Thursday, March 29, 2012

Duke University President Addresses the Issue of Race

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
Filed in African-American History, Breaking News, Leadership on March 23, 2012

Each year Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University, addresses the annual meeting of the university faculty. This year, he chose to discuss the issue of race and its impact on the Duke University community.

Dr. Brodhead is a strong supporter of affirmative action in higher education and openly advocates for greater diversity in the student body, faculty, and staff at the university.

For the convenience of our readers, we reprint the entire contents of this important address below. The speech was delivered on March 22, 2012, in Durham, North Carolina.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

AAAA Region VIII Announces Rocky Mountain Regional Conference

AAAA Region VIII Announces Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, sponsored by Metropolitan State University: "Affirmative Action, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence: Maximizing Your Resources to Make a Difference." April 19 - 21, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. AAAA President Gregory T. Chambers to speak.

Professional Development Opportunity - register Cost for College Community Members is $150.

AAAA Incorporates LEAD Fund as Research-focused Nonprofit

The American Association for Affirmative Action has incorporated a new organization, the Fund for Leadership, Equity, Access and Diversity. The purpose of this corporation is to develop, promote and provide public education, training and research on issues involving affirmative action, equal opportunity, access, diversity, equity and inclusion in education, employment, business and contracting.

The purpose of this corporation is also to eliminate prejudice and discrimination by providing education, training and research on issues involving affirmative action, equal opportunity, access, diversity, equity and inclusion in education, employment, business and contracting.

The LEAD Fund will be engaged in research and educational activities. Ultimately, contributions to the Fund will be tax exempt. Contact the AAAA National Office at for more information or to volunteer.

9 Common Interview Questions That Are Actually Illegal
Provided by

by Vivian Giang

During job interviews, employers will try to gather as much information about you as possible, so there's bound to be some questions that will require you to think.

But it's the simple questions that are often most harmful, and even illegal.

Any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status and sexual orientation are off-limits.

"If you look at the broad picture, the [interview] questions you're asked have to be job-related and not about who you are as a person," Lori Adelson, a labor and employment attorney and partner with law firm Arnstein & Lehr, told us.

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The Death of Affirmative Action, Part 1

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 15, 2012, 9:35 am

By Michele Goodwin

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fisher v. University of Texas, a case brought by a young woman who claims that she was discriminated against in the Texas undergraduate admissions process. Many commentators on the left and right assume that Fisher marks the death of affirmative action. Justice Kagan recused herself; she was US Solicitor General and filed a brief when the case was before the Fifth Circuit. However, few commentators consider who benefits from the platform and whether or not (and for whom) it achieves its goals. For example, some blacks think affirmative action was only about them. On the other hand white women may not recognize the entitlements they’ve gained due to affirmative action. In part, the dialogue about affirmative action misses much.

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The Death of Affirmative Action, Part 2: Education as a Finite Resource

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 21, 2012, 2:47 pm

By Michele Goodwin

Part 1 of this series addressed gender and the Fisher case, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court later in the year.

According to the CIA, Cuba’s literacy rate is 99.8%. Why does Cuba, an incredibly poor nation, have a higher literacy rate than the U.S.? Education is regarded as a priority for all; their poorest youth are treated to boarding schools. The same is true in China. Some of the most attractive architecture in China happens to be its boarding schools—and those institutions are public. That’s right—free boarding-school education and dormitories for students.

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Walking While Black

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 23, 2012, 10:15 am

By Michele Goodwin

Trayvon Martin was murdered last month, but this week the case gained national attention. Martin, an African-American teenager, was gunned down by George Zimmerman, an individual who identifies as a white male. The controversy in the case involves not only race: Zimmerman apparently left his car, stalked the youth, because he thought Martin looked suspicious and “out of place,” and gunned him down. Zimmerman’s supporters claim that had Trayvon—who was on his way back to a family member’s home, carrying a pack of Skittles and ice tea—answered Zimmerman by identifying himself and explaining why he was in the neighborhood, this tragedy might have been averted. But, there is no duty to explain oneself while walking down the street. As a constitutional matter, individuals need not answer the police: You have the right to remain silent.

'It Could Have Been Me': a Black-Studies Graduate Student Responds to the Killing of Trayvon Martin

The Chronicle of HIgher Education
March 20, 2012

By Stacey Patton

The murder of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager from Sanford, Fla., who was gunned down by a neighborhood-watch volunteer who said he acted in self-defense, has sparked outrage and grief, especially among black Americans. The teen, who the shooter told police looked "suspicious," was wearing a hoodie as he walked through the gated community where he lived. Mr. Martin was unarmed and was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea he had just bought at the 7-Eleven.

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Title VII protects both current and former employees from discriminatory adverse employment actions

Ogletree Deakins
Maria Greco Danaher

March 19 2012

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against “any individual" on the basis of membership in a protected class. In a reminder to employers, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reiterated the generally accepted interpretation that in this language, Title VII explicitly allows former employees, as well as current ones, to bring an action under that statute. Gerner v. County of Chesterfield, 4th Cir., No.11-1218, 3/16/12.

