EEOC – African American Workgroup Report

Executive Summary From EEOC Report

In January 2010, Carlton Hadden, Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Office of Federal Operations (OFO), commissioned a work group to identify the obstacles that remain in the federal workplace that hinder equal employment opportunities for African Americans.

This workgroup was created in furtherance of the EEOC’s overall mission to eradicate discrimination in both the federal sector and private sector workplace. EEOC’s OFO ensures equality of opportunity within the federal sector by implementing its regulatory and adjudicatory authority and through use of its oversight function.

In advancement of the mission of the Commission and OFO’s oversight responsibilities, between 2010 and 2012, the African American workgroup engaged in a series of discussions with EEO officials, various affinity groups, and subject matter experts. The workgroup decided that it would be most efficient to hold these discussions in conjunction with a similar workgroup commissioned to identify obstacles for Women in the federal workplace.

In summation, the workgroup began the dialogue about obstacles facing African Americans by engaging in a roundtable discussion with federal EEO Directors, who are responsible for the implementation of a continuing affirmative employment program to promote equal employment opportunity and to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices and policies. Next, the workgroup engaged in roundtable dialogue with federal Special Emphasis Program Managers, who are tasked with assisting agencies in ensuring equal opportunity for specific protected classes that are underrepresented. Subsequently, the workgroup held roundtable discussions with various affinity groups, including Blacks in Government (BIG); Federally Employed Women (FEW); and the African American Federal Executives Association (AAFEA).

Additionally, the workgroup dialogued with non-federal interest and advocacy groups, including the Equal Justice Society, the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, Workplace Flexibility 2010, and the Equal Rights Center. Finally, we received input from academic expert Dr. Paula Caplan, who is the Voices of Diversity Project Director for the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University and an author, noted research psychologist, and professor. We assured our dialogue partners that their contributions to this discussion would only be generally reported and not specifically attributed to any particular dialogue partner.

Our dialogue partners identified many obstacles to achieving equality for African Americans in the federal workforce, and provided recommendations for overcoming those obstacles. For the most part, the impediments identified below were independently and repeatedly identified by our dialogue partners as the most formidable obstacles to equal employment opportunities for African Americans in the federal sector. We note that while we are not issuing a traditional report with findings and conclusions of the EEOC, we are issuing this report to memorialize the obstacles and recommendations identified by our dialogue partners.

Read the full report at  African American Workgroup Report.

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EEOC Press Release: Pepsi to Pay $3.13 Million for Hiring Discrimination

EEOC PRESS RELEASE
1-11-12

 

Pepsi to Pay $3.13 Million and Made Major Policy Changes to Resolve EEOC Finding of Nationwide Hiring Discrimination Against African Americans

Company’s Former Use of Criminal Background Checks Discriminated Based On Race, Agency Found

MINNEAPOLIS – Pepsi Beverages (Pepsi), formerly known as Pepsi Bottling Group, has agreed to pay $3.13 million and provide job offers and training to resolve a charge of race discrimination filed in the Minneapolis Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The monetary settlement will primarily be divided among black applicants for positions at Pepsi, with a portion of the sum being allocated for the administration of the claims process. Based on the investigation, the EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that the criminal background check policy formerly used by Pepsi discriminated against African Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

The EEOC’s investigation revealed that more than 300 African Americans were adversely affected when Pepsi applied a criminal background check policy that disproportionately excluded black applicants from permanent employment.  Under Pepsi’s former policy, job applicants who had been arrested pending prosecution were not hired for a permanent job even if they had never been convicted of any offense.

Pepsi’s former policy also denied employment to applicants from employment who had been arrested or convicted of certain minor offenses. The use of arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when it is not relevant for the job, because it can limit the employment opportunities of applicants or workers based on their race or ethnicity.

“The EEOC has long standing guidance and policy statements on the use of arrest and conviction records in employment,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.  “I commend Pepsi’s willingness to re-examine its policy and modify it to ensure that unwarranted roadblocks to employment are removed.”
 
During the course of the EEOC’s investigation, Pepsi adopted a new criminal background check policy.  In addition to the monetary relief, Pepsi will offer employment opportunities to victims of the former criminal background check policy who still want jobs at Pepsi and are qualified for the jobs for which they apply.  The company will supply the EEOC with regular reports on its hiring practices under its new criminal background check policy.  Pepsi will conduct Title VII training for its hiring personnel and all of its managers.

“When employers contemplate instituting a background check policy, the EEOC recommends that they take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought in order to be sure that the exclusion is important for the particular position.  Such exclusions can create an adverse impact based on race in violation of Title VII,” said Julie Schmid, Acting Director of the EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office. “We hope that employers with unnecessarily broad criminal background check policies take note of this agreement and reassess their policies to ensure compliance with Title VII.”

