Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Time to pay up? California adopts stronger equal pay protections

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Lexology

With Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, California officially amended its equal pay legislation through the California Fair Pay Act (the Act) to include more employee-friendly provisions. The Act, which now creates the nation’s strongest equal pay protections, seeks to close the pay gap in California. The Act may serve as a model for legislation in other states and supporters are even hopeful the Act’s passage may finally push Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has been introduced in Congress every year since 1994 and upon which California’s legislation was based.

Read the story here.

Related content in Lexology:

New York enacts gender equity laws

Jackson Lewis PC, Lexology

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a number of bills intended to protect and advance women’s equality, particularly in the workplace. These laws, signed on October 21, will go into effect on January 19, 2016.

Read the story here.

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EEOC focuses on transgender rights

Fenwick & West LLP, Lexology

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently joined a lawsuit by a transgender male (transitioning from female) who claims he was told by his employer that he was required to dress and act as a woman in the workplace so as not to confuse customers. The employee has sued for gender identity discrimination under Title VII. In joining the suit, the EEOC stated that combating gender identity discrimination is a “priority issue.” Employers are required by law to reasonably accommodate transgender employees, including as to their dress and appearance, as well as bathroom usage, among other issues.

Read the story here.

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Executive Order 11246 Celebrates 50 Years

By Shirley Wilcher

On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave the commencement address, titled “To Fulfill These Rights,” at Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C. Johnson gave this speech three months before signing Executive Order (EO) 11246, the law that bars employment discrimination and requires affirmative action to promote equal employment opportunity at federal contractor facilities.

Read the story here.

Multi-Prong Strategy Essential to Preventing Workplace Harassment

Panel of Experts Identify Practices That Can Curb Harassment at Public Meeting of EEOC Select Task Force

LOS ANGELES - Placing pressure on companies by buyers, empowering bystanders to be part of the solution, multiple access points for reporting harassment, prompt investigations, and swift disciplinary action when warranted, along with strong support from top leadership, are some of the measures employers can take to prevent workplace harassment, panels of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace (STF) at a public meeting held yesterday in Los Angeles.

Read the press release here.

National Tire and Battery to Pay $22,500 to Settle EEOC National Origin / Religious Harassment Suit

Arab and Muslim Mechanic Was Abused, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO - National Tire and Battery (NTB) will pay $22,500 to a former employee to resolve a national origin and religious harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

Read the press release here.

Study Finds Race Growing Explanatory Factor for SAT Scores in California

By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Large and growing gaps in SAT scores, by race and ethnicity, are nothing new. The College Board and educators alike have acknowledged these gaps and offered a variety of explanations, with a focus on the gaps in family income (on average) and the resources at high schools that many minority students attend. And indeed there is also a consistent pattern year after year on SAT scores in that the higher the family income, on average, the higher the scores.

But a new, long-term analysis of SAT scores has found that, among applicants to the University of California's campuses, race and ethnicity have become stronger predictors of SAT scores than family income and parental education levels.

Read the story here.

Diversity Key Part of Military’s Marching Orders

Ny Autumn A. Arnett, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently emphasized the importance of diversity in the military, saying, “ … We must start from a position of inclusivity, not exclusivity. Anything less is not just wrong — it’s bad defense policy, and it puts our future strength at risk.

“ … It takes decades to grow our senior military leaders, and today, we can’t afford to close ourselves off to anyone,” Carter continued in a June Pentagon speech. “As we remind ourselves how diversity and inclusion help make us stronger, we must also remember another reason why they’re important: because they’re part of our national character.”

Read the story here.

Ford, GM score high diversity marks

By Stacy M. Brown, The Pittsburgh Courier

The recently released Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project, an initiative of the Citizenship Education Fund (CEF), revealed a multi-topic assessment scorecard of diversity in the auto industry.

The scorecard provides consumers, investors and industry experts a snapshot of each automotive manufacturer’s ability to build and sustain ethnic diversity as a driver of marketplace competitiveness, according to a release from the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Read the story here.

Judicial Elections Erode Diversity on the Bench

A new report shows that minority candidates have a harder time holding onto judicial seats than white justices.