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Harkin Opening Statement at HELP Committee Hearing, “Stay-at-work and Return-to-work Strategies: Lessons from the Private Sector”

Senator Tom Harkin
Chair, Senate Committee on Health, Education
Labor and Pensions
Statement on a hearing regarding issues that have an impact on persons with disabilities in the workplace...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

*As Prepared for Delivery*

“Our topic today is ‘Stay-at-work and Return-to-work Strategies: Lessons from the Private Sector.’ This is the latest in a series of hearings we have convened since last March to explore issues that impact the employment of people with disabilities in America. Of course, our goal is to boost the labor force participation for people with disabilities. To achieve this goal, we must create pathways for people with disabilities to join the labor force, and we must help Americans with adult-onset disabilities get the supports they need to stay employed.

“Over the past four years, we have seen the devastating impact of the economic recession on people with disabilities. Thankfully, we are seeing a turnaround in the employment for the general population, with new jobs being created each month and the unemployment rate decreasing for the country as a whole.

“However, that has not been the case for people with disabilities. While the unemployment rate for the general public has decreased by a full percentage point from February 2011 to February 2012, during the same time period the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has risen by almost half a percentage point from 15.4% to 15.8% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Moreover, the number of Americans with disabilities participating in the labor force has gone down by more than 500,000 workers since the recession began in 2008.

“One of the ways to address this stubborn problem of unemployment and underemployment of people with disabilities is to make sure they don’t leave the labor force if they already have a job, and to make sure that those who acquire disabilities can remain in their jobs.

“How important is it to keep people who acquire a disability working? Well, the Social Security Administration estimates that one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will develop a disability sometime before they retire. We cannot afford to lose that amount of our workforce and all of the knowledge, experience and expertise those workers represent.

“Today we have asked a number of representatives from the private sector to share with us strategies to keep people at work or to help them return to work. We know that a complex array of factors – social, medical, psychological, and workplace practicalities – come into play when an adult acquires a disability. We will hear about the supports that employers can provide in terms of accommodations and adaptations to the work environment. We also will hear about how employees, employers, family members, as well as health and medical professionals can work together to keep people in their jobs or to return quickly to their jobs.

“I want to point out one concern that I hear about often when a person with a disability is returning to work. That is the cost of making accommodations for that individual. Contrary to popular belief, the cost of making workplace accommodations for people who have acquired a disability is very low and often nothing at all. In 2006 the Job Accommodation Network conducted a study of almost 1,200 employers and found over 50% of the workplace accommodations that were needed to have people with disabilities hold a job cost nothing! No new investments of expensive equipment, no fancy workstations. Changes in routines and procedures often sufficed to make the job accessible to a person with a disability. When a cost was involved, the study found that, in most cases the cost of the accommodation was less than $500.

“We look forward to learning more about how these types of accommodations and other strategies in the workplace can keep people at work who acquire disabilities or help them return to work.

“In order to learn about these strategies, we have a panel of five expert witnesses this morning. They include Tom Watjen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Unum Group; Christine Walters, of the FiveL Company, an independent employment consultant and author; Karen Amato, Director of Corporate Responsibility Programs for SRA International, Inc.; Eric Buehlmann, a lawyer, former staffer for Senator Jim Jeffords, and current Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy at the National Disability Rights Network. In the interest of full disclosure, I want to note that Mr. Buehlmann is the son of a member of the HELP Committee staff, and his mother has recused herself from working on this hearing in light of her relationship with the witness. And then, finally, we have Ken Mitchell, Managing Partner of theWorkRx Group, Ltd with us. Welcome to you all.”


Massive EEOC class action slashed to two claims on appeal

Baker & Hostetler LLP
Gregory V. Mersol
March 21 2012

On February 22, 2012, the Eighth Circuit handed the EEOC a major defeat in a putative class-wide sexual harassment case it had brought against a trucking company. EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.pdf, Case Nos. 09-3764/09-3765/10-1682 (8th Cir. Feb. 22, 2012). While the court vacated, at least for the present, a $4.5 million sanction against the Commission, its holding vastly reduced what it claimed to be a case involving hundreds of women trucking employees.

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Oregon to pass law banning discrimination against the unemployed; California next?

Fox Rothschild LLP
Richard B. Cohen
March 21 2012

On February 24th, we recapped our numerous blogs where we wrote that under existing anti-discrimination laws, there is no protected class known as “the unemployed,” and if you are not hired because of your unemployment status, you have no actionable claim of discrimination. Blogs of 9/14/11; 6/8/11; 2/22/11 This is changing rapidly.

Full Story: On February 24th, we recapped our numerous blogs where we wrote that under existing anti-discrimination laws, there is no protected class known as “the unemployed,” and if you are not hired because of your unemployment status, you have no actionable claim of discrimination. Blogs of 9/14/11; 6/8/11; 2/22/11 This is changing rapidly.