“We obtained significant financial relief for a large number of victims of discrimination, got them job opportunities that they were previously denied, and eradicated an unlawful barrier for future applicants,” said EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe. “We are pleased that Pepsi chose to work with us to reach this conciliation agreement and that through our joint efforts, we have been able to bring about real change at Pepsi without resorting to litigation.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws against employment discrimination.  The EEOC issued its first written policy guidance regarding the use of arrest and conviction records in employment in the 1980s.  The Commission also considered this issue in 2008 and held a meeting on the use of arrest and conviction records in employment last summer.  The EEOC is a member of the federal interagency Reentry Council, a Cabinet-level interagency group convened to examine all aspects of reentry of individuals with criminal records.

The Minneapolis Area Office is part of the EEOC’s Chicago District.  The Chicago District   is responsible for investigating charges of discrimination in Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and North and South Dakota.  Further information is available at http://www.eeoc.gov.

City Slapped With Sex Discrimination Suit | NBC Chicago

In May, a federal appeals court ruled the Chicago Fire Department must hire 111 African Americans who passed a firefighters entrance exam 16 years ago. This follows a 2005 ruling by a federal judge who said the test discriminated against black applicants and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that the candidates did not wait too long to sue the city.Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/125818903.html#ixzz1T50mTflL

City Slapped With Sex Discrimination Suit | NBC Chicago.

Jackson Park Hospital Sued By EEOC For Race Discrimination And Retaliation via eeoc.gov

 

Federal Agency Charged Black Female Employees Were Segregated in Job Assignments

CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a class race discrimination lawsuit in federal district court here today against Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center. The EEOC charged that the hospital, on Chicago’s South Side, subjected a class of black female employees to different terms and conditions of employment and segregation in job assignments because of their race. The suit also alleged that at least one of the women was demoted in retaliation for opposing and complaining about unlawful employment practices.

John Rowe, the director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, said the agency’s administrative investigation revealed that numerous black female medical technicians at Jackson Park appear to have been required to perform assignments that their male counterparts who were not black were allegedly not required to perform.

Race discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, N.D. Ill., No. 11 C 04743, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit has been assigned to District Judge Milton Shadur and Magistrate Judge Gilbert. The EEOC’s litigation of the case will be led by Trial Attorney June Wallace Calhoun and Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason.

“There’s a word for assigning work on the basis of race,” said Rowe. “It’s segregation—and it has long been prohibited by federal law.”

EEOC Chicago District Regional Attorney John Hendrickson added, “This case appears to be one of an increasing number which involve retaliation. That’s something we are always on the watch for and always want to challenge. Retaliation damages everyone—individuals, employers, and the public interest—so we are not inclined to let it slide.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

The Perceived Racism of the US Airways Dress Code | News | BET

Chances are you’ve heard about DeShon Marman, the 20-year-old University of New Mexico football player who was arrested at the San Francisco airport last week. Before boarding his flight back to New Mexico—he’d been in San Francisco to attend a funeral—Marman was surrounded by three US Airways employees who told him to pull up his pants. When he didn’t, he was arrested.

via The Perceived Racism of the US Airways Dress Code | News | BET.

CareerBuilder Study Points to Improvements in Workplace Equality, But Disparity in Pay and… — CHICAGO, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —

 

CareerBuilder surveyed more than 1,300 diverse workers to gauge how their work experience has evolved with their growing proportions in the U.S. workforce. The study focused on larger economies and workforces, targeting the top 20 markets in the U.S. by population. The results for six diverse segments – African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, women, workers with disabilities and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) workers – were compared to non-diverse workers, defined as Caucasian males who are not LGBT, and not disabled. The national survey was conducted from February 21 to March 10, 2011.

Report Link:  http://img.icbdr.com/images/jp/pdf/BRO-0053_DiversityReport_2011.pdf

 

CareerBuilder Study Points to Improvements in Workplace Equality, But Disparity in Pay and… — CHICAGO, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —.

African American soldier says noose strung outside barracks | Reuters

Racial slurs and a noose strung up outside his barracks were among the alleged harassment an African American war veteran said he was subjected to while serving in Afghanistan, according to a complaint filed this week.

Specialist Adam Jarrell, the only African American in a unit of 216 soldiers of the New Mexico Army National Guard, told Reuters on Tuesday that his complaints to superiors were not only ignored, but resulted in increased harassment.

via African American soldier says noose strung outside barracks | Reuters.