By Pema Levy, Mother Jones

In 2002, Texas Supreme Court Justice Xavier Rodriguez, a Republican, lost his seat on the bench to a white lawyer named Steven Wayne Smith. Smith, a fellow Republican who made a name for himself fighting affirmative action at the University of Texas, suggested that Rodriguez had been "underqualified" for his undergraduate education at Harvard. The Houston Chronicle reported that Smith decided to take on Rodriguez because "he thought a Hispanic wouldn't do well in the Republican primary."

Read the story here.

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Latest Medical Schools Data Show Increases in Applications, Enrollment of Minorities

By Jamal Eric Watson, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

The numbers are in. And according to new data released Thursday by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), enrollment at medical schools across the nation has increased 25 percent since 2002.

The dramatic incline in the number of enrollees—20,630 in 2015—signals an all-time high for medical colleges in the U.S. In addition, the total number of applicants to medical school rose by 6.2 percent to 52,550, exactly double the percentage increase from the previous year, according to AAMC officials. The number of first-time applicants—an important indicator of interest in medicine—increased by 4.8 percent to 38,460.

Read the story here.

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Facebook is targeting minority parents to improve tech's diversity gap

Facebook is targeting minority parents to improve tech's diversity gap

On Wednesday, the tech giant launched a new resource for minority learners—and their families.

By Valentina Zarya, Fortune

On Wednesday, the tech giant launched a new resource for minority learners—and their families.

Diversity in tech is a hot topic in Silicon Valley these days—with good reason. The arguments for it are countless: diverse workforces improve the bottom line, get companies closer to their customers, help spur innovation…the list goes on. However, one factor that stops tech companies from hiring more minorities and women is the so-called “pipeline problem.”

Indeed, in 2014 just 14.7% of computer science graduates were women, 4.1% were black and 7.7% were Hispanic, according to a report by the Computing Research Association.

Read the story here.

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Talking About Race, Class and College Access

American Council on Education’s Lorelle Espinosa and Matthew Gaertner of Pearson’s Center for College & Career Success discuss the takeaways from a recent convening on college access and success for minority and low-income students.

This past July, Hobsons and ACE hosted a small convening of admissions and enrollment management leaders to discuss college access and success for underrepresented minority and low-income students. The day-long discussion was framed by a recent report from ACE, in collaboration with Pearson’s Center for College & Career Success and The Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The report, Race, Class, and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape, summarizes a first-of-its-kind survey study of admissions and enrollment management leaders at selective colleges and universities. With an emphasis on racial diversity, the findings shed light on the strategies being used in a variety of institutional settings to advance higher education access.

Read the report here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

University of California Examines Deadlines for Disciplining Professors in Sexual Harassment Cases

By Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Facing criticism for not taking harsher action against a famous astronomer found to have repeatedly violated the University of California’s sexual harassment policies, the system is vowing to re-examine its deadlines for pursuing termination of tenured professors accused of misconduct. In so doing, it joins a number of other institutions that have recently re-evaluated their policies surrounding the reporting of harassment to give alleged victims more time.

Read the story here.

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US Labor Department settles allegations of systemic hiring discrimination at Hospira Inc., in McPherson, Kansas

Company agrees to pay female applicants $400K in back wages

WASHINGTON — Hospira Inc., a government contractor, discriminated against women in violation of Executive Order 11246 when it denied jobs to 145 female applicants for pharmacy attendant positions at its McPherson, Kansas, facility, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found.

Read the press release here.

As Fisher case draws near, students question diversity in recruiting, on campus

By Julia Brouilette, The Daily Texan

When Jennell Benson moved from the small city of Hillsboro, Texas, to attend an institution with the fifth-largest single-campus enrollment in the nation, she expected to be welcomed into a diverse community of students from a variety of different backgrounds and to certainly find more students who look like her.

“I thought, ‘Well it’s a bigger university, so there have to be more black people than there were at my high school,’” Benson said. “And there are more black people, but in terms of ratio, it’s the same.”

Read the story here.

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Women Now at the Head of the Class, Lead Men in College Attainment

By Kurt Bauman and Camille Ryan, U.S. Census Bureau

In 1940, under 5 percent of the U.S. population held a bachelor’s degree. Men, at 5.5 percent, were more likely than women at 3.8 percent, to have a college education. Although the 1.7 percentage point gap may appear small, it was big relative to the portion of women with bachelor’s degrees (it would have taken a 45 percent increase among women for them to match men).