U.S. Department of Justice postpones ADA requirements for swimming pools and spas

Barnes & Thornburg LLP
March 20 2012

On March 20, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (the Department) announced an immediate 60-day postponement of the effective date for the accessibility requirements for pools and spas subject to either Title II (state and local government programs) or Title III (places of public accommodation). These requirements will now take effect on May 21, 2012. The Department also is contemplating further extending the effective date, and simultaneously issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) soliciting public comment as to whether the effective date of the pool and spa requirements should be postponed until Sept. 17, 2012, 180 days from the original effective date. The Department indicated that it was taking this action in order to allow pool owners and operators additional time to address certain misunderstandings regarding these requirements and their application to existing pools and spas.

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Code words and dog whistles

Fox Rothschild LLP
Richard B. Cohen
March 20 2012

You know not to call an employee “old” or “ancient.” That is clearly direct evidence of age discrimination.

But how about calling an employee “old school? Or “set in his ways?” Or “not a proper fit for the "new environment?” Or “lacking in energy?” Then you’ll be fine, right? No age lawsuit against you!

Wrong. These have been held to be code words used in cases of age discrimination. Or in modern political parlance -- “dog-whistle” expressions.

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Shipping giant FedEx to pay $3 million to settle charges of hiring discrimination brought by US Department of Labor

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [03/22/2012]
Contact Name: Mike Trupo or Laura McGinnis
Phone Number: (202) 693-6588 or x4653
Release Number: 12-0507-NAT

Company will pay back wages and interest to more than 21,000 applicants rejected for jobs at 23 facilities in 15 states; reform hiring practices

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs today announced that it has entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve allegations of hiring discrimination by federal contractors FedEx Ground Package System Inc. and FedEx SmartPost Inc., both subsidiaries of Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. The agreement concludes compliance reviews that spanned seven years and numerous FedEx facilities in multiple states, and includes the largest single financial settlement negotiated by OFCCP since 2004.

"We are committed to building an economy that lasts — one in which every qualified worker gets a fair shot to compete for jobs, and every employer plays by the same set of rules," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This settlement is proof that we will aggressively protect workers, promote workplace diversity and enforce the laws governing federal contractors."

During a series of regularly scheduled reviews, OFCCP compliance officers found evidence that FedEx's hiring processes and selection procedures violated Executive Order 11246 by discriminating on the bases of sex, race and/or national origin against specific groups identified at 23 facilities in 15 states. The affected workers include men and women as well as African-American, Caucasian and Native American job seekers, as well as job seekers of Hispanic and Asian descent. The reviews also uncovered extensive violations of the executive order's record-keeping requirements.

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, the companies will pay a total of $3 million in back wages and interest to 21,635 applicants who were rejected for entry-level package handler and parcel assistant positions at 22 FedEx Ground facilities and one FedEx SmartPost facility. FedEx also has agreed to extend job offers to 1,703 of the affected workers as positions become available. The 21,635 rejected job seekers represent one of the largest classes of victims of any case in OFCCP's history.

"Being a federal contractor is a privilege and means you absolutely, positively cannot discriminate, not when you are profiting from taxpayer dollars," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "Under this agreement, FedEx will have to really examine and revamp its hiring practices across the entire company. The American people ought to have confidence that one of our nation's most trusted brands will not tolerate discrimination."

In addition to the financial remedies and job offers, FedEx Ground has committed to wide-ranging reforms. The company has promised to correct any discriminatory hiring practices, develop and implement equal employment opportunity training, and launch extensive self-monitoring measures to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law. FedEx Ground also has agreed to engage an outside consultant to perform an extensive review of the company's hiring practices and provide recommendations to change and improve those practices, to train incumbent and future supervisors and employees, and to monitor compliance with the equal employment opportunity laws enforced by OFCCP. Finally, the company will take necessary steps to comply with all record-keeping requirements.

FedEx Ground is based in Coraopolis, Pa. The 22 FedEx Ground facilities where OFCCP found violations are located in Sun Valley and Sacramento, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; Ellenwood, Ga.; Carol Stream and Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis and Jeffersonville, Ind.; Lenexa, Kan.; Livonia, Mich.; St. Paul, Minn.; South Hackensack, N.J.; Albany and Brooklyn, N.Y.; Greenville, N.C.; Addyston and Grove City, Ohio; Lewisberry, Pa.; Fort Worth, Houston and South Houston, Texas; and North Salt Lake City, Utah. OFCCP also conducted compliance evaluations at two FedEx Ground facilities in Phoenix, Ariz., and San Antonio, Texas, but found no violations.

FedEx SmartPost is based in New Berlin, Wis. The FedEx SmartPost facility where OFCCP found violations is located in Charlotte, N.C.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, 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

EEOC Releases Federal Work Force Data

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Annual Report Shows Minorities Make Gains in Securing Senior Level Positions

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today released its Annual Report on the Federal Work Force Part II: Work Force Statistics, Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. The comprehensive report informs and advises the President and the Congress on the state of equal employment opportunity (EEO) government-wide.

