Category Archives: Discrimination

The limits of equality bargaining in the USA

Source: Peter Berg, Matthew M Piszczek, Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 56 no. 2, April 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Gender equality bargaining in the US is poorly understood and lacks analysis. Using existing theories of collective bargaining and gender equality bargaining, we examine the state and process of gender equality bargaining in the US as well as the contextual factors that facilitate or inhibit its development. Based on interviews with national labor union leaders, we find that the practice of gender equality bargaining among US unions is relatively narrow, largely because of the unique inhibitive characteristics of the US environment. Key factors making gender equality bargaining difficult include a lack of public policy support and decentralized bargaining structures. We also find that while most national unions have made an effort to put female leaders in positions of power, this is not necessarily mirrored at the local level. Our analysis also includes a discussion of union strategies for overcoming inhibitive contextual factors and taking maximum advantage of facilitative contextual factors.

Beyond Bobby Jo Clary: The Unavailability of Same-Sex Marital Privileges Infringes the Rights of So Many More Than Criminal Defendants

Source: Katharine Traylor Schaffzin, University of Memphis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 136, March 31, 2014

From the abstract:
Confusion over the applicability of marital privileges invoked by same-sex spouses from one jurisdiction to the next has a chilling effect on the full and frank communication marital privileges seek to encourage. With the growing number of jurisdictions recognizing same-sex marriages in the wake of United States v. Windsor, conflicts between state marriage laws embracing marriage equality and state versions of the Defense of Marriage Act (“mini-DOMAs”) will similarly increase. Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) permits a state with a mini-DOMA to invalidate a marriage validly celebrated in another. So, too, may a state with a mini-DOMA refuse to recognize a marital privilege otherwise available to opposite-sex couples to protect a same-sex marriage celebrated in another state or a confidential communication held in another state. A conversation in New York, which would recognize a valid marriage between same-sex partners and thus apply any available marital privilege, may never be had for fear that future litigation in Texas, which maintains a mini-DOMA, may force one spouse to reveal those confidential communications while testifying adversely to her spouse.

To provide the certainty needed to fulfill the purpose of the marital privileges, federal court intervention is required to strike section 2 of DOMA and all mini-DOMAs as unconstitutional violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. With reasonable certainty that their marriages will be deemed valid in all jurisdictions, same-sex couples can take comfort in knowing they will not be forced to testify adversely to one another or reveal confidential communications they shared. Same-sex marriages, like their opposite-sex counterparts, will be strengthened by the benefits such privileges afford.

Race, Neighborhood Danger, and Coping Strategies Among Female Probationers and Parolees

Source: Jennifer E. Cobbina, Merry Morash, Deborah A. Kashy, Sandi W. Smith, Race and Justice, Vol. 4 no. 1, January 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Research suggests that individuals on probation and parole typically reside in impoverished neighborhoods affected by multiple forms of socioeconomic disadvantage. These neighborhoods are often extremely segregated, resulting in the concentration of deleterious effects, including crime, on communities of color, especially African Americans. We build on previous research by examining how Black and White female offenders negotiate neighborhood crime in distressed communities. Using a mixed-methods approach, our findings suggest that perceptions of neighborhood safety, crime, and strategies to avoid offending are different for Black and White women and related to neighborhood context. We propose that future research should investigate long-term outcomes of the use of particular strategies to address neighborhood crime.
How to keep women on parole out of prison
Source: Andy Henion,, April 16, 2014

As the female prison population grows, more should be done to help women probationers and parolees in poor urban areas remain crime-free, a new study reports…. Probation and parole officers, case managers, and others should help the women find housing in safer areas and provide access to resources to help them stay clean, sober, and stable, says Jennifer Cobbina, lead author of the study and assistant professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University. That could be something as simple as transportation to a mental health or substance abuse treatment meeting. On a larger scale, it means reinvesting in low-income communities and confronting discriminatory housing policies and other barriers to living in positive environments faced by racial minorities, she says….

The Wage Gap, State by State

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), April 2014

Families depend on women’s wages more than ever, but the typical woman working full time, year round is paid less than the typical full-time, year-round male worker. These disparities exist in every state. However, as indicated in the map below, the size of the disparity varies by state. Additionally, women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers — and full-time, year-round work at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour leaves a woman with two children thousands of dollars below the poverty line. Working to close the wage gap and increasing the minimum wage are key steps towards fair pay for women.

Read our fact sheets on the state-by-state wage gaps for African-American women, Hispanic women, and women overall:
The Wage Gap By State for Women Overall
The Wage Gap By State for African-American Women
The Wage Gap By State for Hispanic Women
The Wage Gap by State for Women Overall, African-American Women, and Hispanic Women (Combined)

Click on a state below to see its wage gap for women overall, African American women, and Hispanic women, as well as the state’s minimum wage.

