Category Archives: Discrimination

Barriers for Black Professionals

Source: Lisa Rabasca Roepe, SHRM, All Things Work, February 6, 2021

….Corporate America’s current efforts to increase diversity are failing, according to a 2019 study by Coqual (formerly the Center for Talent Innovation) in New York City.

Protests over George Floyd’s killing at the hands of police last year called attention to systemic racism. Some corporate executives have publicly condemned racism and promised to do better.

But for change to happen, they’ll have to look to their own internal processes, experts say. Black individuals make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for only 8 percent of employees in professional roles. Black professionals hold only 3.2 percent of all executive or senior leadership roles and less than 1 percent of all Fortune 500 CEO positions.

Black professionals may be represented in corporate offices, but they’re not being welcomed and included, the study found. As a result, companies are at risk of losing them, along with their significant talents and valuable perspective that companies need to help innovate and serve an increasingly diverse customer base….

In Pursuit of Diversity in the CUNY Library Profession: An Effective Approach to Leadership in Academic Libraries

Source: Nilda Alexandra Sanchez-Rodriguez, Journal of Library Administration, Latest Articles, December 12, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Maximizing the current organizational culture and diversity/inclusion practices within CUNY libraries is crucial to retaining highly talented support staff with significant potential for future leadership roles. This research explores equity, diversity, and inclusion within the library profession, with the intention of implementing strategic frameworks to attract, recruit, and retain underrepresented groups within the University. To spotlight areas of upward mobility within CUNY academic libraries, a CUNY-wide Library Workplace Climate survey on the perceptions of diversity, universal inclusion, and career progression was conducted. The scope of the survey study compares the different perspectives of CUNY librarians, full-time library classified paraprofessionals, and part-time classified staff to measure CUNY’s commitment to addressing the diversity gap in the library profession. CUNY-wide, 141 library employees participated in a survey study to uncover professional development opportunities in support of career advancement and upward mobility. Nearly 2 in 5 African American/Black library staff-members are paraprofessionals, while 13.5% are faculty. A stark contrast to 3 in 5 or 64% CUNY library faculty, which identified as White/Caucasian. The findings reinforce the need for measures to maximize workplace diversity through support-staff mentoring, guidance, and recruitment. Workplace mentorship and career development—across all levels within CUNY libraries—cultivate skills for a better work environment that can lead to promotion and successful plans for succession. Investing and sustaining structured library professional development opportunities geared toward underrepresented groups—generally in paraprofessional and student-worker roles—will help identify next generation CUNY library leadership.

Voices of Strength: A Survey of Librarians Working with Chronic Illnesses or Conditions

Source: Susan Rathbun-Grubb, Journal of Library Administration, Volume 61 no. 1, 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This research attempts to understand the ways that librarians overcome the challenges associated with a chronic condition in the workplace. Six hundred sixteen respondents completed a survey about type of workplace, type of chronic condition, longevity of the condition, disclosure, accommodations, level of support, career mobility and advancement, work challenges, coping strategies, and perceptions on disability. Respondents report chronic illness and conditions of all sorts, both visible and invisible, with 46% having more than one type of illness. They cope by using creative strategies to supplement or replace formal accommodations, however 39% believe that their condition has negatively impacted their career advancement.

A Post-Pandemic Antidiscrimination Approach to Workplace Flexibility

Source: Michelle A. Travis, Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 64, 2021, Date Written: December 17, 2020

From the abstract:
The dramatic workplace changes in the wake of the global pandemic offer courts both an opportunity and an obligation to reexamine prior antidiscrimination case law on workplace flexibility. Before COVID-19, courts embraced an essentialized view of workplaces built upon a “full-time face-time norm,” which refers to the judicial presumption that work is defined by long hours, rigid schedules, and uninterrupted, in-person performance at a centralized workspace. By applying this presumption to both accommodation requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and to disparate impact claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, pre-pandemic courts systematically undermined antidiscrimination law’s potential for workplace restructuring to expand equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities and for women with disproportionate caregiving responsibilities. This Article demonstrates how employers’ widespread adoption of flexible work arrangements in the wake of COVID-19—including telecommuting, modified schedules, temporary leaves, and other flextime options—undermine these prior decisions and demand a new analysis of antidiscrimination law’s potential to advance workplace flexibility.

The Old Boys’ Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap

Source: Zoë Cullen – Harvard Business School, Ricardo Perez-Truglia – University of California, Berkeley, This Draft: September 2020.