The report includes statistical work force profiles and trends for 64 federal agencies, measures of agencies’ progress toward implementing model EEO programs, and a summary of select EEO program activities and best practices. Each agency’s profile highlights work force participation rates by race, gender, national origin and individuals with targeted disabilities, as well as the breakdown for major occupational categories. This report covers the period from October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010.

According to the report, there has been little change in the composition of the federal work force over the years. In FY 2010, there were over 2.8 million people employed by the federal government, of whom 56% were men and 44% were women. Of that total:
•65.4% were White,
•17.9% were Black or African American,
•7.9% were Hispanic or Latino,
•5.9% were Asian,
•1.6% were American Indian or Alaska Native,
•.08% were persons of two or more races, and
•.04% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

Despite a modest gain of 554 employees in FY 2010, the participation rate of individuals with targeted disabilities remained at 0.88%. Targeted disabilities include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and distortion of the limb and/or spine.

Over the last 10 years, women, Hispanic or Latino, Black or African American and Asian employees have made the most gains in securing senior level positions in the federal government. However, between FY 2009 and FY 2010, women, Hispanic or Latino men and women, men of two or more races, and white women remained below their overall availability in the national civilian labor force.

“This report shows that while the federal government is a leader in employing a diverse workforce, specific areas for improvement remain,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The EEOC will continue to work with federal government leaders to identify and remove barriers to equal employment opportunity and promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workplace.”

EEOC is charged with monitoring federal agency compliance with equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and procedures and reviewing and assessing the effect of agencies’ compliance with requirements to maintain continuing affirmative employment programs to promote equal employment opportunity and to identify and eliminate barriers to equality of employment opportunity.

The EEOC enforces laws prohibiting discrimination in the federal and private sectors. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Bad Inner City Schools: Tell Us What We Don’t Know
Jeneba Ghatt
March 17, 2012 | Education

In case you didn’t hear, the Department of Education released a report that essentially told many of us what we already knew: inner city schools are in a bad state. Its Office of Civil Rights’ study on college and career readiness, discipline, school finance and student retention showed that minority children face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curriculum and are taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers.

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Facebook stalking in the name of affirmative action

Christian Science Monitor

Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on affirmative action, I recall how at Roll Call newspaper, I was told that one of our three interns had to be from a racial minority. Diversity is important, but giving someone an advantage beyond his experience degrades the applicant and the hirer.

By Debra Bruno / March 21, 2012


There I was, Facebook stalking again. But I wasn’t chasing after an old boyfriend or trying to see if my niece was having too good a time in Italy. As the internship coordinator for Roll Call (now CQ Roll Call), a newspaper covering Congress on Capitol Hill, I was looking at the faces of candidates for internships.

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A History of Inequality

The Eye (Columbia University Daily Spectator)
the politics of racial diversity at columbia
By Hannah D'Apice

Looking back to his freshman year in 1963, American studies professor Roger Lehecka, who graduated from Columbia College in 1967 and served as dean of students from 1979 to 1991, describes the Columbia of his college career as a “dramatically different place.”

“When I arrived as a freshman, all the black and Hispanic freshmen could have fit in a Carman suite,” he says. “Maybe Asian students would’ve pushed it into the double-digits.”

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Speaker: Affirmative action needed to combat discrimination
March 22, 2012 6:11 PM

Beth L. Jokinen

“They say this is a post-racial society, but the reality is discrimination still exists. That's why we still need affirmative action.” — Shirley Wilcher, American Association for Affirmative Action

LIMA — Shirley Wilcher has heard she now lives in a “colorblind” society, but she is not buying it.

To prove it Thursday in Lima, she told a personal story of trying to hail a taxi in Chicago only to have the driver speed off when realizing it wasn't the nearby white woman who waited for him.

“Still in the 21st century you have to face the indignity of not even getting a cab without feeling like a second- or third-class citizen. ... This society is still not colorblind,” the executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action said during the Equity, Opportunity and Diversity annual State of the State Conference.

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Diversity – Reality, Not a Buzzword

USF News
Inspiring 9th Annual Diversity Summit at USF attracts 200 for workshops, Columbia Restaurant president’s keynote address and more.

By Barbara Melendez
USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (March 23, 2012) – The University of South Florida’s Diversity Summit serves a very important purpose. It captures the essence of a massive community undertaking.

What became increasingly evident during the March 20 day-long event was that diversity doesn’t just happen by accident at USF and that the word itself embodies many layers of meaning and experience.

A Tampa Bay icon, informative workshops, an emotionally powerful reflection activity, a Community Expo and presentation of the Diversity Honor Roll awards brought home the message.

AAAA Note: AAAA's Region IV was a cosponsor of this event...