Combating Punitive Pay Secrecy Policies
Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Fact Sheet, April 2012

Observations on History, Law, and the Rise of the New Jim Crow in State-Level Immigration Law and Policy for Latinos

Source: Tom Romero II, University of Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-17, April 7, 2014

From the abstract:
This essay works to connect the history of local enforcement of immigration law and policy against Mexican migrants and Mexican American citizens and its relationship to the creation and perpetuation of what Michelle Alexander has described as a redesigned caste system in the United States. As state and local government authorities then and now sought to define and respond to a “Mexican menace” as the failed enforcement of federal immigration law, such law and policy challenged not only Congress’s seemingly settled plenary power to determine who had license and permission to be in the United States but also who had the authority to define and extend the benefits of citizenship and full participation in American culture and life. In tandem with federal law, the essay identifies how local ordinances and state statutes created legal and social conditions remarkably similar to the Jim Crow ordinances and state statutes that perpetuated and justified racial discrimination and unequal treatment against African Americans in the years and decades after the Civil War. A local or state government’s attempt to police and deport the “illegal alien” with the use of its county sheriffs, the state patrol, or its national guard highlighted the problematic extent that local and state governments exercised in most disciplinary powers of sovereignty (policing) against Latinos, subject to the most minimal standards of judicial review (immigration law). In the end, the essay highlights the domestic consequences of the United States’ imperial project in the ways that laws and policies designed to preserve a nation’s borders in turn have played a fundamental and pernicious role on the creation and maintenance of a racialized system of social control in the modern multiracial United States.

Leveraging Discrimination

Source: Olatunde C. Johnson, Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-378, March 1, 2014

Fro the abstract:
As the Civil Rights Act of 1964 turns fifty, antidiscrimination law has become unfashionable. Civil rights strategies are posited as not up to the serious task of addressing contemporary problems of inequality such as improving mobility for low-wage workers or providing access into entry-level employment. This Article argues that there is a danger in casting aside the Civil Rights Act as one charts new courses to address inequality. This Article revisits the implementation strategies that emerged in the first decade of the Act to reveal that the Act was not limited to addressing formal discrimination or bias, but rather drew on a broad set of private and public implementation tools to respond to evolving problems of exclusion. I argue that there is a value in retaining hold of the Act’s civil rights infrastructure, even as reformers develop other tools and strategies for promoting equity and inclusion. The Act continues to provide an important regulatory framework for addressing problems of exclusion facing a broad range of groups, across a range of domains (education, employment, transportation, environment, agriculture and more) and using a range of potentially powerful public and private enforcement strategies. For pragmatic as well as expressive reasons, there is value in continuing to leverage the Act’s great aspiration and powerful design.

Jim Crow 2.0? Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies

Source: Keith G. Bentele and Erin E. O’Brien, Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 11 no. 4, December 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in state legislation likely to reduce access for some voters, including photo identification and proof of citizenship requirements, registration restrictions, absentee ballot voting restrictions, and reductions in early voting. Political operatives often ascribe malicious motives when their opponents either endorse or oppose such legislation. In an effort to bring empirical clarity and epistemological standards to what has been a deeply-charged, partisan, and frequently anecdotal debate, we use multiple specialized regression approaches to examine factors associated with both the proposal and adoption of restrictive voter access legislation from 2006–2011. Our results indicate that proposal and passage are highly partisan, strategic, and racialized affairs. These findings are consistent with a scenario in which the targeted demobilization of minority voters and African Americans is a central driver of recent legislative developments. We discuss the implications of these results for current partisan and legal debates regarding voter restrictions and our understanding of the conditions incentivizing modern suppression efforts. Further, we situate these policies within developments in social welfare and criminal justice policy that collectively reduce electoral access among the socially marginalized.

The Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You.

Source: Dana Liebelson, Mother Jones, April 8, 2014

When his court weakened the civil-rights-era law last year, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that “our country has changed.” We crunched the numbers. He was wrong. …. Before the Shelby County v. Holder decision came down on June 25, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required federal review of new voting rules in 15 states, most of them in the South. (In a few of these states, only specific counties or townships were covered.) Chief Justice John Roberts voted to gut the Voting Rights Act on the basis that “our country has changed,” and that blanket federal protection wasn’t needed to stop discrimination. But the country hasn’t changed as much as he may think.

We looked at how many of these 15 states passed or implemented voting restrictions after Section 5 was invalidated, compared to the states that were not covered by the law. (We defined “voting restriction” as passing or implementing a voter ID law, cutting voting hours, purging voter rolls, or ending same-day registration. Advocates criticize these kinds of laws for discriminating against low-income voters, young people, and minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats.) We found that 8 of the 15 states, or 53 percent, passed or implemented voting restrictions since June 25, compared to 3 of 35 states that were not covered under Section 5—or less than 9 percent. Additionally, a number of states not covered by the Voting Rights Act actually expanded voting rights in the same time period…..

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation and by Race and Ethnicity, 2013

Source: Ariane Hegewisch, Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Fact Sheet, IWPR #C414, April 2014

From the abstract:
Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. Data for both women’s and men’s median weekly earnings for full-time work are available for 112 occupations ; there are only three occupations in which women have higher median weekly earnings than men. In 101 of the 112 occupations, the gender earnings ratio of women’s median weekly earnings to men’s is 0.95 or lower (that is, a wage gap of at least 5 cents per dollar earned by men); in 17 of these occupations the gender earnings ratio is lower than 0.75 (that is, a wage gap of more than 25 cents per dollar earned by men).

The Economic Cost of Homophobia: How LGBT Exclusion Impacts Development

Source: World Bank, March 12, 2014

What does exclusion cost? The World Bank hosted a panel discussion on the preliminary findings of a study that developed and tested an economic model to measure the cost of excluding sexual minorities. The model was be presented at the event and examined four areas: workplace discrimination, health disparities in HIV, suicide, and depression. Even with a narrow focus on exclusion in these four areas, this research concludes that they could cost societies billions of dollars every year.

The panelists also discussed the data challenges of quantifying homophobia, and offer pathways for further research in this area.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player