Now, nearly 75 years after the Census Bureau began collecting these statistics, the educational attainment of our population has increased to 30 percent -and the gender balance has shifted. For the first time since measurement began in 1940, women were more likely than men to have a bachelor’s degree.

Read the story here.

Job Discrimination, Based on a Name

Room for Debate, The New York Times

Raven-SymonĂ© has apologized for saying, after watching a video of “ghetto names,” that she wouldn’t hire someone with an unusual African-American name. Such discrimination in hiring is common, and one study found that resumes sent out under African-American sounding names were 50 percent less likely to land job interviews than identical resumes sent out under white-sounding names.

How can employers confront racial bias over something as seemingly irrelevant as a name?

Read the discussion here.

Relevant article within Room for Debate:

The Effects of Seeing Asian Americans as a Model Minority

Room for Debate, The New York Times

Asian-Americans are often categorized as a single group, comprising about 5.4 percent of the U.S. population. But despite economic disparities between nationalities, it is the highest paid racial group, and its members are more likely to be seen as advantaged, than disadvantaged.

But is it fair to stereotype Asian-Americans as a “model minority,” free of the burdens of discrimination? Or do they also face obstacles as other nonwhite groups do?

Read the discussion here.

Relevant article within Room for Debate:

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Tinder, But For Diversity: Can Code Help Silicon Valley Find And Retain Minority Engineers?

By Salvador Rodriguez, International Business Times

SAN FRANCISCO -- If lack of diversity is Silicon Valley’s problem, is there a tech solution? While creating a diverse workforce with proportionate women and minorities may seem like the ultimate human problem, some believe there's a fix that involves code.

Read the story here.

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The Promise of Title IX: Sexual Violence and the Law

By Alexandra Brodsky and Elizabeth Deutsch, DISSENT Magazine

Ask any student organizing against campus rape what question he or she most often hears, and the answer will likely be: why are schools handling these cases at all? The clear legal answer is Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, which requires most schools to take active steps toward eliminating discrimination on the basis of sex, including preventing and responding to sexual harassment, so that students can continue to learn. What is truly puzzling then, is not the question itself, but the persistence with which it’s asked.

When most people hear “rape,” they think “crime,” and only crime. This limit to our collective thinking about gender violence and what to do about it means that we overlook the distinction between criminal proceedings and the alternative that Title IX presents to students on campus. Instead of viewing school disciplinary proceedings for rape or harassment as failed attempts at criminal adjudication, we should understand them as means to a different end—to address sexual violence on campus as a civil rights issue.

Read the story here.

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Will the Obama administration now focus on desegregating schools?

By Emma Brown, The Washington Post

When Arne Duncan steps down as education secretary in December and John King takes over, nothing much is expected to change in the world of federal education policy.

Except for maybe one thing.

King will perhaps take steps to focus the department’s energy — and money — on encouraging states and school districts to create integrated schools. That’s what a number of activists, lawyers and researchers are hoping, based on King’s past actions and recent statements.

Read the story here.

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California's racial profiling law is 'terrible' legislation, police officials say

By Kim Christensen and Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

California is about to tackle head on the charged issue of racial bias in law enforcement.

Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend signed legislation mandating that California law enforcement agencies collect — and make public — data on the racial makeup of all those encountered by police.

For civil rights activists, Brown's action was a big step toward protecting minorities from racial profiling.

For many in law enforcement, the measure creates a massive new bureaucratic headache that will do little to illuminate the question of whether police treat minority groups fairly.

Read the story here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

US Labor Department files second lawsuit alleging hiring discrimination at Pilgrim's Pride chicken plants

Complaint seeks back wages and job offers from Pilgrim's Pride Company

ATLANTA — One of the world's largest chicken processors systematically discriminated against qualified African-American applicants seeking entry-level jobs as laborers and operatives at its chicken plant in Marshville, North Carolina, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleges in a lawsuit filed against Pilgrim's Pride Corporation.

Read the press release here.