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John Payton, Key Lawyer in Defense of Affirmative Action at Michigan, Dies

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 23, 2012, 5:47 pm

John Payton, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, died on Thursday at the age of 65 after a brief illness. Among his work as a civil-rights lawyer, Mr. Payton defended the University of Michigan’s affirmative-action policy, arguing the Gratz v. Bollinger case, involving the university’s undergraduate admissions policy, before the Supreme Court. The court ruled against the university in that 2003 case. But, in a companion case involving the university’s law school, it upheld the use of affirmative action in college admissions when policies are narrowly tailored to achieve educational benefits that flow from diversity. Just last month, however, the court agreed to hear another case, Fisher v. Texas, that some experts say may result in the demise of racial-conscious college admissions.

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Wells Fargo Financial Michigan Settles EEOC Race and Age Discrimination Suit

Published On: Mon, Mar 26th, 2012

Financial services company Wells Fargo Financial Michigan, Inc., has agreed to settle an age and race discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $55,000, the agency announced Friday.

The financial services company was formerly located in various cities in Michigan and previously employing at least 200 employees.

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FedEx settles hiring probe for $3 million
Lynn Adler
3:22 PM CDT, March 22, 2012

(Reuters) - FedEx Corp will pay back wages and interest to more than 21,000 people rejected for jobs in a $3 million settlement of a bias case brought against two of the company's units by the U.S. Department of Labor.

FedEx Ground Package System Inc and FedEx SmartPost Inc were the focus of a 7-year-long review by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). This was the largest single financial settlement it had negotiated since 2004, OFCCP said in a statement.

Full Story:,0,5169255.story

Monday, March 12, 2012

India eyes affirmative action for Muslims

Mercury News
Silicon Valley
By Jim Yardley

New York Times
Posted: 03/09/2012 06:20:59 PM PST
March 10, 2012 4:29 AM GMT Updated: 03/09/2012 08:29:54 PM PST

MUZAFFARNAGAR, India -- Along the narrow lane known as Khadar Wallah, Muslims and low-caste Hindus have lived side by side for years, bound by poverty, if not religion. Yet recently, Muslims like Murtaza Mansuri have noticed a change. Their neighbors have become better off.

Many of the Dalits, the low-caste Hindus once known as untouchables, have gotten government jobs, or slots in public universities, opportunities that have meant stable salaries and nicer homes.

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Affirmative Action Fight Goes on

USA Today
By Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY
Updated 5d 16h ago

Affirmative action in college admissions is back on the national radar as the Supreme Court is likely to hear a case involving the University of Texas this year. But a high court ruling may not settle this divisive debate.

In the nine years since the justices said public universities could consider race in admissions, four states have banned the use of race by public universities, and Oklahoma voters will decide this fall whether to join them. At least five other states don't use race, either.

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California physician assistant wins $168 million in harassment suit

The Los Angeles Times
Ani Chopourian told of sexually inappropriate conduct, bullying and retaliation at a Sacramento hospital. The award is believed to be the largest for a single victim of workplace harassment in U.S. history.

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times

March 2, 2012, 12:11 a.m.
Ani Chopourian lost track of how many complaints she filed during the two years she worked as a physician assistant at Sacramento's Mercy General Hospital.

There were at least 18, she recalled, many having to do with the bullying surgeon who once stabbed her with a needle and broke the ribs of an anesthetized heart patient in a fit of rage. Another surgeon, she said, would greet her each morning with "I'm horny" and slap her bottom. Yet another called her "stupid chick" in the operating room and made disparaging remarks about her Armenian heritage, asking if she had joined Al Qaeda.

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It’s Funny ‘Cause It’s Racist

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 8, 2012, 10:19 am
By Laurie Essig

We live in a postracial America. NOT! But alas, this is what a large number of white Americans believe. In fact, polls consistently show that blacks and Latinos see discrimination in their daily lives even as whites deny such discrimination. For instance, in the U.S. over 80% of blacks experience “day to day discrimination.” Meanwhile 56% of whites say there is “too much attention paid to racial issues” and whites were 235 times more likely to rate blacks as “lazy” than they were whites.

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Survey Finds a Drop in Minority Presidents Leading Colleges

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 12, 2012

By Jack Stripling

Meet the new boss.

Same as the old boss.

In a troublingly stagnant portrait, the latest national survey of college presidents finds a profession dominated by white men who have hardly changed in more than a quarter century. They're just older.

Today's typical college leader is a married white male with a doctorate in education. He is 61 years old, up from 60 years old in 2006, according to the American Council on Education's latest survey, "The American College President 2012."

