Discrimination law roundup

  • Don’t try to pull a “back where she came from” tirade at a private workplace [EEOC guidance (“potentially unlawful” for employer to allow); Daniel Schwartz]
  • “B.C. groin waxing case is a mockery of human rights” [Rex Murphy, National Post] Also from Canada: “Single dad facing Human Rights Complaint for asking the age and gender of a potential babysitter” [Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, related case]
  • Canada continued: inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women “strips the word genocide of meaning” [Jonathan Kay, Quillette]
  • More evidence that “ban the box” laws restricting criminal record inquiries “induce firms to engage in statistical discrimination that negatively affects the employment prospects of minorities.” [Peter Van Doren/Cato, earlier here and here]
  • Disparate-impact watch: Fifth Circuit rules, over a dissent, that landlords do not violate the federal Fair Housing Act by declining to accept Section 8 rent vouchers [opinion and denial of rehearing en banc (7-9) in Inclusive Communities Project v. Lincoln Properties; earlier here]
  • “Agencies that enforce antidiscrimination laws tend to be oblivious or hostile to constitutionally protected liberties in general and freedom of speech in particular.” [David Bernstein]


  • On the”ban the box” story, I remember reading here about a hotel owner who employed a handyman who lied on his application. The handyman raped and murdered three women. There were people who wanted to hold the owner responsible because he hired the handyman. Now with the “ban the box” movement who’s going to be responsible if something like this was to happen again? Surely not the people in favor of “ban the box”.

  • Re: Agencies oblivious or hostile to Constitutional rights—um, it’s not just agencies charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

    Child welfare agencies are disdainful of the right to direct the upbringing of one’s child.

    And school administrators are often hostile to rights as well, including the right of self-defense.

    A Colorado HS student found out the hard way that perfectly legal activity (i.e., shooting at a gun range with his mom) can subject a person to academic disruption. One wonders what would have happened had the student decided to criticize the school administrators in exceedingly harsh terms (e.g., lawless, petty tyrants). One wonders what would have happened if the student had simply quoted Alex Kozinski’s statement on why there is a Second Amendment.

    If government agencies blow off constitutional protections, then, in a very real sense, the words on the page are just words on the page. And that’s a problem.

    • SPO,
      The schools already think that they own the children. In 2010 a local school district suspended several students. The reason for the suspension was for drinking beer. This didn’t happen during school, on school property or at a school function. It happened during a church trip to Germany, during summer vacation, with their parents and they were of legal age in Germany. Someone posted pictures on Facebook and it was brought to the District’s attention. The justification that the District gave was that the students had signed a “Code of Conduct” the previous school year that banned their drinking alcohol. The parents took it to Court and the suspensions were lifted, but the students were forbidden from participating in any extra-curricular activities.

      The school district mentioned in this is the same district. https://reason.com/2018/10/17/seneca-valley-mean-girls-false-sexual/

      Funny how they can’t punish the girls for something that happened outside of school now.

      My nephew was suspended for smoking, in his yard on a Saturday. He was of legal age to smoke. My sister and her husband had it out with the District and the suspension was lifted.

      These “Codes” are being treated as legal contracts that minors are being forced to sign without parental approval in many cases.

      • When out-of-school behavior does not impair the functioning of the school, courts have ruled (if memory serves) that public schools can arm-twist students into pledges regarding it so long as the penalty is withholding of extra-curricular activities, but not if it is academic, the theory being that the academic side of the relationship is legally obligatory while the extra-curricular side isn’t. Whether or not this is the correct legal standard, public school systems that do this will often deserve to be held up to scorn for their meddlesome officiousness (private schools are on a different footing, since the relationship between student/family and, e.g., a religious community is one of choice in the first place and may be conditioned on behavior consistent with that particular community).

  • The David Bernstein article article is absolutely spot-on about civil rights agencies being hostile or indifferent to constitutionally protected liberties.

    Of course, this occurs to some extent in any government agency, e.g., an agency charged with protecting the environment will attract and employ environmentalists, who tend to be indifferent to the effect their permitting process has on business. Periodically, the executive or the legislature have to rein in the agency in order to retain any industry at all (NY State’s Brownfield property cleanup program was a belated recognition of this).

    But civil rights agencies tend to employ progressive ideologues, who support “social justice” and “diversity” as goals (to the extent that I find these terms understandable, they worry me). Add to that the tendency of any gov’t agency to increase its budget and the scope of its mission, commonly called “empire building” by government employees, and you have a recipe for oppression. This process seems to be equipped with rachets, that allow it to go in only one direction: any executive or legislature that tried to loosen the grip of a civil rights agency would be attacked as racist.

  • The “extra-curricular” ban needs to be looked at too—an extra-curricular activity is still a government benefit and should not be able to be conditioned like that. Students drinking legally in Germany shouldn’t be bothered by an overly officious school district.

    And, of course, if the students (rightfully) complained in very harsh terms about these overly officious school district officials, there would be retaliation.

    Why can’t bureaucrats in America take a chill pill?