Thursday, September 29, 2016

Office of the Press Secretary
September 29, 2016

FACT SHEET: Helping Working Americans Get Ahead by Expanding Paid Sick Leave and Fighting for Equal Pay

“A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.  She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.  A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too.”
— President Barack Obama, 2014 State of the Union Address

Today the White House is highlighting two new actions to further support working Americans.   First, the Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to require employees of businesses doing work on federal contracts to earn up to seven paid sick days a year.  Second, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is publishing its final and approved collection of summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees to improve enforcement of our nation’s equal pay laws.

Since taking office, President Obama has promoted policies to grow and strengthen the middle class by supporting working families.  Despite tremendous changes that have transformed America and its families over the past 50 years, our workplaces have not kept pace.  In most families today, both parents work and share in the responsibilities of caring for children or other family members. Recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that these efforts have resulted in strong progress for America’s working families.  Today, a record share of private sector workers now have access to paid sick leave, increasing from 61 to 64 percent over the past year.  Furthermore, this increase was driven almost entirely by increased access in low-wage jobs: in just one year, the share of workers in the lowest-paid quarter of occupations that had access to paid sick leave jumped from 31 to 39 percent.  Since the President took office, the number of private sector workers with paid sick leave has grown by 10.6 million.

Despite this progress, millions of Americans still do not have access to even a single day of paid sick leave, so when workers get sick they may have to choose between caring for themselves or paying their bills.  Too many parents must make the painful choice between staying home to take care of a sick child—and losing out on a day’s pay—or sending their child to school sick.  For that reason, President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act—which would guarantee most Americans the chance to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year—and urging states, cities, and businesses to act where Congress has not.

Similarly, despite a woman’s pay being just as critical for a family to make ends meet, women make less than their male peers.  The President has fought to close that gap, and the first legislation he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, an important step in ensuring that Americans can effectively challenge unequal pay in the courts.  Since then, he has taken numerous other steps to advance equal pay, including issuing a 2014 Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss their pay, and announcing a White House Equal Pay Pledge that has now been signed by more than 50 of America’s leading businesses.

Similar to the expansion of paid sick leave, progress has been made on the gender pay gap.  In 2008, a typical woman working full-time earned only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a typical man; today, that has risen to 80 cents.  That means that for a woman working full-time, the pay gap has shrunk by more than 10 percent, or about $1200, since the President took office.

Yet much work remains.  Too many women and workers of color are still not paid equally for equal work, with African-American women earning 63 cents and Latina women earning 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man.  And 41 million private sector workers do not have access to even a single day of paid sick leave.   Today’s actions mark critical progress to support the needs of working Americans and their families.

To continue reading the statement release from the White House click here.

The USM’s new 29-member diversity council will prioritize inclusion on college campuses

The University System of Maryland has formed a new council to assess campus climates and foster diversity and inclusion among its 12 member institutions.

Following an initial meeting over the summer, the system's Diversity and Inclusion Council met for the second time on Friday to continue addressing campus concerns across the system.

Read more here from the Diamondback.

Diversity Graduation Tassel Sparks Debate at George Washington University

George Washington University (GWU) recently announced that it plans to offer students who complete at least eight weeks of diversity and inclusion training prior to graduation a “diversity graduation cord” to wear with their traditional robe and cap.

Read more here from Insight to Diversity.

7th Circuit Finds No Hostile Work Environment When Employee Finds Noose in Work Space

Undoubtedly, most, if not all, laypersons, and even most lawyers, who read the title of this post will instantly wonder how any court could not find a hostile work environment claim to have merit when a noose is discovered in the workplace by an African-American employee. I often find myself in very difficult phone call consultations with people when I have to hear their very difficult work situations and then have to explain the law to them. Indeed, some of these callers hang up on me as if I do not know what I am talking about and they do not want to hear it anymore. However, as this case highlights, plaintiffs in discrimination, harassment and hostile work environment cases, have very difficult burdens to meet.