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Rugo Stone to Pay $40,000 to Settle EEOC National Origin, Religion and Color Bias Lawsuit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Company Subjected Employee of Pakistani Origin to Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Rugo Stone, LLC, a Fairfax County, Va.-based stone contracting company, agreed to pay $40,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a national origin, religion and color discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. Rugo Stone has worked on a variety of high-profile buildings in Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the International Monetary Fund, the American Red Cross and the Newseum, as well as the embassies of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the EEOC’s suit, from around January 2007 through around January 2009, Shazad Buksh, an estimator and assistant project manager for Rugo Stone, was subjected to derogatory comments from his supervisors, project manager and the company’s owner on the basis of his national origin (Pakistani), religion (Islam), and color (brown). The EEOC said that the comments occurred almost daily and included things like Buksh being called a “Paki-princess” and told he was the same color as human feces. The lawsuit also alleged that Buksh was told that his religion (Islam), was “f---ing backwards,” and “f---ing crazy,” and was asked why Muslims are such “monkeys.” Finally, the lawsuit alleged that Buksh complained about the conduct and comments, but the harassment continued.

Harassment based on national origin, religion, and/or skin color violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Rugo Stone, LLC.; Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-915 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Pursuant to the three-year consent decree resolving the litigation, Rugo Stone agreed to pay $40,000 in monetary relief to Buksh. In addition, Rugo Stone must take other actions set forth in the consent decree resolving the case, including redistributing the company’s anti-harassment policy to each of its current employees; posting its anti-harassment policies in all of its facilities and work sites; providing anti-harassment training to its managers, supervisors and employees; and posting a notice about the settlement. Further, Rugo Stone is enjoined from engaging in any further discrimination against any person on the basis of color, national origin, or religion and has agreed to be monitored by the EEOC for the term of the decree.

“Employers must remember that federal law prohibits harassment based on national origin, religion and color,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Virginia. “This case and its resolution should serve as a reminder that the EEOC will protect workers from employment discrimination, including harassment.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What OFCCP Now expects for Affirmative Action

HR Daily Advisor
Thursday, March 01, 2012 3:00 AM
by Steve Bruce

Desmond, who is a partner in the New Orleans office of national employment law firm Jackson Lewis, made her comments at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Las Vegas.

About Goals and Achievement

Under OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) rules, where the company’s representation of protected class members is significantly lower than availability, a goal is created. For measuring goal achievement, a placement analysis will show the placement of minorities/females into each job group, including new hire and promotions.

An annual report will document the achievement of goals. This report should be shared with the CEO.

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Justice and Equity Are on the Line in 'Fisher v. Texas'

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 4, 2012

By Kevin Carey

The activist judges of the United States Supreme Court, by choosing last month to take up Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, have decided to put affirmative action back on the national agenda. The fragile five-vote coalition that upheld race-based admissions policies at the University of Michigan less than a decade ago has been dispersed by retirement. Now the court's conservative majority seems poised—stare decisis be damned—to upend decades of established law and prohibit colleges from creating classes as they see fit.

Full Commentary:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Jersey congressman Donald Payne dies at age 77

AT&T Yahoo News
Reuters – 4 hrs ago

Reuters) - Representative Donald Payne, 77, New Jersey's first and only African-American congressman, died on Tuesday after battling colon cancer, his brother said.

Payne, a Democrat elected in 1988 to represent northeastern New Jersey, died of complications of colon cancer early Tuesday morning at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, said William Payne, his brother and a former New Jersey Assemblyman.

"His legacy in Congress will be that he served the small man," William Payne said. "Although he walked among kings, he never lost the common touch. He was concerned about people who needed food stamps."

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Civil Rights Data Show Retention Disparities

Education Week
Published Online: March 6, 2012
Original data analysis was conducted by Michele McNeil and Ms. Shah.

New nationwide data collected by the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office reveal stark racial and ethnic disparities in student retentions, with black and Hispanic students far more likely than white students to repeat a grade, especially in elementary and middle school.

The contrast is especially strong for African-Americans. In the most extreme case, more than half of all 4th graders retained at the end of the 2009-10 academic year—56 percent—were black, according to the data, which account for about 85 percent of the nation's public school population. In 3rd grade, 49 percent of those held back were black.

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Are pre-employment background checks discriminatory?

Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Edward B. Magarian and Jillian Kornblatt
February 28 2012
Quirky Question # 189:

I am the Human Resources Director at a mid-size company, with employees in eight states. We’ve recently read about the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) bringing suit against employers based on pre-employment background checks, as well as some states prohibiting pre-employment credit checks. We certainly don’t want to create potential liability for ourselves based on our pre-employment screening, but feel that criminal and credit checks are a valuable part of our recruiting process. We are beginning to feel that no matter how we proceed, we face potential liability in one way or another. Do you have any advice?

Ed’s and Jillian’s Analysis:

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The Washington duo behind a Texas affirmative action case

The Washington Post
Capital Business

By Catherine Ho,

Eighteen years ago, Edward Blum was a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by several Texas voters who sued the state over its redistricting plan.

When the case, Bush v. Vera , landed on the Supreme Court’s docket, Blum knew he needed a law firm with a well-oiled appellate practice to argue on his behalf. That’s when he found Dan Troy, then a partner at Wiley Rein, one of Washington’s largest home-grown law firms.

