Posts Tagged ‘racial quotas’

July 18 roundup

“California Bill Would Mandate Gender Quotas For Publicly Traded Companies”

“Earlier this month, California Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson and Toni G. Atkins introduced a bill, SB 826, that would require a publicly held corporation with its principal places of business in California to have a minimum number of women directors.” [Keith Paul Bishop, Cal Corporate Law, via Prof. Bainbridge, who asks: “How is this constitutional?”]

Schools and childhood roundup

Affirmative action hiring for the disabled

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]: “The proposed rule…would require federal agencies to adopt the goal of achieving a 12% representation rate for individuals with disabilities, and a 2% representation rate for individuals with targeted/severe disabilities.” [Workplace Prof] Comments are open through April 25.

Wednesday hearing on OFCCP disabled, veterans quotas

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) of the House Education and the Workforce Committee will be inquiring into the new “benchmarks” that federal contractors will be required to adopt. Julian Hattem at The Hill has more details, and quotes me:

“They have the power to be intrusive and expensive to contractors that they believe are not playing ball on this,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “If the initiative means anything, it means that they are signaling to ‘Please be one of the ones that we think is trying to make these benchmarks, because if we think that you’re one of the ones we think are not trying to make the benchmarks, you will be hearing from us.’”

Earlier here, here and here. As I observed back in February:

To achieve the [7 percent disabled goal], employers will need to hope that large numbers of new hires will turn out to have less visible disabilities, such as back problems, diabetes or (perhaps most useful because most subjectively defined) the array of mental, emotional and behavioral issues that are the most dynamically expansive disability category of all, and which can range from neurosis to learning disability to oppositional defiant disorder to drug and alcohol abuse (if in rehab).

Trouble is, it’s illegal under the ADA for employers to ask job applicants whether they’re disabled, even if the question is offered with favorable intent. So the rules contemplate a fan dance of “invited self-identification” in which workers are given repeated chances at successive stages of the hiring process to announce that they are disabled. Unfortunately for quota compliance, even after getting the job an employee may be too shy to offer such a self-identification, which means the employer may lose any “credit” for the hire. Perhaps equally frustrating, an employee hired with the quota in mind may turn out not to have any disability at all (“Dang it! And she looked so disabled!”).

Hans Bader on disabled-hiring quotas

Building on my post of yesterday, Competitive Enterprise Institute scholar Hans Bader makes several additional points about the Department of Labor’s new hiring quotas for disabled workers at federal contractors:

  • Under the regulations, Bader points out, contractors will be obliged to aim for a seven percent quota for each division, a significantly harder task than if it were just a company-wide quota.
  • Dodgy terminology to conceal the reality of quotas is nothing new; in fact, there’s a long history of federal officials’ resorting to euphemism and vagueness to characterize quotas as benchmarks, goals, and so forth.
  • While disabled quotas, unlike racial quotas, do not raise immediate red flags of unconstitutionality, there is serious doubt as to whether they are actually a lawful application of the statutes Congress has passed in this area. While one such law does refer vaguely to affirmative action for the disabled, that does not necessarily provide a broad enough basis to authorize the new scheme.
  • Will compliance and paperwork on this and a related veteran-quota measure cost federal contractors $6 billion a year, as the Associated General Contractors of America has it? Or less than one-fifth that sum, as OFCCP insists? And does OFCCP face even the slightest consequences if its estimates turn out to be low-balls and the contractors turn out to be right?

[cross-posted, with adaptations, at Cato at Liberty. Edited final paragraph 9/23 to clarify that two quota programs are involved]

Just don’t call them quotas: disabled-hiring benchmarks for federal contractors

On Aug. 27, during the reporter-vacation lull before Labor Day, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs finalized its controversial rules requiring federal contractors to adopt “benchmarks” of 7 percent disabled employees in their workforce, a higher percentage than apparently prevails in the workforce at large. [Earlier here, here, here, etc.] OFCCP director Patricia Shiu insists the initiative should not be described as quotas, since contractors falling short will not suffer automatic penalty. Instead, they’ll be thrown into a process of auditing and having their internal procedures put under review and having to demonstrate progress and that sort of thing. Nothing penalty-like about that! Also, if their willingness to go along with this process doesn’t please the federal overseers, they can eventually be debarred from any future contract work, a devastating economic sanction for many firms. Crucially, the feds are applying the regulation to firms’ entire workforce even if only a single division has federal contracts, so that if, say, a food company has one line of business that caters to the military, and nineteen others that do no federal contracting whatsoever, all twenty lines must adopt the quot… sorry, benchmarks. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, OFCCP, Government Executive, Federal News Radio]

Disabled rights roundup

Disabled-hiring “goals” for federal contractors

I’ve got a new op-ed at the Daily Caller on one of Washington’s more ambitious schemes of arm-twisting private businesses for the presumed good of society, and a post at Cato at Liberty tying it in with the curious legal situation in which — even before quotas! — some employers feel obliged not to discriminate against school-bus-driver applicants who’ve recently been in rehab. The WSJ covers the story today too. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is here (& Disability Law, more, Bader).