opposition from the business community. This is particularly true in Europe just now, where gender quotas are playing a central role in debates about how to correct severe imbalances in boardrooms. Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium -- all are examining quotas as a way to get more women into board seats.

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Google won’t release minority hiring statistics, claiming trade secret

Peninsula Press
By Priyanka Sharma 17 Apr 2011

The universal search engine may not be as transparent as it claims.
Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” yet when asked to disclose data about its internal hiring process, the company flatly refused.
Google has claimed that its hiring procedures are a trade secret, but other Silicon Valley heavy hitters like Intel, Cisco, and eBay have released their data.
“All we are asking is for Google to show us the numbers,” said Len Canty, chairman of the Black Economic Council. He was among several minority leaders who protested outside Google’s Mountain View headquarters on Feb. 10, rallying for Google to be more transparent about the minorities it hires.
“Cisco’s numbers are not so impressive, but they have been transparent,” Canty noted.

Full Story:

Comcast Names Maria G. Arias As Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Priya Lopes on 04 18, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), one of the world’s leading media, entertainment and communications companies, today announced it has named Maria G. Arias as Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion. In this newly created role, Ms. Arias will direct, manage, and organize Comcast’s diversity program strategy with a focus on recruitment and career development, suppliers, programming, and community investment. Additionally, she will work closely with the Comcast Internal Diversity Council and the newly created Comcast/NBCUniversal Joint External Diversity Advisory Council to coordinate the execution of diversity and inclusion initiatives across the entire company. She will report to Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Vice President of Administration at Comcast.

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State of diversity in corporate world questioned

Torch (Roosevelt University)
By Tyeshia Pinckney -->
Staff reporter
Published: Sunday, April 17, 2011
Updated: Sunday, April 17, 2011 20:04

Diversity is a factor many companies across the nation pride themselves on, but several are not as diverse as they claim and are rewarded for, according to research by professor David Embrick.
In a presentation on Wednesday at Roosevelt University, titled "Diversity In Post-Civil Rights Corporate America: Race, Gender and Diversity Ideology," the Loyola University sociology professor explored the state of diversity in some of the countries' most prominent companies.
The event, hosted by the sociology department and the Mansfield Institute of Social Justice and Transformation, highlighted the diversity of women and minorities in the workplace through research and interviews conducted by Embrick.

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Supreme Court hears oral arguments in largest sex discrimination case in US history
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge
Windy Rosebush Catino and Barbara A. Lee
March 30 2011

Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world (with 3,400 stores globally), has been accused of sex discrimination in its promotion and compensation policies by a group of female employees. The case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, was filed in 2001, and no ruling on the merits of the case have yet occurred. The litigation so far has centered on whether the courts will allow the plaintiffs to pursue the case as a class action. Should the Supreme Court side with the plaintiffs’ class action request, the case will involve between one and 1.5 million plaintiffs, the largest discrimination class action in US history.
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, plaintiffs who seek class action certification must satisfy four requirements: 1) a sizable number of plaintiffs (not a problem in this case); 2) common questions of law or fact; 3) similar or common claims or defenses by the class representatives; and 4) a representative plaintiff who will adequately protect the interests of all members of the class. The primary issue before the Court is the second prong of the test: whether Wal-Mart’s promotion and compensation policies are sufficiently similar or common across the company to meet the test of “commonality” under the Federal Rule. In order to satisfy this portion of the test, the plaintiffs must identify one or more corporate policies that result in pay and promotion decisions that, in this case, are less favorable to women than to men.

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EEOC’s recently published final rule implementing ADA Amendments Act of 2008 takes effect on May 24
Venable LLP
Lesley Pate Marlin and Robert G. Ames
April 7 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently published its final rule revising the existing Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) regulations and interpretive guidance in light of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”). The new regulations take effect on May 24, 2011.
The ADAAA significantly changed the legal landscape under the ADA by overturning a series of court decisions narrowly interpreting the definition of a disability. Its effect has been to expand the reach of the ADA, making it easier for individuals to establish the existence of a covered disability.
As directed by Congress, the EEOC undertook the regulation revision, publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) in September 2009. We previously summarized those proposed regulations in a labor and employment news e-lert, which can be accessed here.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Miss. Senate honors Freedom Rider Hank Thomas

