employment discrimination

Numbers everywhere
Numbers everywhere

As I noted on Friday, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities has, at long last, released case statistics for 2014-2015 fiscal year and has updated their statistics for the last several years.

As a result, there are lots of new numbers to pore over and information

Not the Confederate flag.
Not the Confederate flag.

There’s been lots of talk lately about the Confederate flag and its symbolism in the aftermath of the Charleston shootings.

But I wondered: How has this flag come up in the context of employment discrimination cases?

It’s actually referenced a bunch according to a quick search by

Over the last few months, I’ve seen an increasing number of articles start highlighting an issue that has been percolating at college campuses: The theory of “Microaggression”.

Not familiar with the term?

The New York Times has recently written about the term become the “word du jour”:

A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin. Cringe-inducing praise for how articulate a black student is. An unwanted conversation about a Latino’s ability to speak English without an accent.

This is not exactly the language of traditional racism, but in an avalanche of blogs, student discourse, campus theater and academic papers, they all reflect the murky terrain of the social justice word du jour — microaggressions — used to describe the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture.

In reading Time magazine over the weekend, there was a similar piece which suggested that “you’re about to start hearing it everywhere.”

Microaggressions, as these academics describe them, are quiet, often unintended slights — racist or sexist — that make a person feel underestimated on the basis of their color or gender.

Of course, in reading these pieces, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’ll start to see the influence of this academic theory in employment discrimination cases.

Before you suggest that I am reach for straws, understand that academics are already looking at this theory and have been for over 25 years in articles or books (here, here and here, for example).


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UPDATED

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Courts’ publication “The Third Branch” updated the public on a pilot program that has been going on for a while that established initial discovery protocols that employers and employees need to follow in discrimination cases, without the need for case-specific discovery requests.

Sharpen your pens

(I was tipped off to this by Alli Gerkman, who is the Online Content Manager of IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.  The IAALS worked with a group of employment lawyers to develop these protocols. My thanks to Alli for the detailed information and I recommend their website for further details.)

Nice article, you may be thinking, but so what? It’s just a pilot? Well, as the article indicates, “any district judge may choose to adopt the protocols, which do not require changes to local rules.”

The pilot is getting strong support; the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules has encouraged judges to join the pilot.  As the article goes on to note, “Judge Jeremy Fogel, Director of the Federal Judicial Center, sent a memo to all chief district judges, advising them of the availability of the employment protocols.”
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In a 5-4 decision released this morning in Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v. Jackson (download here), the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to an arbitration agreement that purported to address all matters arising out of an employment dispute.  Copyright 2010, Daniel A. Schwartz. All rights reserved.

This decision isn’t the easiest to digest.   First, understand that arbitration provisions governed by federal

At the recent World Track & Field Championships, a fascinating understory developed about the gender of a runner from South Africa, Caster Semenya.  She recently shattered world records and, in doing so, raised suspicions that something else was going on to explain the record runs. With illegal drugs ruled out, officials are investigating whether

Two years ago, when Connecticut passed a civil union law, there was ample amount of press on the changes to the various laws. But on July 10, a change to Connecticut’s employment laws took place with virtually no coverage.

Specifically, Public Act 07-245 amended the state’s employment laws to preclude discrimination in the workplace based