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The Growing Problem of Age Discrimination

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about college professors and their reluctance to retire.  They are, of course, in the position of being able to choose to stay on because those who have tenure can’t be terminated unless there is cause to do so.  Even Professor Marcy, the Astronomer who resigned after pressure from colleagues following a sexual harassment investigation, wasn’t fired.
The majority of us do not have the job security of college professors and many older workers are experiencing age discrimination.  Take the example of Leslye Evans-Lane.  She left her teaching job in New Mexico when she was 58 because she and her husband were moving to Oregon.  She assumed that with her extensive experience she’d find work.  Instead, it took 2 years to find a part-time teaching gig.  Then, after six months on the job, the position became full-time and she was terminated and replaced with a younger teacher.  She wasn’t even interviewed for the full-time position.
According to AARP two-thirds of workers age 45 to 74 say they have experienced or witnessed age discrimination.  It’s not likely to get better.  There are a lot of baby boomers and people are living longer.  Many older workers are reluctant to retire due in part to concerns over having enough in savings to last as well as simply wanting to work.  Employers on the other hand have concerns about job performance decreasing with age, although research does not support those concerns.  It’s also less expensive to employ younger workers.  This article goes in to more detail.

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Fired for Being HIV Positive

Jon Allison

According to a lawsuit filed earlier this month in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Zoo Printing terminated two of its employees from its Louisville facility for being HIV-positive in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the suit, one plaintiff, who had been employed for approximately one month as a boxer, and who was able to perform all of the essential functions of his job, was terminated shortly after requesting a shift change so that he could make an appointment for HIV treatment. A second plaintiff, who worked in human resources, was terminated two weeks after submitting insurance paperwork which showed that he was undergoing HIV treatment. The second plaintiff had also recently complained that he was concerned that Zoo Printing was discriminating against individuals with disabilities following the termination of the first plaintiff.

Subway Restaurants is accused of having done the same thing at its location in Sheridan, Indiana. An HIV positive employee told his manager in confidence of his diagnosis. That manager passed the news up to her boss and, shortly after the disclosure, the employee was told that he was going to be let go because he was a liability to the company despite the fact that he was a good worker and capable of performing all of the essential functions of his job. A lawsuit challenging that termination is now pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

We’ll see how these two cases play out in court.

Zoo Printing (Louisville Printing Firm) and Subway Restaurants

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By The Numbers

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
A number of technology companies have released their Equal Employment Opportunity reports (EEO-1 reports) for 2014 and what they show is that there remains a diversity issue.  Twitter, Microsoft and Google employ zero African-American women in executive and management level positions.  Facebook, Intel and Amazon employ one African-American female each in such positions.  Executive and management level positions are held by white men 65% of the time, white females 14% of the time, Asian males 13% of the time, Asian females 3% of the time, Hispanic males 2% of the time, Hispanic females and African-American males 1% of the time, and African-American females less than 1% of the time.   The statistics for all employees aren’t much better for many companies.  Twitter, for example, employs 0% African-American females and 1% African-American males and Hispanic males and females.  It employs 25% Asian males and 8% Asian females.  The Tech industry is aware of the issue and there are efforts being made to diversify.  Find more details by following this link.

 

With respect to the wage gap between men and women in the U.S., the state you live in makes a significant difference.  Louisiana currently has the largest gap where women are earning 65 cents for every dollar earned by men.  In Utah it’s 67 cents and in Wyoming 69 cents.  The District of Columbia has the lowest pay gap at 10% followed by New York at 13% and Maryland at 15%.  There are some congressional districts within the states with the lowest pay gap that have closed the gap entirely.  Overall, still a lot of work to do here as well.  See the state rankings here.

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Painfully Shaven

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

The Atlanta Police Department has a policy that requires all officers to be clean shaven.  Some on the force say they should be allowed an accommodation because of a condition called Folliculitis which results in painful bumps that can get puss filled and bleed.  One officer has been off work without pay for months for not complying with the policy.  He is not allowed to return to work, including to a desk job, unless he shaves.  He questions why the Police Department won’t accommodate someone with a medical condition, particularly when a doctor has advised that he not shave.  A beard does not impact his ability to do his job.  Furthermore, he believes interacting with the public with a clean-cut beard is preferable to doing so with a bumpy, puss filled and/or bloody face.  The officer has retained an attorney and is seeking to return to work.  Follow this link for more on this story.

Sexual Harassment Against Both Females And Males Results In Large Settlement

VXI Global Solutions, which provides call center services for large companies, agreed to pay $600,000, hire an equal employment opportunity consultant, and provide training to employees among other terms, to resolve a lawsuit filed in 2014 alleging widespread sexual harassment and retaliation against both female and male employees.  According to the lawsuit, both female and male employees were subject to sexual harassment by at least 13 supervisors.  The females were
subjected to touching and groping, propositions for sex and sexual comments by male supervisors.  Male employees were likewise subjected to groping, lap dances and propositions for sex.  This went on for over 5 years.  Complaints about the harassment were ignored.  A number of those who complained were eventually terminated.  That prompted the filing of the lawsuit. Additional information can be found here.

 

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Champion For Voting Rights Dies

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
Amelia Boynton Robinson passed away last week at the age of 104.  She was one of the leaders of the voting rights movement that resulted in the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.  Boynton Robinson had worked to register Southern African-American voters since the 1930s.  She ran for Congress in 1963.  She was the first African-American woman ever to do so.
She was an organizer of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand the right to vote.  On March 7, 1965, hundreds of African-Americans were marching and attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.  There they were met by Alabama state troopers armed with tear gas, billy clubs and whips.
Boynton Robinson was near the front of the line.  She was knocked unconscious and hospitalized.  Nearly 20 others were hospitalized as well.  A photograph of Boynton Robinson following the attack appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world in 1965.  News coverage of “Bloody Sunday” was deemed instrumental in garnering support for the civil rights movement.
Just 5 months later, on Aug 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the federal Voting Rights Act into law.  Boynton Robinson was a guest of honor at the signing.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Amelia Boynton Robinson, activist beaten on Selma bridge …
Amelia Boynton Robinson, civil rights matriarch, dies at 104
Amelia Boynton Robinson, a Pivotal Figure at the Selma …

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