WDAM - NBC Associated Press - March 16, 2011 2:54 PM ET JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - An activist who challenged segregated interstate travel a half century ago says he still hopes for racial reconciliation for Mississippi. Hank Thomas, now a businessman in Georgia, was honored in the Senate Wednesday for his role in the Freedom Rides in 1961. That year, more than 400 blacks and whites traveled on the buses into the South. Full Story:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Title IX Rules Directly Hit Harvard and Yale

Women's ENews By Wendy Murphy WeNews contributing editor Thursday, April 14, 2011 It's hard to exaggerate the importance of the new advisory that the White House put out last week about the application of Title IX to tougher college standards on sex assault. A sports-equity law can now be used to combat sexual violence. WOMENSENEWS)--It's Sexual Assault Awareness Month and for the first time since President Barack Obama took office, I'm celebrating his administration for finally doing something about violence against women. After a whole lot of nothing for three years, Vice President Joe Biden last week announced a new "advisory" under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination, including sexual assault, in education. This makes Title IX far more than a sports-equity law. The advisory is meant to compel university officials to do a better job responding to sex crimes on campus; an important concern given that 1-in-5 students is victimized while in college. Full Story:

Monday, April 11, 2011

AAUW Hosts Capitol Hill Briefing on Equal Pay Day

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) announced that it held a briefing in Washington, DC on the persistent pay gap between women and men. The subject of the briefing was "New Voices for Pay Equity" and the association highlighted the gender gap issues in law, engineering, academia and public relations. The association also released a publication, "The Simple Truth About the Equal Pay Gap" during its Capitol Hill briefing. For a copy of the "Simple Truth", go to: See below for more information about the briefing, the panelists who spoke and other publications on the gender gap in their respective professions including academia: Panelists: Lisa M. Frehill, Ph.D.Director of Research, Evaluation and Policy National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering NACME Technical Report: Salaries of Engineers (PDF)NACME Research and Policy Brief April 2011: Engineering Salaries (PDF) John W. Curtis Director of Research and Public Policy American Association of University Professors Persistent Inequity: Gender and Academic Employment (PDF) Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR Associate Professor School of Journalism and Media Studies, San Diego State University Visit the Pubic Relations Society of America website for news, information, and publications about the gender pay gap in public relations. Deborah S. Froling JD Partner Arent Fox LLP Attorneys at Law Report of the Fifth Annual National Survey of Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms Angela Stevenson Public Health General Manager Wayne County, Michigan, Department of Public Health Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of Gender Pay Inequity (PDF)

Federal Court Issues Rare Order Prohibiting Termination of Title 38 Employee by Dep't of Veteran Affairs

PR Newswire WASHINGTON, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 29, 2011, a federal court issued a rare order prohibiting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from terminating a physician while the physician's civil rights complaint was pending before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case is Shen v. Shinseki. Ning Shen, 60, is a Title 38 pathologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She began the complaint process back in August 2009 alleging discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin, and retaliation, according to court filings. Since Shen began the process, the medical center has repeatedly tried to remove her, including summarily suspending her and at least six other formal actions that would end Shen's employment with the hospital. "The ruling sends a clear message that federal agencies are not free to abuse the EEOC process. The administrative process is meant to allow agencies to correct unlawful conduct, not perpetuate it," said Dave Scher, Shen's attorney at The Employment Law Group® law firm. "But the standard for gaining preliminary relief in these cases is unbelievably high. This ruling tells agencies that despite this standard, if they blatantly retaliate against an employee for pursuing a civil rights complaint, the courts will take notice." John Preston Bailey, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, said the agency's constant personnel actions created a sort of "sword of Damocles" hanging over Shen's head. He issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily prevents the hospital from terminating Shen until her EEOC claims are resolved. About The Employment Law Group® The Employment Law Group® is one of the country's premier employment law firms with offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® collectively have over 70 years of experience representing employees and litigating claims arising under Sarbanes-Oxley, the False Claims Act, and whistleblower retaliation, wrongful discharge, discrimination, and unpaid wages laws. Contact: R. Scott OswaldTel: 202.331.2806soswald@employmentlawgroup.comDavid ScherTel: This press release was issued through eReleases(R). For more information, visit eReleases Press Release Distribution at SOURCE The Employment Law GroupBack to top RELATED LINKS