Fastenal Company will offer positions to 171 job applicants at Indianapolis and Atlanta facilities in hiring discrimination settlement

Company also agrees to pay African-American and female applicants $1.25M in back wages

INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has found that Fastenal Company, North America's leading distributor of fastening products and a federal government contractor, discriminated against 171 job applicants who sought general warehouse positions at two of its distribution facilities in Indianapolis and Atlanta.

Read the press release here.

OCI Petroleum/Santmyer Oil Company, Inc. Sued For Sex-Based Pay Discrimination

Oil Company Paid Female Employee Less Than Male Predecessor, Federal Agency Charges

CLEVELAND - SOCI Petroleum/Santmyer Oil Company, Inc., (SOCI), a leading oil company, violated federal equal pay laws by paying a female employee less than a male predecessor for performing substantially equal work, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on September 30, 2015.

Read the press release here.

Potato Packing Companies to Pay $450,000 to Settle EEOC Suit for Sex Harassment and Retaliation

At Least 13 Women at Monte Vista Plant Physically and Verbally Abused and Three Fired for Refusing to Submit or Complaining, Federal Agency Charged

DENVER - Two potato packing companies will pay $450,000 and furnish other relief to settle a lawsuit for sexual harassment and retaliation brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

Read the press release here.

#BlackBruinsMatter Movement Sheds Light on Alleged Hostile Climate at UCLA

By Autumn A. Arnett, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

After a Kanye Western-themed fraternity party at the University of California Los Angeles saw students donning “baggy clothes, plumped lips and padded bottoms” and “foreheads covered in charcoal,” as reported by the university’s student newspaper, many students took to social media to express their dismay and reinforce the idea that #BlackBruinsMatter.

Read the story here.

Supreme Court Sets Date To Hear UT-Austin Affirmative Action Lawsuit

By Ryan Poppe, Texas Public Radio

The U.S. Supreme Court has set a date to hear oral arguments in a case that challenges universities using race as a component of their admissions policy. In 2008, Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas at Austin after she failed to get into UT because of what she and her attorneys label as racial discrimination.

Read the story here.

Civil Rights Lawyer Defends Use of Race in Harvard Admissions

By Daphne C. Thompson, Harvard Crimson

Rahsaan D. Hall, the racial justice program director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts who defended Harvard’s consideration of race as a factor in its admissions processes, spoke of his law career to students Tuesday evening. Hall’s defense comes in light of a lawsuit against the University claiming that its affirmative action policies discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

Read the story here.

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What Corporate Boards Really Think About Diversity

By Katy Osborn, TIME

Not much.

It’s well known that women are drastically underrepresented in the highest echelons of corporate America, and minorities even more so. In a survey recently released by New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez of 69 Fortune 100 companies, just 22.9% of corporate directors were female. People of color made up just 18.3% of directors, and women of color 4.2%.

Read the story here.

Fixing Tech’s Gender Problem Requires Rethinking Business as Usual

By Rebecca Prinster, INSIGHT into Diversity

Conflicting narratives exist to explain why women are underrepresented and underpaid in the technology industry. One popular theory blames a leaky pipeline and a lack of interest in entering the profession.

But many women who have worked at tech companies and left the field mid-career blame a hostile culture that is not conducive or sympathetic to women.

The truth is a little of both.

Read the story here.

Diversifying Higher Ed Still a Challenge

By Autumn A. Arnett, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

In the 1990s, many institutions made a concerted e­ffort to hire more Black faculty members. The universities were propelled by a number of civil rights lawsuits in higher education whose outcomes mandated swift action by states to remedy the effects of segregation in higher education and by White House guidelines reaffirming the need for affirmative action. These schools, including Duke University and the University of Michigan, sought intentionally to recruit faculty of color to their ranks.

However, 20 years later, though there has been an increase in the number of non-White faculty members overall, National Center for Education Statistics data show that increase has primarily been among Asian faculty members. The percentage of Black professors on campus has increased only incrementally, while the number of Native American faculty has remained consistent over the last 20 years. (Female professors, however, have seen consistent, though modest, increases across all ethnicities.)

Read the story here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Alabama DMV closings draw call for federal voting rights probe

By Zachary Roth, MSNBC

An Alabama congresswoman has formally asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the state’s shuttering of driver’s license offices in several heavily black counties, warning that the closures throw up another obstacle to voting. The call for a federal probe comes as opposition to the state’s decision, announced last Wednesday, continues to mount.