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"Sexual harassment" or just simply being "socially tone deaf"

Fox Rothschild LLP
Richard B. Cohen
February 27 2012

A federal appeals court, in a recent decision which it declared is “not precedential,” dealt with a situation where a woman’s supervisor repeatedly called, emailed and confronted her, at home and at work, after she rebuffed his romantic overtures to her.

In granting summary judgment to the employer, the Court, construing her claims for “hostile work environment” and “constructive discharge” under the relevant New Jersey employment discrimination statutes (which are not unlike the federal statutes), held that the supervisor’s conduct "was not severe or pervasive enough to establish a hostile work environment," and that his conduct was not sufficiently "outrageous, coercive and unconscionable" to constitute a claim for constructive discharge when she claimed that she was forced to quit.

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Caution: language in your FMLA forms may violate GINA

Lewis and Roca LLP
Howard E. Cole , Abbe M. Goncharsky and Alexandra G. Gormley
February 28 2012

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor released an updated version of its “Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition (Family and Medical Leave Act)” form (Form WH-380-F, located at This form is to replace the previous version of the form, which will expire on February 29, 2012.

However, the new version of the form still requests information about the diagnosis of the condition that forms the basis of the employee’s request for FMLA leave. This requirement violates Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), which strictly limits the disclosure and use of genetic information.

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Shiu: Contractors Have Moral Imperative for Diversity in Hiring

DOL News Brief
The DOL Newsletter - March 1, 2012: Hair Do and Don'ts; The Bus Stops Here

Being a federal contractor is a privilege that comes with the responsibility of providing equal employment opportunities for all job applicants and employees. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia Shiu delivered this message to the Equal Employment Advisory Council's annual membership meeting on Thursday. Shiu informed the group that, over the last three years, OFCCP has successfully garnered job offers and back wages for tens of thousands of workers. With a focus on pay equity, the agency has changed the way it does business and, in so doing, is helping to close the pay gap for women. "This focus on wage-based discrimination is critical to closing the pay gap, which costs the average working woman about $380,000 over a lifetime of work and is even greater for women of color and women with disabilities," said Shiu.

Purdue Professor Who Ripped Muslims on Facebook Is Cleared of Discrimination

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 28, 2012, 10:17 pm

Purdue University-Calumet has cleared a professor of discrimination and harassment charges filed against him after he used his Facebook page to harshly criticize Muslims and to publish comments many regarded as blasphemous, the Journal and Courier reported. The campus’s Muslim Student Association, faculty members, and students had brought a total of nine discrimination charges against Maurice M. Eisenstein, an associate professor of political science, after he posted the controversial comments in November.

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Brown U. Taps Princeton Dean, an Economist, as Its Next President

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 2, 2012
By Jack Stripling

Christina Hull Paxson, an economist and dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, will be Brown University's next president, officials announced on Friday.

Ms. Paxson, 52, will succeed Ruth J. Simmons, who made history in 2001 as the first black president of an Ivy League institution.

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Challenging affirmative action could negatively impact racial minorities in college admissions

The Wellesley News
EDITORIAL | Debate is reignited
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 14:02

On Feb. 21, the Supreme Court announced that it would take a major case concerning race in admissions at the University of Texas. Abigail Fisher, who was not granted admission to the University of Texas, Austin under a state law known as the Top Ten Percent Plan— guaranteed college admission for the top ten percent of high school students—claims that this was due to reverse discrimination. Fisher's case is weakly supported but has brought the debate on affirmative action back into the limelight. Unfortunately, the newly conservative composition of the court might encourage a shift in the existing sympathetic policies toward affirmative action, greatly affecting the opportunities of racial minorities in college admissions.

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Case Renews Focus on Race in College Admissions

by Claudio Sanchez
March 1, 2012

College and university presidents are wringing their hands over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to revisit the issue of affirmative action next fall. Critics of racial preferences are thrilled because the court could significantly restrict the use of race in admissions, but proponents of affirmative action say this would be a huge setback for institutions struggling to diversify their student body.

Their biggest fear? That when the court decides Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin, colleges will have to once and for all remove race and ethnicity from consideration in their admission policies.

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HCS Medical Staffing Ordered to Pay $148,000 for Pregnancy Discrimination by Owner

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Prevails in Case on Behalf of Bookkeeper Fired After Having a Child

MILWAUKEE – A federal judge has ordered a Milwaukee medical staffing company to pay $148,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination case filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit charged that owner of HCS Medical Staffing, Inc. discriminated against Roxy Leger, the company’s bookkeeper, in violation of federal law, when he made offensive comments about her pregnancy and fired her because she needed to take maternity leave following the birth of her son .

Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. HCS Medical Staffing, Inc., Civ. 11-CV-402) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in April 2011, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

After HCS failed to respond to a court order to retain an attorney, the court entered a default judgment against the company on Feb. 17, 2012. The court ordered the employer to pay Roxy Leger back pay plus pre-judgment interest in the sum of $48,340; compensatory damages in the sum of $50,000; and punitive damages amounting to $50,000; totaling $148,340 in damages against HCS Medical Staffing.

