Category Archives: Discrimination

The Gender Pay Gap

Source: American Association of University Women, April 22, 2009

From the press release:
To commemorate Equal Pay Day, April 28, 2009, AAUW has released a new state-by-state earnings comparison by gender that shows that the wage gap is stubbornly in place despite the overall positive effect a college degree has on women workers. Observing Equal Pay Day reminds the nation of the gross inequities facing women, who must work from January 2008 through April 2009 to earn what their male counterparts received in 2008 alone.
See also:
Map data explained
Map data table

In Sickness and in Health: Recent Judicial Developments in Americans with Disabilities Act Association Discrimination Cases

Source: Patricia Quinn Robertson, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Published online: 16 April 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
A little-known provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits covered employers from taking an adverse employment action against a qualified employee if a determinative factor in the adverse employment action is the disability of an associate or relative of the employee. A review of the reported court opinions indicates that plaintiff employees often encounter difficulty in these cases. Some plaintiffs are unable to prove that they are “qualified” employees at the time of the adverse employment action, and other plaintiffs find it difficult to prove that a determinative factor in the adverse employment action was the disability of the associate or relative. However, plaintiffs have achieved some success as evidenced in the 2008 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals holdings in Dewitt v. Proctor Hospital and Trujillo v. PacifiCorp. This paper describes reported U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinions about ADA association discrimination, its relationship to the Family and Medical Leave Act and Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the implications for employers, employees, and lawmakers. It also offers practical guidance to both employees and employers for asserting and managing rights and potential liability in this area.

Working for Cents on the Dollar : Race and Ethnic Wage Gaps in the Noncollege Labor Market

Source: Gregory Acs, Pamela J. Loprest, Urban Institute, March 23, 2009

From the abstract:
This paper uses data from the 2007 Survey of Employers in the Low-Skill Labor Market to analyze whether wage differences among workers of different races and ethnicities in the low-skill labor market remain after controlling for individual, job, and employer characteristics. The employer-provided data include detailed information on job requirements and employer characteristics rarely available in household surveys. We find that black workers earn significantly less than white workers in the less-skilled labor market, and a significant difference (12 percent) remains even after controlling for worker, job, and employer characteristics.

Perceptions of Discrimination and Justice Among Employees with Disabilities

Source: Lori Anderson Snyder, Jennifer S. Carmichael, Lauren V. Blackwell, Jeanette N. Cleveland, George C. Thornton, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Published online: 18 March 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Despite the passage of almost two decades since the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act in the United States, individuals with disabilities are still underrepresented in the workforce, tend to hold lower status jobs, and receive lower wages. This study examines whether disabled workers also continue to encounter more negative workplace experiences in terms of discrimination and injustice. A sample of 1,880 employees of a large university, including 90 self-identified disabled individuals completed a work experience survey. Analyses indicate that disabled employees reported more overt and subtle discrimination and more procedural injustice than their non-disabled counterparts. Examination by the type of disability also revealed that those with non-physical disabilities reported more negative experiences than employees with physical disabilities. Perceived organizational and supervisory support were shown to have promise in reducing the effects of disability status on workplace attitudes and perceptions.

Gender (in)Equality in the Labour Market

Source: Stephen Glenn, Simone Melis, Louisa Withers, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), 2009

From the press release:
A new report released by the ITUC for March 8, International Women’s Day, has revealed that the pay gap between men and women worldwide may be much higher than official government figures. The report, “Gender (in)Equality in the Labour Market”, is based on survey results of some 300,000 women and men in 20 countries. It puts the global pay gap at up to 22%, rather than the 16.5% figure taken from official government figures and released by the ITUC on March 8 last year.

The report also confirms previous findings that union membership, and particularly the inclusion of women in collective bargaining agreements, leads to much better incomes for both women and men, as well as better pay for women relative to their male co-workers
See also:
video on maternity protection

State of the Workplace 2007-2008

Source: Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2009

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today released its State of the Workplace report, showing rapid expansion of protections for LGBT workers in the private sector over the past decade. At this time, 35 percent — a total of 175 — of the Fortune 500 businesses have gender identity protections, including 60 of the top 100 Fortune-ranked businesses. In 2000, just three of the Fortune 500 businesses had such protections. Furthermore, 85 percent of the Fortune 500 businesses now have protections based on sexual orientation, compared to 51 percent in 2000.