“These closures will potentially disenfranchise Alabama’s poor, elderly, disabled, and black communities,” wrote Rep. Terri Sewell in a letter sent Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “To restrict the ability of any citizen to vote is an assault on the rights of all Americans to equally participate in the electoral process.”

Read the story here.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Home Depot agrees to pay $83K to women subjected to gender discrimination at Southern California store

LOS ANGELES — For years, women at The Home Depot in Southern California store found themselves funneled into cashier jobs while their male coworkers landed higher-paying sales jobs. As a federal contractor, however, the company is obligated to offer equal opportunities to all job applicants and employees.

Read the press release here.

EEOC Sues Prince George’s County for Pay Discrimination

County Paid Female Engineer Less Than Her Male Colleagues, Federal Agency Charges

BALTIMORE - Prince George's County, Md., violated federal law when it repeatedly paid a female engineer less than her male coworkers because of her gender, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

Read the press release here.

EEOC Sues Coca-Cola Bottling Of Mobile for Sex Discrimination

Company Refused Job to Experienced Applicant Because of Gender, Federal Agency Charges

MOBILE, Ala. -- Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mobile, a manufacturer, bottler and distri­butor of soft drink products violated federal law by discriminating against a job applicant on the basis of sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on Sept. 30.

Read the story here.

Trans Ocean Seafoods Sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Company Ignored Supervisor's Explicit Sexual Harassment, Retaliated Against Workers, Federal Agency Charges

SEATTLE - Northwestern Washington-based Trans Ocean Seafoods, Inc., doing business as New England Shellfish, violated federal law by allowing a supervisor to sexually harass four female workers and by retaliating against three of the victims and a male employee who tried to help them, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

Read the press release here.

Reserve Casino Hotel Sued by EEOC for Age and Sex Discrimination

Company Discriminated Against Female and Older Applicants by Refusing to Hire Them for Various Positions, Federal Agency Charged

DENVER - RCH Colorado, owner and operator of the Reserve Casino Hotel, a prominent hotel and casino in Central City, Colo., violated federal law by not hiring older candidates and females with equal or greater qualifications over males and younger applicants, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit.

Read the press release here.

The Hollywood gender discrimination investigation is on: EEOC contacts women directors

By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has begun contacting female directors to investigate gender discrimination in Hollywood.

In the EEOC letter sent out Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, the agency asks to schedule interviews with the women, “so that we may learn more about the gender-related issues which you are facing in both the film and television industries.”

Read the story here.

The number of black teachers has dropped in nine U.S. cities

By Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post

The number of black public school teachers in nine cities — including the country’s three largest school districts — dropped between 2002 and 2012, raising questions about whether those school systems are doing enough to maintain a diverse teaching corps, according to a new report to be released Wednesday.

The study by the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank funded by the American Federation of Teachers, looked at teacher data from nine cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The research found that each city saw a drop in the number of black teachers in traditional and charter schools.

Read the story here.

Click here for the official Albert Shanker Institute report on teacher diversity.

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STEM Initiative to Focus on Minority Women, Girls

By Ronald Roach, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

With a high-profile announcement from the Obama administration last month, a consortium of 10 colleges and universities and nine nonprofit organizations led by Arizona State University researchers has launched a national initiative to “identify and scale effective evidence-based strategies to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) diversity in the nation’s colleges and universities with a special focus on women and girls of color from underrepresented communities.”

Read the story here.

Diversity Officers Recognize Reboot May Be Needed

By Reginald Stuart, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

At a time when the term diversity appears steadily shifting in meaning and sliding off many radars as a priority, more than 100 of the top diversity officers across the country gathered in Chicago this week for what has been described as closed-door, frank talk about the status of diversity and how to regain the momentum it once had.

Read the story here.

Education Secretary Bluntly Addresses Racial Disparities

By Autumn A. Arnett, Diverse Issues in Higher Education

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in a speech before an audience Wednesday at the National Press Club, announced a new policy to reallocate state correctional funding dollars to raises for teachers in the nation’s most underprivileged districts.

In what were perhaps his most intentional comments to date on race, Duncan addressed the disparities in educational access and correctional patterns within a decidedly racial framework.

Read the story here.