March 2011 Disability Employment Statistics Released

US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Programs March 2011 Disability Employment Statistics Released In March 2011, 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 69.7. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 15.6 percent, compared with 8.9 percent for persons with no disability, not seasonally adjusted. Read about the February Disability Employment Statistics Retrieve Historical Disability Employment Data Read Commonly Used Terms in BLS Employment Statistics

Minnesota Department of Human Services Must Pay More Than $467,000 For Age Bias

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission PRESS RELEASE 4-8-11 Consent Decree Requires Agency to Pay Damages and Provide Insurance Coverage for Former Employees MINNEAPOLIS – A federal judge has entered a consent decree requiring the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to pay $467,165 to resolve an age discrimination case filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The consent decree entered by District Court Judge David S. Doty requires DHS to pay $467,165 to 29 claimants who were denied employer contributions for retiree health and dental insurance because they were older than age 55 at the time that they retired. DHS also must to offer to pay future premium costs for persons who would still be entitled to receive them but for the unlawful early retirement provision. In its lawsuit against DHS, the EEOC contended that the incentive plans contained in collective bargaining agreements for certain DHS employees violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) because the incentive plan denied the employer contributions for premiums to persons over a certain age. (EEOC v. Minnesota Department of Human Services, No. 11-cv-00678 DSD/JJG in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota). In an earlier lawsuit involving the same incentive plans, U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson held that the early retirement incentives are “facially discriminatory, and, as such, violate the ADEA.” “The EEOC litigated and won on the issue of the illegality of this incentive plan,” said the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, John Hendrickson. “We will continue to be on the lookout for similar plans, which essentially end up punishing people who want to work after a certain age.” The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, 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 is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at

EEOC Obtains $451,000 Jury Verdict Against Boh Brothers Construction Co. For Male-On-male Sexual Harassment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission PRESS RELEASE 3-29-11 Ironworker Abused on I-10 Project, Federal Agency Charged NEW ORLEANS – A federal jury has awarded a former employee of Boh Bros. Construction Co., L.L.C. $451,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. Following a two-and-a-half-day trial, the jury awarded Kerry Woods damages for the sexual harassment claim against the major construction firm, including $250,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for emotional distress. The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that a superintendent harassed and taunted Woods, who worked for the company as an ironworker, by engaging in verbal abuse and taunting gestures of a sexual nature, and by exposing himself. The harassment took place on the I-10 Twin Span project over Lake Pontchartrain between Slidell and New Orleans, La. The EEOC presented evidence at trial that Woods’s supervisor harassed him because he thought he was feminine and did not conform to the supervisor’s gender stereotypes of a typical “rough ironworker.” The EEOC’s lawsuit further claimed that the company retaliated against Woods after he reported the superintendent’s harassment. Woods was transferred to another location, where he was paid less, and then “laid off,” supposedly because there was less work available at the new location. Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (EEOC v. Boh Brothers Construction Company, LLC (Civil Action No. 09-6460) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. “All workers, male and female, are entitled to earn a living free from harassment based on sex or sex stereotypes,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “The jury's verdict signals to employers the importance of having robust sexual harassment policies and training in place, including in predominantly male workplaces.” The EEOC established that Boh Brothers had no policy that defined or specifically prohibited sexual harassment. The superintendent testified that before this lawsuit, he had never received training on sexual harassment. “The jury’s verdict in this case vindicates the public interest and will benefit Boh Brothers’ employees,” said Jim Sacher, the EEOC’s regional attorney for the Houston District Office, which oversees all litigation in Louisiana. “This case demonstrates the failure of this company to prevent and properly respond to a serious matter for the construction industry: male-on-male sexual harassment by a supervisor and under isolated working conditions.” Woods said of the verdict, “I am so grateful that the EEOC worked so hard for me, and that the jury paid so much attention to the evidence. I knew it wasn’t right that the company should be able to treat people this way. No one should have to put up with that kind of abuse day after day.” Woods testified during trial that he had pursued this case for so many years to see justice done. This case is the third sexual harassment trial victory for the EEOC this year. The other two were EEOC v. Mid-American Specialties, in which a Memphis jury returned a verdict of $1.5 million, and EEOC v. Paul's Big M, in which a Syracuse jury awarded $1.25 million. New Orleans-based Boh Brothers is a major construction contractor that operates in the New Orleans and Gulf South areas. According to company information, Boh Brothers employs more than 1,500 people on many projects, including publicly funded post-Katrina rebuilding, repair and expansion projects. The EEOC was represented by trial attorneys Gregory T. Juge and Tanya L. Goldman. The EEOC enforces federal law prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information is available on its web site at