Judge J.P. Stadtmueller found that the “circumstances leading up to HCS's discriminatory termination of Leger were inherently humiliating and caused Leger substantial emotional distress. The circumstances surrounding Leger's notification of termination were equally degrading.”

The judge found that HCS's owner, Charles Sisson, referred to Leger's pregnancy as a joke; insisted that maternity leave should last no more than a couple of days; suggested that Leger's pre-natal appointments were a ruse for additional time off or for money; and gave Leger an offensive graphic diagram of a machine which would allegedly allow Leger to return from her maternity leave sooner. With no prior warning or discipline, HCS terminated Leger's employment and health insurance while she was still in the hospital recovering from a Caesarean section. Leger learned of her termination days later by certified mail.

In addition to the monetary relief, the judge ordered that HCS Medical Staffing be permanently enjoined from engaging in any further pregnancy discrimination.

“The conduct at issue in this case was deplorable,” said EEOC Regional Attorney John Hendrickson. “Pregnancy discrimination is sex discrimination. It is flatly prohibited by law. Working to stop it remains a high priority for the EEOC.”

Hendrickson noted the Commission held a meeting on Feb. 15, 2012, in Washington, in which the Commissioners heard testimony that unlawful discrimination based on pregnancy and caregiving responsibilities remains a widespread problem. Material from this Commission meeting can be found at

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, and operates Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at

EEOC Issues Revised Publications on Employment of Veterans with Disabilities

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

User-Friendly Documents Clarify Impact of ADAAA; Commission Will Participate in Employment Conference Sponsored by U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued two revised publications addressing veterans with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both documents are available on the agency’s website at

The revised guides reflect changes to the law stemming from the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which make it easier for veterans with a wide range of impairments – including those that are often not well understood -- such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to get needed reasonable accommodations that will enable them to work successfully. [Prior to the ADA Amendments Act, the ADA’s definition of the term “disability” had been construed narrowly, significantly limiting the law’s protections.]

The revised documents are also an outgrowth of a public meeting the EEOC held on Nov. 16, 2011 entitled “Overcoming Barriers to the Employment of Veterans with Disabilities.” In that meeting, the Commission heard testimony from a panel of experts on the unique needs of veterans with disabilities transitioning to civilian employment. The particular challenges faced by veterans with disabilities in obtaining employment has been the subject of increased attention in recent months, as large numbers of veterans return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Guide for Employers explains how protections for veterans with service-connected disabilities differ under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and how employers can prevent disability-based discrimination and provide reasonable accommodations.

The Guide for Wounded Veterans answers questions that veterans with service-related disabilities may have about the protections they are entitled to when they seek to return to their former jobs or look for civilian jobs. The publication also explains the kinds of accommodations that may be necessary to help veterans with disabilities obtain and successfully maintain employment.

“We want veterans with disabilities to know that the EEOC has resources to assist them as they transition to, or move within the civilian workforce,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The release of these publications demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that veterans with disabilities receive the full protection of the laws we enforce, and that employers understand how to comply with those laws.”

On February 27-28 the EEOC will give presentations at an employment conference for severely injured U.S. Army personnel at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, sponsored by the Department of the Army’s Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Program. The presentations will provide information to employers about the employment of veterans with disabilities and the ADA, and training for severely injured soldiers to help them learn their rights under the ADA as they seek civilian employment.

Over the past decade three million veterans have returned from military service and another one million are expected to return to civilian life over the course of the next five years with the anticipated drawdown of operations in the Middle East. According to an October report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for post-9/11 era veterans hovers around 12 percent, which is more than three percentage points higher than the overall unemployment rate.

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

U. to side with UT-Austin in affirmative action case

The Daily Princetonian
by Randolph Brown
Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As the Supreme Court plans to hear a major affirmative action case this spring, the University will continue to express support for the consideration of race in the admissions process, officials said.

The Court decided last Tuesday to review the case of Fisher v. Texas, in which Abigail Fisher, a white student, claimed to be denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin because of her race. Fisher filed a lawsuit for alleged racial discrimination. This is the third time the nation’s highest court has decided to hear a case on affirmative action. The court last evaluated the use of race in admissions in 2003.

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Ruben Navarrette: A new challenge to affirmative action

12:06 AM, Mar. 1, 2012

As you would expect from someone who has written about this subject for more than 25 years, my answer is nuanced.

If the goal of the program is to make amends for past injustice, then we should end it. Growing up Mexican-American in the Southwest in the 1940s and '50s, my parents routinely faced discrimination. But that should not entitle my own children, who are being raised in an upper-middle-class neighborhood, to a leg up when they apply to college. One has nothing to do with the other.

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DeWayne Wickham: Affirmative-action defense is secondary to bigger issue

The Tennesseean
9:30 PM, Feb. 28, 2012

My first reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear a challenge to the University of Texas’ admissions policy was to mount a fierce defense of the school’s effort to bandage the gaping wounds in our education system.

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