The report assesses the current state of employment laws and employer policies surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation throughout the United States. For the first time, more than 100 cities and counties now prohibit employment discrimination based on both gender identity and sexual orientation. Already, twelve states and the District of Columbia have protections in place. An additional eight states and 80 cities and counties prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation alone.
See also:
– Chartpack (PDF) (PowerPoint)
Press release

Trans Fat

Source: Elizabeth M. Glazer and Zachary A. Kramer, Social Science Electronic Publishing, February 3, 2009

From the abstract:


In her book, Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood, Professor Anna Kirkland uses fat discrimination as a case study to examine the ways in which we talk about difference in antidiscrimination law. She argues that the proper way to frame questions of difference in antidiscrimination is not in terms of protected traits or categories, but rather in terms of what she calls “logics of personhood.” The logics of personhood are narratives that enable us to talk about which differences matter in a given discrimination case. In other words, they are ways of talking about what happens when people do or do not have rights, as well as whether certain people should be protected by antidiscrimination law. After applying the logics to the case of fat discrimination, Kirkland joins a growing community of scholars seeking to transcend antidiscrimination law’s categories. By identifying in the logics of personhood the presumptions that lay beneath the surface of antidiscrimination law, Kirkland creates an entirely new way to talk about differences among people.

In this Book Review, we extend Professor Kirkland’s discussion of fat plaintiffs to a discussion of transgender plaintiffs. Much like fat plaintiffs, transgender plaintiffs’ only hope of articulating actionable discrimination claims is to map their claims onto existing antidiscrimination norms. As Kirkland demonstrates in Fat Rights, fat plaintiffs must cast themselves as disabled in order to state an actionable discrimination claims. And as we demonstrate in this Book Review, transgender plaintiffs must cast themselves as gender-nonconformists in order to state actionable claims. While both fat and transgender employees may be willing to negotiate their identities to win lawsuits against their discriminatory employers, the purpose of this Book Review is to ask whether they should have to. We use Kirkland’s logics of personhood to demonstrate that fat plaintiffs and transgender plaintiffs share a common frustration with respect to antidiscrimination law’s protected categories, namely, that antidiscrimination law sees both fat people and transgender people differently from how they see themselves. And we argue further that this is a significant harm to a plaintiff’s dignity and that antidiscrimination law should take into consideration such dignitary harms.

The Silent Depression: State of the Dream 2009

Source: Jeannette Huezo, Christina Kasica, Dedrick Muhammad, Amaad Rivera, Inequality and the Common Good, January 15, 2009

In this year’s report, we found that people of color are experiencing a silent economic depression. It’s silent because it’s going unnoticed, unacknowledged, and unaddressed — and yet the evidence is striking.

While the general population has been in recession for one year, people of color have been in recession for five years. By definition, a long-term recession is a depression.

We detail additional evidence that shows the current racial economic inequity, including poverty rates, wealth and assets and economic mobility. While racial barriers did not prevent an African American from becoming president, they continue to impede many people of color from achieving the same economic success as their white counterparts.

Addressing Family Responsibilities Discrimination

Source: Stephanie Bornstein and Julie Weber, Work-family Information for State Legislators, Issue 16, 2008

Workplace discrimination against mothers and others based on their family caregiving responsibilities is a rapidly growing problem. Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) responded by issuing new enforcement guidance on caregiver discrimination. State policymakers are beginning to respond, too.

Instead of ENDA, A Course Correction for Title VII

Source: Jennifer S. Hendricks, Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Forthcoming

From the abstract:
In September 2008, the D.C. federal court issued a landmark decision holding that discrimination against a transgender person was sex discrimination under Title VII. This decision throws into sharp relief the ongoing debates among supporters of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act about whether the compromise on including protection for gender identity claims. Consideration of ENDA in some form will likely be early on the agenda of the next Congress, especially under a Democratic administration likely to support the bill. This essay proposes an alternative to ENDA that would embrace the theoretical connections between sex, gender, and sexual orientation, with important practical consequences for the relief available to plaintiffs.