Workers with Intellectual Disabilities Abused by Texas-Based Company for Years, EEOC Charges

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission PRESS RELEASE 4-6-11 Men Subjected to Verbal and Physical Harassment, Housed in Substandard Facilities, and Denied Lawful Wages at Iowa Plant, Federal Agency Alleges DALLAS - Hill Country Farms, doing business as Henry’s Turkey Service (“Henry’s Turkey”) subjected a group of 31 men with intellectual disabilities to severe abuse and discrimination for more than 20 years, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today in Davenport, Iowa. The company is based in Goldthwaite, Texas, but the work and abuse occurred in West Liberty and Atalissa, Iowa. According to the lawsuit, No. 3:11-cv-0004 CRW-TJS , filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Henry’s Turkey exploited these workers, whose jobs involved eviscerating turkeys, because their intellectual disabilities made them particularly vulnerable and unaware of the extent to which their legal rights were being denied. The affected men lived in Muscatine County, Iowa, where they worked for 20 years as part of a contract between Henry’s Turkey and West Liberty Foods, an Iowa turkey processing plant. "This case is a stark reminder of how important it is for the EEOC to ensure that the Americans with Disabilities Act is fully enforced," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “Workers with intellectual disabilities should never be subjected to the demeaning and discriminatory treatment alleged in this case.” Specifically, the complaint alleges that that the owners and staffers of Henry’s Turkey denied the workers lawful wages, paying them only $65 a month for full-time work; subjected them to abusive verbal and physical harassment; restricted their freedom of movement; and imposed other harsh terms and conditions of employment such as requiring them to live in deplorable and sub-standard living conditions, and failing to provide adequate medical care when needed. Verbal abuses included frequently referring to the workers as “retarded”, “dumb ass” and “stupid”. Class members reported acts of physical abuse including hitting, kicking, at least one case of handcuffing, and forcing the disabled workers to carry heavy weights as punishment. The Henry’s Turkey supervisors, also the workers’ purported caretakers, were often dismissive of complaints of injuries or pain. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, including intellectual disabilities, in terms and conditions of employment and wages; and bars disability-based harassment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to resolve the matter through conciliation. “This case illustrates the importance of continued vigorous enforcement of the law in this area. The victims in this case were subject to a hostile work environment and discriminatory treatment because of their disability,” said P. David Lopez, EEOC General Counsel. “The EEOC stands ready to litigate such cases, wherever in our nation such employment discrimination might take place, to make victims whole and to bring workplaces into compliance with the ADA.” The EEOC will seek to recover lost wages for two years prior to the time that the Henry’s Turkey operations were brought to a halt in 2009. The EEOC seeks amounts consistent with minimum wages and based on pay levels commensurate with the work performed by non-disabled workers occupying the same job positions. The agency will also seek the award of compensatory and punitive damages resulting from adverse employment actions and abusive treatment. During its investigation, the EEOC worked closely with Disability Rights Iowa, an organization that works to advance and protect the rights of people with disabilities and its Executive Director, Sylvia Piper. “The isolation and exploitation these men suffered for many years, while the fruits of their labor were cruelly consumed by their employer, cannot be explained away by good intentions, nor can the violations of the ADA be excused as antiquated social policy,” said Robert A. Canino, Regional Attorney of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, which investigated the case and is bringing the lawsuit. “Our society has come a long way in learning how persons with intellectual disabilities should be fully integrated into the mainstream workplace, without having to compromise their human dignity. The ADA provided us with a law enforcement tool to ensure fair treatment for persons with physical and mental disabilities. We are asking the court to apply this law to the fullest extent possible.” The lawsuit follows an EEOC Commission meeting held March 15, 2011, that explored the issue of discrimination on the basis of mental disabilities. On March 24, the EEOC issued its final regulations interpreting the ADAAA, which simplified the determination of who has a “disability” and made it easier for people to establish that they are protected by ADA. In addition to the EEOC’s ADA claim of disability-based wage discrimination, the U.S. Department of Labor is pursuing a separate minimum wage and overtime suit against Henry’s Turkey under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is set for trial later this year. Additionally, a Final Agency Decision issued on March 8, 2011, by the Iowa Department of Workforce Development, Division of Labor, found Henry’s Turkey and its principals responsible for substantial fines for violations of Iowa’s wage and hour laws. The EEOC enforces the nation's laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available at

