Category Archives: Discrimination

Municipal Equality Index – 2018

Source: Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, October 2018

From the press release:
Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, announced that a record-setting 78 cities across the nation earned perfect scores in the seventh annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), meeting the most demanding and pioneering criteria since the report’s debut in 2012. The MEI is the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services.

The 2018 MEI evolved dramatically this year, instituting new benchmarks ensuring equal access to single-user facilities in public spaces, as well as protecting LGBTQ youth from bullying in city services and from dangerous so-called “conversion therapy.” Additionally, this year the MEI deducted points for laws that include provisions licensing discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

But even with these more stringent MEI requirements, cities and municipalities are meeting and exceeding our standards with innovative measures to protect LGBTQ people. A record 78 cities earned perfect scores for advancing LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies — up from 68 in 2017 and 11 in 2012, the first year of the MEI. And in the current political reality, welcoming cities like these are more important than ever….

What You Should Know: EEOC Leads the Way in Preventing Workplace Harassment

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 2018

From the press release:
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced preliminary FY 2018 sexual harassment data today – highlighting its significant work this past fiscal year to address the pervasive problem of workplace harassment. What You Should Know: EEOC Leads the Way in Preventing Workplace Harassment recognizes key milestones of the agency to actively enforce the law, to educate and train workers and employers, and to share its expertise on new solutions to reduce harassing conduct in the workplace. ….

Based on preliminary data, in FY 2018:

– The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual harassment. That reflects more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over fiscal year 2017.
– In addition, charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12 percent from fiscal year 2017.
– Overall, the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY 2018, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.

Who are the “Illegals”? The Social Construction of Illegality in the United States

Source: René D. Flores, Ariela Schachter, American Sociological Review, Volume: 83 Number: 5, October 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Immigration scholars have increasingly questioned the idea that “illegality” is a fixed, inherent condition. Instead, the new consensus is that immigration laws produce “illegality.” But can “illegality” be socially constructed? When initially judging who is an “illegal immigrant,” common observers and even authorities typically do not rely on an individual’s documentation. Instead, people rely on shared stereotypes to assign “illegality” to certain bodies, a condition we refer to as “social illegality.” Ethnographers have documented that individual traits like occupation or national-origin may trigger illegality suspicions, but it is not clear how widespread these stereotypes are, or whether all stereotypes are equally consequential. To address this question, we examine the personal attributes shaping perceived “illegality.” We apply a paired conjoint survey experiment on a nationally representative sample of 1,515 non-Hispanic white U.S. adults to assess the independent effect of each dimension. We find that national origin, social class, and criminal background powerfully shape perceptions of illegality. These findings reveal a new source of ethnic-based inequalities—“social illegality”—that may potentially increase law enforcement scrutiny and influence the decisions of hiring managers, landlords, teachers, and other members of the public.

“Could My Dark Hands Break through the Dark Shadow?”: Gender, Jim Crow, and Librarianship during the Long Freedom Struggle, 1935–1955

Source: Alex H. Poole, The Library Quarterly, Vol. 88 no. 4, October 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article illuminates the role of southern African American female librarians during the long civil rights movement (1930s through 1960s). Black women faced the “double jeopardy” of race and gender, but college-educated, “Female Talented Tenth” members such as Mollie Huston Lee and other North Carolina librarians committed to personal and community uplift. Institutions such as the North Carolina Negro Library Association (1935–55) and the Richard B. Harrison Library (established in 1935) were incubators of innovative resistance strategies to white racism and were crucial in setting the stage for direct action in the 1960s.

Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Source: Suzanne Hultin, LegisBrief, Vol . 26, No. 17, May 2018

The recent wave of sexual harassment allegations against media, sports moguls, politicians and people of power over the past year has prompted many state legislatures to address how they are protecting their state’s workers. Many state legislatures are looking to go beyond federal regulations to prevent workplace sexual harassment.

How Companies Make It Tougher for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Employees to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Source: Katina Sawyer, Christian Thoroughgood, Harvard Business Review, August 23, 2018

…. Recently, we conducted a qualitative study in which we interviewed 53 lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) employees in the U.S. across various industries and job types. Specifically, we asked about their work-family experiences at their current organizations. Our study was motivated by the observation that, since its inception more than 30 years ago, research on work-family conflict in organizations has assumed that employees belong to a heterosexual family structure (one man and one woman). Our goal was to determine whether previous research on employees’ experiences of work-family conflict applied similarly to LGB employees and their families.

We found that, although LGB employees experience many of the same work-family conflicts that their heterosexual colleagues do — for example, work time interfering with family time, or feeling unable to separate from work at home — they experience a range of additional conflicts related to their stigmatized family identity. These include a sense of tension over whether to take advantage of family-related benefits for fear of revealing their same-sex relationship, feeling conflicted over whether to bring spouses to work events, and feeling uneasy about discussing with a supervisor the family-related challenges that impact their work life. ….

How HR and Judges Made It Almost Impossible for Victims of Sexual Harassment to Win in Court

Source: Lauren B. Edelman, Harvard Business Review, August 22, 2018

…. Programs, policies, and training alone do not stop sexual harassment and abuse. My book Working Law — based on surveys of organizations, interviews with HR professionals, and content analyses of both human resources journals and federal court opinions — shows that sexual harassment policies and procedures can comfortably coexist in organizational cultures where women are regularly subjected to demeaning commentary, unwanted physical contact, and even threats or sexual assault. In other words, someone can be sexually harassed without recourse in an organization with plenty of rules on the books. ….

…. But one factor that’s often left out of this conversation is the role the courts have played in shielding companies from legal liability. When a case does manage to reach the legal system, courts will often side with a company due to the mere presence of an official policy, regardless of whether the policy is actually effective in addressing harassment or abuse. I call these policies “symbolic structures,” and they often do more to protect employers from lawsuits than they do to protect employees from harassment. ….

States Ask Supreme Court to Limit LGBT Protection

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg, August, 24, 2018

– Case tests reach of ban on sex discrimination in workplace
– Trump administration agencies divided over legal question

A group of 16 states urged the U.S. Supreme Court Aug. 23 to rule that companies can fire workers based on their sexual orientation and gender identity without violating federal workplace discrimination law.

The states, led by Nebraska Attorney General David Bydalek, asked the justices to overturn an appeals court decision against a Michigan funeral home that fired a transgender worker. They said Congress didn’t intend the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to cover bias against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender employees….

Rural Resentment and LGBTQ Equality

Source: Luke A. Boso – University of San Francisco School of Law, Florida Law Review (Forthcoming, 2019), Date Written: August 23, 2018

From the abstract:
In 2015, the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges settled a decades-long national debate over the legality of same-sex marriage. Since Obergefell, however, local and state legislatures in conservative and mostly rural states have proposed and passed hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills. Obergefell may have ended the legal debate over marriage, but it did not resolve the cultural divide. Many rural Americans feel that they are under attack. Judicial opinions and legislation protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination are serious threats to rural dwellers because they conflict with several core tenets of rural identity: community solidarity, individual self-reliance, and compliance with religiously informed gender and sexual norms. This conflict is amplified by the relative invisibility of gay and transgender people who live in rural areas, and the predominately urban media representations of gay and transgender people. In several respects, the conflict is merely perceived and not real. It is at these junctures of perceived conflict that we can draw important lessons for bridging the cultural divide, thereby protecting LGBTQ people across geographic spaces.

This Article examines the sources and modern manifestations of rural LGBTQ resentment to provide foundational insights for the ongoing fight to protect all vulnerable minorities. Pro-LGBTQ legislation and judicial opinions symbolize a changing America in which rural inhabitants see their identities disappearing, devalued, and disrespected. The left, popularly represented in rural America as urban elites, characterizes anti-LGBTQ views as bigoted, and many people in small towns feel victimized by this criticism. Drawing on a robust body of social science research, this Article suggests that these feelings of victimization lead to resentment when outside forces like federal judges and state and big-city legislators tell rural Americans how to act, think and feel. Rural Americans resent “undeserving” minorities who have earned rights and recognition in contrast to the identities of and at the perceived expense of white, straight, working-class prestige. They resent that liberal, largely urban outsiders are telling them that they must change who they are to accommodate people whom they perceive as unlike them. Opposing LGBTQ rights is thus one mechanism to protect and assert rural identity. It is important to unearth and pay attention to rural anti-LGBTQ resentment in the post-Obergefell era because it is part of a larger force animating conservative politics across the United States.