Posts Tagged ‘sex discrimination’

“He was sent on to a case manager in the Gender-Based Misconduct Office…”

…where he was at length told, “Even if I were to agree with you, you know I can’t say anything.” [Ann Althouse] Relatedly, “The Sex Bureaucracy” is the title of the widely noted new article by Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk in California Law Review (via Hans Bader):

…we focus on higher education to tell the story of the sex bureaucracy. The story is about the steady expansion of regulatory concepts of sex discrimination and sexual violence to the point that the regulated domain comes to encompass ordinary sex. The mark of bureaucracy is procedure and organizational form. Over time, federal prohibitions against sex discrimination and sexual violence have been interpreted to require educational institutions to adopt particular procedures to respond, prevent, research, survey, inform, investigate, adjudicate, and train. The federal bureaucracy required nongovernmental institutions to create mini-bureaucracies, and to develop policies and procedures that are subject to federal oversight. That oversight is not merely, as currently assumed, of sexual harassment and sexual violence, but also of sex itself.

And: “Judge reinstates Brown Univ. student accused of sexual misconduct, blasts ‘organized’ pressure to get him not to” [Fred Barbash, Washington Post]

Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton, and me

Thanks to Ivanka Trump’s convention speech, gender and pay is suddenly relevant on the Republican side of the presidential race, as well as the Democratic [Danielle Paquette, Washington Post “WonkBlog”] You have to wait for the last four paragraphs to get the me part. For those paywalled out of the WP:

Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the right-leaning Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, said he doesn’t dispute Ivanka’s thoughts on pay and motherhood — but cautions against tweaking laws to close the pay gap.

“All legislation attempting to prescribe the terms and conditions of employment has unintended side effects as employers adjust,” he wrote in an email, “and these are likely to be especially salient if the pay gap is largely or entirely the result of families’ own decisions.”

One such unintended side effect: After Chile required companies to provide child care to working mothers, women’s wages dropped.

Olson said [workplace reformers] might instead encourage fathers to take leave time and seek flexible hours, which could even the playing field for working moms, who still tend to shoulder the bulk of the burden. Also, clear the way for businesses to allow remote work. Managers could also build a work culture where telecommuting is acceptable, helping parents better juggle work and home.

I’ve used brackets above to clarify that in my view it’s not especially politicians’ role (as opposed to that of social thinkers interested in these issues) to come up with ideas for how employers might change HR policies. Earlier on the issue here.

Workplace law roundup

  • Obama pay reporting rules: “Forget for a moment that the whole purpose [is] to provide litigation attorneys a database they can mine to legally harass businesses. The reporting requirements here are incredibly onerous.” [Coyote, earlier here and here]
  • This seems so French: “Man Sues Former Employers for Boring Him” [Atlas Obscura, Paris; but compare 1994 Canadian story of attorney Paul Ebbs]
  • Second Circuit: managers, supervisors can be individually liable for Family and Medical Leave Act violations [Daniel Schwartz, Jon Hyman] Can one of those managers dismiss an employee who’s exhausted the allotted FMLA leave and not come back? Given the presence of the ADA in the background, you might have to guess [Schwartz]
  • Invincible myths of the pay gap [Robin Shea, Hans Bader/CEI, Claudia Goldin 2014 via Marc Andreesen, earlier]
  • Yes, a legislature does advance important state interests when it pre-empts local employment regulations [Hans Bader, CEI, on one element of North Carolina HB 2 law, on which earlier]
  • Here come “ban the box” bills restricting private, not just public, employer inquiries into criminal records of job applicants [Daniel Schwartz, Connecticut; Aabid Allibhai, On Labor]

April 13 roundup

New data mandate will feed pay-gap myths

Cato’s Daily Podcast features Thaya Brook Knight discussing the proposal outlined in this space the other day:

President Obama wants to compel many companies to begin reporting salary information to the federal government. Thaya Brook Knight comments.

Correction: The proposal would not require companies to provide the information as part of their own tax filings, but would require them to use the information from employees’ Forms W-2 to compile the required disclosure, which would be made to the EEOC.

Earlier on the pay-gap mythos here (Hanna Rosin, Slate: “You Know That ‘Women Make 77 Cents to Every Man’s Dollar’ Line? It’s Not True.”) as well as past links to articles such as this, this, and this.

EEOC pay reporting: the better to sue you with, my dear

“Under a new rule proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, all companies with more than 100 employees would be required to submit summary pay data each year. Since 1966, large companies have reported to the EEOC the number of their employees by sex, race, ethnicity and job group. The new proposal would add to that list pay data in 12 salary ranges, [with individual salaries] grouped together to protect privacy.” [USA Today, EEOC press release] “The data will be used to identify employers that may be engaging in pay discrimination so that the agency can target its enforcement resources where problems may be likeliest to exist. The proposal would cover more than 63 million U.S. workers, according to the White House. The plan… won’t require legislative approval.” [WSJ]

Aside from driving a high volume of litigation by the EEOC itself, the scheme will also greatly benefit private lawyers who sue employers, including class action lawyers. An employer might then weather the resulting litigation siege by showing that its numbers were good enough, or not. Would today’s Labor Department and EEOC policies look much different if the Obama administration frankly acknowledged that it was devising them with an eye toward maximum liability and payouts?

“Firefighter who flunked physical injured 10 days into job”

Deemed a “priority hire” for FDNY under a federal court order, “probationary firefighter Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder injured herself Monday while conducting a routine check of equipment at Queens’ Engine 308 in South Richmond Hill.” She had been on the job for ten days following a bumpy ascent that had included a failed pass at the academy, a previous injury, and the bending of physical test requirements. “Since she was injured on duty, she is eligible for a disability pension that would pay three-quarters of her annual salary, tax-free, if deemed unfit to return.” [New York Post; similarly two years ago] I wrote more on the watering down of firefighter physical tests to avoid screening out female applicants in my book The Excuse Factory, as briefly summarized in this 2007 post.

Discrimination law roundup

  • “Requiring Employees to Return 100% Healed Costs Trucking Firm $300K in EEOC Suit” [Thompson’s HR Compliance Expert]
  • Update: Oregon appeals court upholds $400,000 fine judgment against Portland owner who asked transgender club to stop holding meetings at his nightclub [Oregonian, earlier]
  • Fire Department of New York commissioner: yes, we lowered fitness bar so more women could join the force [Matthew Hennessey/City Journal, my take in The Excuse Factory back when]
  • From May: “Oversight of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Examining EEOC’s Enforcement and Litigation Programs” [Senate HELP committee via Workplace Prof]
  • Lengthy HUD battle: 2nd Circuit notes “no finding, at any point, that Westchester actually engaged in housing discrimination” [WSJ editorial, earlier here and here]
  • In 1992 Delaware settled an employment discrimination lawsuit by agreeing to assign prison guards “without regard to the gender of prisoners….A disaster ensued.” [Scott Greenfield on Cris Barrish, Wilmington News-Journal coverage]
  • NYC council speaker pushing “very bad bill to extend special employment protections to caregivers” [N.Y. Daily News editorial]