Tag Archives: discrimination

Individuals, not government, fixing discrimination in Philly

The city of Philadelphia is pushing new rules to fight discrimination. Eleven bars in the Gayborhood, the city’s LGBT hotbed, will be required to participate in fair business practice training and implicit bias training. The bars will also be required to post fliers made by the city’s Human Relations Commission about the city’s fair practice ordinance.

These efforts come as a response to a report released by the city in January, which found that women, minorities and transgender people have been discriminated against in the Gayborhood for decades. The city’s heavy-handed approach, while well-meaning, adds yet another expense and burden to local businesses. Mandating these implicit bias trainings will take workers away from their actual productive duties and force the bars to pay employees to attend diversity training sessions that have largely been found to be ineffective.

Meanwhile, residents of Philadelphia are doing a better job of preventing discrimination than the city’s government. Individuals and the market have already acted to scale back the level of discrimination in the Gayborhood, before the government ever could.

Continue reading at Watchdog.

Between the Scylla of Disparate Impact and the Charybdis of Disparate Treatment

If federal statutory law expressly commands that all covered federal employees shall be “free from any discrimination based on … race,” does that forbid the federal government from adopting race-based affirmative action plans? That is one of the important—and seemingly obvious—questions posed by Shea v. Kerry, a case brought by our friends at the Pacific Legal Foundation. William Shea is a white State Department Foreign Service Officer. In 1990, he applied for his Foreign Service Officer position and began working in 1992 at a junior-level post. At the time, the State Department operated a voluntary affirmative action plan (read: voluntary as “mandated by Congress”) whereby minorities were able to bypass the junior levels and enter the mid-level service. The State Department attempted to justify its racial plan by noting that there were statistical imbalances at the senior Foreign Service levels, even though the path to the senior levels is unrelated to service at the lower levels.

In 2001, Shea filed an administrative complaint against the State Department for its disparate treatment of white applicants under its 1990-92 hiring plan, complaining that he did not enter at as high a grade as he may have and that the discrimination cost him in both advancement opportunities and earnings. After exhausting administrative remedies, Shea took his complaint to the courts, resulting in this case. The Cato Institute has joined with the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the Center for Equal Opportunity, and the National Association of Scholars to file an amici curiae brief calling for the Supreme Court to take up the case and reverse the federal appellate court below.

Read the rest on The Cato Institute here.

Love or Hate Abercrombie & Fitch, They Have Rights Too

Abercrombie & Fitch is the sort of company that makes people hate freedom. The Supreme Court recently manifested this sentiment when they ruled it was illegal for the company to use their “look policy” to discriminate against Muslims in headscarves.

Since employment discrimination is (rightfully) unpopular, it would seem that giving companies the freedom to do so is a bad idea, because they might take advantage of it. However, taking this freedom away from Abercrombie isn’t right either, because people who run businesses have rights too.

If you’re unfamiliar with EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch Stores, it all started in 2008 when Samantha Elauf was rejected for a job at one of Abercrombie’s retail stores, allegedly because of the headscarf she wears for religious reasons. Abercrombie’s dress code prohibits “caps” and management felt the headscarf qualified. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that this was a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says that religion cannot be a motivating factor in hiring decisions.

However, all employers have rules about what employees can and can’t wear while working. Most clothing retail stores expect their sales clerks to represent the brand: a position which most people can sympathize with.

Read the rest on The Panam Post’s blog here.