Category Archives: Discrimination

Women’s Earnings: Federal Agencies Should Better Monitor Their Performance in Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Laws

Source: Government Accountability Office, GAO-08-799, August 11, 2008

In 2003, GAO found that women, on average, earned 80 percent of what men earned in 2000 and workplace discrimination may be one contributing factor. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor (Labor) enforce several laws intended to prevent gender pay discrimination. GAO examined (1) how EEOC enforces laws addressing gender pay disparities among private sector employers and provides outreach and what is known about its performance, and (2) how Labor enforces laws addressing gender pay disparities among federal contractors and provides outreach and what is known about its performance. GAO analyzed relevant laws, regulations, monitoring reports, and agency enforcement data and conducted interviews at the agencies’ central offices and two field offices experienced in gender pay cases.

Reversal of Fortune

Source: Algernon Austin, Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper #220, September 18, 2008

While bad economic news continues to pile up for America’s working people, the economic trends are even more disheartening for African American families. Gains made during the strong labor market of the latter 1990s business cycle have eroded, even as the economy grew significantly. On all major indicators–income, wages, employment, and poverty–African Americans lost ground between 2000 and 2007. Algernon Austin, director of EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, examines the trends and their impact in a new report: Reversal of Fortune: Economic Gains of 1990s Overturned for African Americans from 2000-07.

Transforming Transsexual and Transgender Rights

Source: L. Camille Hebert, William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2009

From the abstract:
Transsexual and transgendered individuals receive only sporadic and non-comprehensive protection against discrimination in employment. Most efforts to extend that protection, through avenues of protection as a disability or enacting legislation extending protected class status, have been unsuccessful or incomplete. More successful in recent years has been to extend protection against sexual stereotyping to transsexual and transgendered individuals. Least successful has been the argument that discrimination against transsexual and transgendered individuals is itself prohibited sex discrimination. This article argues that in fact the structure to protect transsexual and transgendered individuals from discrimination is already in place through federal and state statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, because this discrimination is classic sex discrimination. Based on common understanding of the term sex, medical definitions of sex and gender identity, and legal definitions of that term and other grounds of prohibited discrimination, this article argues that the term sex should be defined more broadly than courts have seen fit to do with respect to sexual minorities, to extend protection not only on biological status but gender-linked traits, including gender identity.

Family Responsibility Discrimination and Public Agencies: No Employer Left Behind

Source: Consuela A Pinto, California Public Employee Relations, no. 190, June 2008
(subscription required)

No employer, public or private, is immune from claims of family responsibilities discrimination — allegations that employees have been discriminated against because of their caregiving responsibilities for children, elderly parents, or ill relatives.

FRD cases have grown nearly 400 percent in the last decade, suggesting that every employer, regardless of industry or geographical location, is accountable. Even employers on “best places to work” lists have been defendants. The explosive growth in these cases has not gone unnoticed in California, one of a handful of states that has or is considering laws that expressly prohibit employment discrimination based on “family responsibilities,” “familial status,” or “parenthood.” In February 2007, California Senator Sheila Kuehl introduced Senate Bill 836, which would have amended California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act to include “familial status” as a protected category in its employment provisions. After approval by both houses of the state legislature, the bill was vetoed in October by Governor Schwarzenegger.

In Brief: How Is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act Working? A Look Back and Into the Future

Source: David Neumark, AARP Policy & Research, June 2008

From the summary:
This In Brief summarizes Reassessing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, written for the AARP Public Policy Institute by David Neumark of the University of California at Irvine. The paper examines how effective the ADEA has been and the challenges that lie ahead for older adults who want or need to work.

A Sociolegal History of Public Housing Reform in Chicago

Source: Lisa Alexander, Univ. of Wisconsin Law School Working Paper No. 1061, June 2008

From the abstract:
This essay summarizes and compares Alexander Polikoff’s Waiting for Gautreaux: A Story of Segregation, Housing, and the Black Ghetto and Mary Pattillo’s Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City to convey the contributions and limitations of each book. Both works provide a rich sociolegal history of public housing reform in Chicago and illustrate the challenges Chicago has faced in implementing recent HOPE VI public housing reforms. I compare Polikoff’s forty-year battle to desegregate public housing in Chicago with Pattillo’s insightful observations of class dynamics between the new middle-class African-American power brokers of housing reform and public housing residents. Through this comparison, I seek to show that Polikoff’s long-term prescriptions for public housing reform are based upon a conception of the inner city that may no longer be entirely accurate. This comparison also conveys the social complexity inherent in HOPE VI reform efforts, a complexity often overlooked in the prevailing policy and academic debates.

The Party of Lincoln and the Politics of State Fair Employment Practices Legislation in the North, 1945-1964

Source: Anthony S. Chen, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 112, No. 6
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
From 1945 to 1964, more than a score of northern states passed laws mandating non-discrimination in employment. Why did some states pass such fair employment practice (FEP) laws much more slowly than other states? This article presents archival and statistical evidence that partisan control of policy-making institutions – namely, Republican control of veto points in the legislative process – is associated with a substantial reduction in the likelihood that a state would pass FEP legislation, even when controlling for potentially confounding variables. This finding casts doubt on the leading account of the electoral realignment that began in the mid-1960s and culminated in the Reagan-Bush years. Well before the advent of affirmative action, key numbers of GOP office-holders – allied with organized business and motivated by a free-market, anti-regulatory ideology – worked successfully to block the adoption of color-blind laws mandating formal racial equality.

NCSL 50-State Legislative Tracking Web Resources

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, June 2008

At the request of NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps.

[NOTE: Some of these tracking services are currently out of date. PLEASE NOTE THE DATE of the item you are reviewing].

Labor & Employment

At-Will Employment
Day Laborer Laws (statutes)
Drugtesting in the Workplace
State Divestment Legislation
Equal Pay (statutes and legislation)
Family/Medical Leave Laws (statutes)
Living Wage (legislation)
Medical Donar Leave Laws (statutes)
Minimum Wage Laws (legislation and chart)
Minors – Employment Laws (statutes)
Non-compete Agreements (statutes)
Overtime Laws (statutes)
Sick Leave Laws (statutes)
Telecommuting (statutes and legislation)
Whistleblowers (statutes)
Workforce Development (legislation and resources)

Race, Ethnicity, and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Source: Economic Policy Institute, June 12, 2008

Presentations by:
Graciela Aponte, Debbie Bocian, Wilhelmina Leigh, Gregory Squires

The subprime mortgage crisis, with its links to the broader housing sector and to financial markets, is at the top of the national policy agenda. As Congress and the Federal Reserve consider proposals for reform, it is important to consider how and why this crisis came to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. This panel discussed the reasons for this disparate impact and how policy reforms can be best tailored to serve the communities hardest hit by the crisis.

Full-length video and audio
View part 1
View part 2
View part 3 (Q&A)
Part 1: [listen/stream] [download MP3]
Part 2: [listen/stream] [download MP3]
Part 3 (Q&A): [listen/stream] [download MP3]

40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream

Source: Dedrick Muhammad, Inequality and the Common Good, April 2, 2008

Dr. Martin Luther King recognized that the next phase in the African-American’s quest for civil rights and equality was one that would focus on the economic divide between the wealthiest Americans, the working class, and those in poverty. King’s analysis of economic inequality as the foundation of racial inequality remains as valid today as it was 40 years ago.

40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream examines the progress in and challenges to economic equality between African Americans and whites since April 4, 1968 using data from the US Census Bureau, the Economic Policy Institute, the Survey of Consumer Finances, and other sources. Findings conclude that despite educational advances, economic equality for African Americans is still a dream, not a reality.