Read more here from Wisconsin Employment & Labor Law blog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mizzou Chancellor ‘Outraged’ After Black Students Report Racist Inciden

Two black students at the University of Missouri at Columbia say they were verbally assaulted outside a fraternity house late Tuesday night when students yelled racial slurs and other obscenities at them, according to a statement from the university’s Legion of Black Collegians.

The reported incident has echoes of the events that preceded the turmoil on the campus last year, when protests and a boycott by the football team led to the system president and the flagship chancellor stepping down. For instance, the then-president of the student body reported being accosted and called a racist epithet,as did members of the Legion of Black Collegians.

Read more here.

Yale study suggests racial bias among preschool teachers

Why are black preschoolers in America more than three times as likely to be suspended than their white classmates?

Perhaps because teachers are more likely to expect young black children — especially young black boys — to misbehave, according to a new Yale study.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Yale University Child Study Center, asked more than 130 preschool teachers to watch video clips of children in classrooms. The teachers were told to look for signs of “challenging behavior.”

Read more from The Washington Post.

Affirmative action is always 13 years too late for those it's intended to help

If you’re Hispanic or African-American in this country, the chances that you’ll go to college are no better than a coin flip: 50-50. If you’re one of those minorities and you do go to college, the chances that you’ll graduate are another coin flip: half will drop out.

For the millions facing these odds, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin to uphold UT’s affirmative action program blesses an effort that comes 13 years too late. What our minority students really need and deserve is a better K-12 education.

As the founder of IDEA Public Schools, a charter school system whose mission is to send every student to college well-prepared, I know from watching it fail my own graduates that affirmative action alone will not address the complex problem.

Read more from TribTalk.


Faculty members are searching for answers after some cases in which the University of Iowa has hired new employees without conducting formal searches.

UI President Bruce Harreld announced Cheryl Reardon’s hiring as the chief human-resources officer and associate vice president last week.

Reardon, who has served the UI for 25 years, led the 18-member Talent@Iowa task force, which was responsible for evaluating the efficiency of the Human Resources Department. The panel recommended in its final report in August that Human Resources restructure and report directly to the President’s Office.
Read the rest of the article from The Daily Iowan here.

DAVIS-MARKS: Affirming action

One day, in my junior year of high school, I decided to sacrifice my lunch period to work on my Advanced Placement U.S. History assignment. When I sat down to work on a computer in the library, a classmate of mine — whom I barely knew at the time — looked up at me and said that affirmative action shouldn’t exist.

On a surface, this claim may seem benign. Not true. When many of my black classmates were admitted to elite schools in my senior year, many of our predominantly white and Asian peers asserted that our admission was inevitable because we were black. Together with my black classmates, I spent time defending our admittances to places like Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia.

Read all of Isis- Davis Marks' article.

‘We Want Our Voices Heard’- Will Affirmative Action Bill Be Passed?

Monrovia - The Affirmative Action Bill for equal participation and representation of women in politics, which has suffered many setbacks and lingering since 2010, was recently passed by the House of Senate, but may be passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday of this week.

Read more from Front Page Africa Online here.

Monday, September 26, 2016

UA and MCAA Discuss Affirmative Action Issues with DoL Compliance Officials - See more at:

The UA’s Director of Training Chris Haslinger and MCAA General Counsel John McNerney gave a 90- minute presentation to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on September 22, 2016. The presentation covered jointly administered training programs, collective bargaining agreement worker dispatch practices, hiring hall operations and MCAA member hiring procedures. 
 See more at MCAA.

UA and MCAA Discuss Affirmative Action Issues with DoL Compliance Officials

The UA’s Director of Training Chris Haslinger and MCAA General Counsel John McNerney gave a 90- minute presentation to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) on September 22, 2016. The presentation covered jointly administered training programs, collective bargaining agreement worker dispatch practices, hiring hall operations and MCAA member hiring procedures. 
 See more at MCAA.

State urged to entrench affirmative action in law

Kenyan legislative has been urged to assign 30 per cent of state corporation and private company board seats to women.

A research conducted by the Kenya Institute of Management places says women in Kenya occupy only Kenyan women 20 per cent of board seats with the current women population in the country slightly above 50 per cent.

Read more from The Star, Kenya here.

Race-Based Affirmative Action is Still Progressive

In the article “Affirmative Action: A Cruel Policy Masquerading as Progressivism” Navid Kiassat claims that race-based affirmative action is, by implication, always bad. By suggesting that colleges should forget about racial affirmative action and instead focus on class-based affirmative action, Kiassat not only ignores the effects of race, but also forgets the importance of a racially diverse student body.
At selective elite institutions, admission offices look for diversity and fit when it comes to deciding which students get accepted, not just race and academics. When there are a plethora of qualified applicants, colleges have the luxury of accepting a diverse class. Diversity doesn’t just constitute racial makeup, but also geographic diversity, artistic and athletic talent, religious diversity, and even socioeconomic diversity. There are just so many factors that play into the application process that one would be wrong to claim that any applicant was accepted just because of their skin color.
Read more from Swarthmore College's The Daily Gazette. 

GAO Report Finds Weaknesses in OFCCP Compliance Evaluations

On September 22, 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report evaluating the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The report, entitled “Equal Employment Opportunity: Strengthening Oversight Could Improve Federal Contractor Nondiscrimination Compliance,” largely covers the weaknesses in OFCCP’s compliance evaluations, which, according to the report, have an impact on the effectiveness of its enforcement efforts. The report lays the blame on “OFCCP’s weak compliance evaluation selection process, reliance on voluntary compliance, and lack of staff training.”

Read more from JDSupra Business Advisor here.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Strengthening Oversight Could Improve Federal Contractor Nondiscrimination Compliance

OFCCP is charged with ensuring that about 200,000 federal contractor establishments refrain from discrimination and take affirmative action to provide equal employment opportunities for certain protected classes of workers. GAO was asked to review OFCCP practices.
In this report, GAO (1) assessed how OFCCP conducts supply and service compliance evaluations, including the methodology, resources, and results, and (2) evaluated OFCCP outreach, assistance, and guidance efforts to assist contractors in complying with the requirements it enforces. GAO analyzed both OFCCP Information System data and a nongeneralizable sample of 43 case files and reviewed relevant federal laws, executive orders, regulations, guidance, and agency documents. GAO also interviewed a nongeneralizable sample of 24 contractors with and without experience with a compliance evaluation; managers and staff in OFCCP's headquarters and all six regional offices; and representatives of national organizations representing contractors and protected workers' interests.
Read GAO's report on the Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Monday, September 12, 2016

EEO, VETS Reports Due Sept. 30

Covered employers must file their EEO-1 and VETS-4212 affirmative action reports with the federal government by Sept. 30.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor (DOL) require that certain employers disclose the demographics of their workforce in two different annual reports. 
The EEO-1 report applies to employers subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and who have 100 or more employees and to federal contractors with 50 or more employees and a contract or subcontract amounting to $50,000, or more.
To read more from the Society for Human Resource Management click here.

Mindy Kaling's Brother Writes 'Shameful' Tell-All Book

Actress/comedienne Mindy Kaling’s “almost black” older brother made national headlines and prompted much Twitter outrage last April with the controversial revelation that he gained acceptance to medical school back in the day under false pretenses by self-identifying as African American in the application process.

Formerly in the ensemble cast of The Office, Mindy Kaling is the popular creator and star of The Mindy Project, which now airs on Hulu after three years on Fox.

With an official release date of September 13, 2016, the TV star’s brother, Vijay Chokal-Ingam (a.k.a. Vijay Ingam), has published an irreverent and very un-PC memoir about gaming the affirmative action system called Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got into Medical School by Pretending to Be Black.

Upon reading Vijay’s book proposal about his own project, Mindy Kaling allegedly responded, according to her brother, that “this book will bring shame on the family.”

Vijay apparently decided to move forward with the tome because of the important societal implications of affirmative action and his experiences in navigating through it. Another motivator is that UCLA (his second alma mater) is considering the reinstatement of affirmative action.

Read more from the Inquisitr here.