From the abstract:
Offices are social places. Employees and managers take coffee breaks together, go to lunch, hang out over drinks, and talk about family and hobbies. In this study, we provide evidence that employees’ social interactions with their managers can be advantageous for their careers and that this phenomenon can contribute to the gender pay gap. We use administrative and survey data from a large financial institution. We conduct an event-study analysis of manager rotation to estimate the causal effect of managers’ gender on their employees’ career progressions. We find that male employees assigned to male managers were promoted faster in the following years than male employees assigned to female managers; female employees, on the contrary, had the same career progression regardless of their managers’ gender. These differences were not accompanied by any differences in effort or performance, and they explain a third of the gender gap in promotions at this firm. Then, we provide evidence suggesting that these effects were mediated by the social interactions between male employees and male managers. First, we show that the effects were present only among employees who worked in close proximity to their managers. Second, we show that the effects coincided with an uptick in the share of breaks taken with the managers. Third, we estimate the impact of social interactions on career progression using quasi-random variation induced by smoking habits. When male employees who smoke transitioned to male managers who smoke, they took breaks with their manager more often and were subsequently promoted at higher rates than male smokers who transitioned to non-smoking managers. The boost in socialization and promotion rates closely mirrors the pattern among male employees assigned a male manager.

Disenfranchisement: An American Tradition

Source: Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, Dissent, Winter 2021

Invoking the specter of voter fraud to undermine democratic participation is a tactic as old as the United States itself. …. Fair elections require clear regulations and standards, but bureaucratic hurdles inevitably depress participation by disadvantaged groups. And they have often been deliberately constructed—as an appeals court found in 2016—to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” ….

Related:
Dozens of states see new voter suppression proposals
Source: Russell Contreras, Stef W. Kight, Axios, February 10, 2021

There are at least 165 proposals under consideration in 33 states so far this year to restrict future voting access by limiting mail-in ballots, implementing new voter ID requirements and slashing registration options.

Public Work Provides Economic Security for Black Families and Communities

Source: Michael Madowitz, Anne Price, and Christian E. Weller, Center for American Progress, October 23, 2020

….
Public sector jobs provide economic security for Black households

Public jobs provide good wages, better benefits, and greater job security, all of which are critical components of economic security and help families build wealth. Moreover, the wealth gap in the public sector is much smaller. For example, in the private sector, white households have as much as $10 of wealth for each $1 Black households hold; in the public sector white households hold closer to $2 for every $1 of wealth for Black families.

Public employment can provide greater economic security for Black workers for several reasons:

  • Public sector hiring is more accountable to citizen influence than private sector hiring, providing stronger checks on employment discrimination.
  • Public sector jobs are more likely to provide a defined benefit pension, which guarantees lifetime benefits upon retirement.
  • Public sector jobs offer more stable employment, providing economic security otherwise available only to households with wealth.
  • Public sector jobs are more likely to be unionized. Unionized jobs are highly beneficial to workers, and Black workers in particular.

Responsibilities and Rights of Employers and Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: Joseph Maya, Julia Audibert, Zachary Sipala, Caroline Vandis, Calvin Carson, and Emily Prudente, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 71, Issue No. 4, Winter 2020
(subscription required)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA), Equal Employment Opportunity laws (which encompass the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are long-standing pillars of employment law in this country. Collectively, they aim to ensure individual privacy, safe work environments, and equal treatment free from discrimination in the workplace. Given their appealing and sensical nature, it seems axiomatic that these statutes and agencies operate in concert. However, complying with their provisions during a global pandemic requires navigating murky waters. In practice, these laws present sometimes competing demands for many employers and employees trying to understand the new reality imposed by COVID-19. Striking an effective balance between these rights and responsibilities during the upheaval caused by COVID-19 incurs a host of relatively novel challenges. In this article, the attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. demystify how to serve the best interests of employers and employees and offer a comprehensive analysis of legal guidelines, both old and new, to inform our readers how to best achieve that balance.

Age Discrimination in Employment: What Is Legally Permissible May Not Be Managerially Wise

Source: Dexter R. Woods, Jr., and David M. Savino, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 46, No. 4, Spring 2021
(subscription required)

Determining whether or not to hire or retain older workers is a critical issue for employers and employees. In this article, the authors consider the issue from both a legal perspective and a managerial perspective.

EEOC Explore: Job Patterns For Minorities And Women In Private Industry (EEO-1)

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 2020

From the press release:
Today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched EEOC Explore, a new interactive data query and mapping tool that gives users access to the most current, granular, and privacy protected aggregate EEO-1 data publicly available. EEOC Explore allows users to analyze aggregate data associated with more than 56 million employees and 73,000 employers nationwide. The user-friendly tool enables stakeholders to explore and compare data trends across a number of categories, including location, sex, race and ethnicity, and industry sector without the need for experience in computer programming or statistical analysis.

As part of its mandate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, public and private employers, as well as local referral unions are required to submit to the EEOC periodic reports which indicate the composition of their workforces by sex and race/ethnicity. EEOC Explore visualizes these aggregate data in ways that are more intuitive and efficient than previous methods.

EEOC Explore uses aggregate information from employer EEO-1 reports which include data such as employee demographics, which are collected annually from private employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees. EEOC Explore also allows users to dive down to county-level details, surpassing the previously available static tabular format available on the EEOC’s public website.