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Goodwin Liu Voted out of Senate Judiciary Committee for Third Time

Leadership Conference for Civil Rights April 8, 2011 - Posted by Avril Lighty The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended Goodwin Liu for a federal judgeship today for the third time, on a 10-8 party line vote. The seat to which he has been nominated is considered a "judicial emergency."President Barack Obama originally nominated Liu to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on February 24, 2010 .... Full Story:

43 Years after King Assassination the Fight for Civil Rights Continues

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights April 5, 2011 - Posted by Brianna Deitrich On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while in Memphis, Tenn., defending the fundamental rights to fair pay, safe working conditions, and an equal voice in solidarity with more than one thousand city sanitation workers on strike for better wages and benefits. This week, the civil and human rights community remembers and honors King’s sacrifice and commitment to economic justice and workers rights by uniting with union members, students, and other advocates for the “We Are One” campaign. “We Are One” grew organically out of the attacks on collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states, and is made up of a diverse coalition of local, state and national community leaders, working people, activists and individuals whom are coming together to push back and to show unity in the face of attacks on collective bargaining rights, voting rights, women, immigrants, and public service programs. Full Story:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Diversity’s Missing Ingredient

The Table Group June 2009 When it comes to tapping into the competitive advantage of diversity, few companies succeed. Yesterday I was reminded why. Our firm was having a meeting to discuss important elements of our strategy and marketing efforts, when something really great happened—we got into an argument. Not a disagreement. A loud, contentious, uncomfortable and passionate argument. On one side of the battle was a pair of our team members who were arguing their point based on a very accurate and literal interpretation of something we had decided months earlier. On the other side was a group of team members that was even more loudly making their point (probably because I was a member of that group and I'm Italian and Irish) based on a more theoretical interpretation of that past decision. Full Story:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Register for AAAA Webinar on OFCCP Enforcement


OFCCP 2011 Enforcement Update


The fourth installment of the 2011 Webinar Series is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, 2011 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. During this sixty-minute presentation, Fred Satterwhite of DCI Consulting Group will focus on OFCCP's new enforcement and regulatory agenda. This webinar will inform you about OFCCP's current enforcement activities, as well as recent and potential changes that directly impact how affirmative action compliance and equal employment opportunity are implemented and ensured within your workforce. For more details and to register, go to: The registration fee covers one license (one computer/telephone number) for unlimited participants. Invite your colleagues and students to join the discussion. For more information about PDTI, Webinars or other AAAA programs, please call us toll-free at 1-800-252-8952 or visit Thank you for your continued support!

Few Women On Boards Of World’s Largest Companies

Diverse Business Source: By Editor - Wed Apr 06, 5:12 am Why do so many of the world’s largest corporations have zero women on their boards? In recent weeks politicians, investors and diversity groups have been discussing the gender gap in corporate board rooms. It’s still up for debate whether legally mandated quotas are an appropriate tool to correct the imbalance. According to a new study by Eversheds, a London-based international law firm, the world’s best performing companies tend “to have a higher percentage of female directors.” Likewise, a recent study by McKinsey, a consulting firm, found that large European companies that had at least three women on their executive committees significantly outperformed their sector in terms of average return on equity. Full Story:

The “Reverse Discrimination Sentiment”

The Chronicle of Higher Education April 5, 2011, 5:33 pm By Richard Kahlenberg As Peter Schmidt reported in The Chronicle, new research to be presented at the American Educational Research Association next week finds that Americans “see minority students as having much greater advantages in seeking access to college than is actually the case.” The findings appear to suggest that the existence of affirmative action at highly selective institution generates a general (and factually incorrect) sense among whites that minority students are actually more likely to have access to college generally. The findings come from a paper entitled, “The Blind Side: Americans’ Perceptions of Inequalities in College Access,” authored by Indiana University sociology professor Brian Powell and doctoral students Kristin M. Jordan and Oren Pizmony-Levy. The authors, using data from a 2007 survey by Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, find, as reported by Schmidt, that “nearly a fourth of respondents said qualified students who are racial and ethnicity minorities have more opportunity to attend college than others. Just under a fifth said students from low-income families have an advantage over others, and about a tenth said qualified students from middle-class families are better off than others when it comes to college access.” Full Story:

Frito-Lay Decision Sets Cap on Compliance Reviews

HR.BLR.Com April 05, 2011 Contractors everywhere sat up and took notice when an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) recently decided to set a cap on the period of time that can be covered and for which data can be requested during an OFCCP compliance review. In Frito-Lay v. OFCCP, the ALJ held that the period for which data can be requested is limited by both 41 CFR Sec. 60-1.20(a)(1), and the Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM), the “rules book” for OFCCP’s compliance officers. In the Frito-Lay case, OFCCP requested that the company provide workforce data for 2 years after the initial compliance review period after OFCCP identified adverse impact. The company refused, citing the OFCCP Scheduling Letter that only requests data for the previous AAP year and current AAP year (if more than 6 months into the current plan). In addition, Frito-Lay cited OFCCP’s regulations and the FCCM, which establish the time period for potential discrimination cases as only back 2 years from the date of the scheduling letter. Full Story:

Pell Grants as Costly and ‘Harmful’ Welfare?

Diverse Issues in Higher Education by Dr. Ibram Rogers, April 6, 2011 As American politicians and educators continue to slice and dice away at higher education resources and programs using the hollow, yet sharp knives of austerity, the future of a diverse academy increasingly looks bleak and dreary. The widely used justification — the need to cut costs and reduce the national deficit — seems so difficult to conceptualize each time I look at military expenditures, each time I hear about another country the United States has bombed. From the standpoint of diversity, the reformers of exclusion have peeled away at the surface of many of the programs, funding lines and initiatives in higher education that the reformers of inclusion instituted over the course of the 20th century, climaxing in the 1960s and 1970s. Full Story:

GOP lawmakers push to abolish affirmative action

NECN.Com Apr 5, 2011 4:33pm OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican-backed plan to wipe out any affirmative action programs in Oklahoma appears headed for approval by the Legislature, prompting a bitter response from some minority lawmakers that it is merely a political ploy to play on racial fears and draw conservative voters to the polls. If approved, the measure would go on the 2012 state ballot. The affirmative action proposal by state Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Kingfisher, and Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle, would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education or contracts. The bill, which already passed the Senate on a party-line vote, is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in a House committee. Full Story:

Monday, April 4, 2011

As demographics shift, so should race policies

The Bellingham Herald By MICHAEL SMERCONISH - The Philadelphia Inquirer POSTED: Monday, Apr. 04, 2011 After being honorably discharged from the Army, Iraq war veteran Colby Bohannan found the college-application process to be an eye-opener. He saw many scholarships for minorities, but none for his demographic: white men. So the Texas State University student formed the Former Majority Association for Equality and is offering $500 scholarships exclusively to white male students. "Diversity is not a bad thing," he explained to me recently. "We're not here to make a stand against affirmative action. Or to make a stand for affirmative action." Bohannan noted that the GI Bill was helping him pay for college, though he added: "I don't think everybody needs to serve in the military to afford an education."Read more: Full Story:


OFCCP Blog Spot DCI Consulting, Inc. by Fred Satterwhite, Senior Consultant, DCI Consulting Group Almost nine months after OFCCP submitted to the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) a proposed rule updating the regulations implementing affirmative action requirements for veterans, the OIRA completed its review of the rule on March 30, 2011. Full Story:

University of Pennsylvania Program Seeks To Boost Enrollment of Black Men In Ph.D. Programs

Diverse Issues in Higher Education by Maria Eugenia Miranda , March 30, 2011 When Malcolm Marshall and several other Black and Latino students were sent letters excluding them from a Harvard University information session at their public high school in Georgia, Marshall’s outraged mother called the university. Recruiters assured her that it was not their policy to exclude students and that all those who had been banned from attending were allowed to join in. Marshall, now a junior at Rutgers University, remembers the vice principal of his high school telling him, “It’s so hard to get in. You probably won’t get in anyway.” Marshall credits his mother for helping him reach his educational goals, saying she never took no for an answer. He is now in the process of applying to graduate programs in education, with the goal of promoting access to higher education for students of all backgrounds. He hopes to work as a college administrator or in the U.S. Department of Education. Full Story: