Category Archives: Discrimination

Sexual Harassment Cases Go Uncounted as Complaint Process Goes Private

Source: Jeff Green, Bloomberg, April 23, 2018

Even as women have begun speaking out about sexual harassment at work, the number of official complaints to state and federal regulators hit a two-decade low in 2017.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its state-level counterparts received just over 9,600 complaints in 2017, according to data obtained by Bloomberg, down from more than 16,000 in 1997—a 41 percent drop.

Shutdown of Texas Schools Probe Shows Trump Administration Pullback on Civil Rights

Source: Annie Waldman, Pro Publica & Mother Jones, April 23, 2018

The U.S. Department of Education was investigating why black students in Bryan, Texas, are almost four times as likely as white students to be suspended. Then Betsy DeVos took over.

Related:
2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection: School and Climate Safety
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, April 2018

What’s unconscious bias training, and does it work?

Source: Calvin K. Lai, The Conversation, April 19, 2018

….Unconscious bias training has become a popular approach to diversity education. The trainings often begin with demonstrations of how the mind operates in ways that are outside of conscious awareness or control. These demonstrations show that people make, and sometimes act on, snap judgments based on the other person’s race, without any conscious intention…..

Resistance to school integration in the name of ‘local control’: 5 questions answered

Source: Erica Frankenberg, Kendra Taylor, The Conversation, April 12, 2018

Editor’s note: The word “secession” is often used in reference to states or countries that wish to break off and form their own government. But here in the United States, there are communities that want to secede from their school districts to form their own. One of the latest examples is a case in Gardendale, Alabama, where a court recently ruled that the community’s attempt to leave the Jefferson County, Alabama, school district was motivated by racial discrimination and therefore unconstitutional. In order to gain more insight into what’s driving school district secession efforts, The Conversation reached out to Erica Frankenberg, who has examined the effect of the school secession movement on school segregation in Jefferson County and throughout the nation…..

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Anti-Harassment Complaint Process

Source: Jonathan A. Segal, HR Magazine, Vol. 63 no. 3, April 2018
(subscription required)

No complaints doesn’t mean no harassment. Here’s how to build trust in your reporting procedures. ….

…. Leaders at many organizations are taking a fresh look at their strategies for preventing and addressing sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement. As you revisit your policies, don’t forget to also fine-tune your complaint procedures. Without a robust process that employees can trust, an anti-harassment policy has little value. 

1. Make Clear Who Can Bring Complaints. ….
2. Have Multiple Points of Contact. ….
3. Detail What Constitutes Prohibited Conduct ….
4. Provide Robust Protection Against Retaliation ….
5. Take Strong Corrective Action ….

When the Shadow Is the Substance: Judge Gender and the Outcomes of Workplace Sex Discrimination Cases

Source: Matthew Knepper, Journal of Labor Economics, Ahead of Print, April 10, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The number of workplace sex discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission approaches 25,000 annually. Do the subsequent judicial proceedings suffer from a discriminatory gender bias? Exploiting random assignment of federal district court judges to civil cases, I find that female plaintiffs filing workplace sex discrimination claims are substantially more likely to settle and win compensation whenever a female judge is assigned to the case. Additionally, female judges are 15 percentage points less likely than male judges to grant motions filed by defendants, which suggests that final negotiations are shaped by the emergence of the bias.

Sexual Harassment and Title VII: Selected Legal Issues

Source: Christine J. Back, Wilson C. Freeman, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R45155, April 9, 2018

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) generally prohibits discrimination in the workplace, but does not contain an express prohibition against harassment. The Supreme Court, however, has interpreted the statute to prohibit certain forms of harassment, including sexual harassment. Since first recognizing the viability of a Title VII harassment claim in a unanimous 1986 decision, the Court has also established legal standards for determining when offensive conduct amounts to a Title VII violation and when employers may be held liable for such actionable harassment, and created an affirmative defense available to employers under certain circumstances.

Given this judicially created paradigm for analyzing sexual harassment under Title VII, this report examines key Supreme Court precedent addressing Title VII sexual harassment claims, the statutory interpretation and rationales reflected in these decisions, and examples of lower federal court decisions applying this precedent. The report also discusses various types of harassment recognized by the Supreme Court—such as “hostile work environment,” quid pro quo, constructive discharge, and same-sex harassment—and explores tensions, disagreements, or apparent inconsistencies among federal courts when analyzing these claims.

Finally, this report examines sexual harassment in the context of retaliation. Does Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision protect an employee from being fired, for example, for reporting sexual harassment? How do federal courts approach the analysis of a Title VII claim alleging that an employer retaliated against an employee by subjecting him or her to harassment? The report discusses Supreme Court and federal appellate court precedent relevant to these questions….