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April 11, 2016 0

Time to Require Equal Pay for Equal Work

Diverse Business Team Discussing Work In Office

It’s April 12, 2016 – Equal Pay Day, the sym­bolic date that women need to work until to catch up with what men had earned by last Dec. 31.  The fact is that women who work full time, are paid an aver­age of 79 cents for every dol­lar paid to men — and on aver­age, African Amer­i­can and Latina women are paid even less.   It’s not a day to cel­e­brate, but it is a teach­able moment to focus on the need­less, costly, and dis­crim­i­na­tory gen­der wage gap – and on what we can do about it.

One high-profile exam­ple of unequal pay is that mem­bers of the U.S. Women’s Soc­cer team, the best team in the world, are paid less than their US male team coun­ter­parts.  Five mem­bers of the team recently brought a wage dis­crim­i­na­tion suit against U.S. Soc­cer with the Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­nity Com­mis­sion (EEOC).

Progress in Recent Years

  • In August 2014, Pres­i­dent Obama signed two direc­tives aimed at clos­ing the wage gap for Fed­eral work­ers.   First, an Exec­u­tive Order pro­hibiting fed­eral con­trac­tors from retal­i­at­ing against employ­ees for shar­ing their salary infor­ma­tion, mak­ing it eas­ier for women to dis­cover and address pay­check inequity. And, sec­ond, the Pres­i­dent instructed the Depart­ment of Labor to cre­ate new reg­u­la­tions requir­ing fed­eral con­trac­tors and sub­con­trac­tors to report salary infor­ma­tion to the gov­ern­ment, expos­ing salary inequities and thereby encour­ag­ing con­trac­tors to close the wage gap on their own.
  • And in Jan­u­ary, the EEOC issued com­ple­men­tary “Pro­posed Enforce­ment Guid­ance on Retal­i­a­tion and Related Issues.” ADL joined two dozen other national orga­ni­za­tions on a let­ter, drafted by the National Women’s Law Cen­ter, sup­port­ing the pro­posal and sug­gest­ing way to clar­ify the pro­tec­tions and safe­guards even further.

 

Learn, Raise Aware­ness – and Pro­mote Fairness.

On this Equal Pay Day, let’s com­mit to spread­ing the word about the dis­crim­i­na­tory pay gap between men and women – so we can close it.   Here are two great ways to get the word out:   MTV Pay Equity

  • MTV’s Emmy Award-winning “Look Dif­fer­ent” anti-bias cam­paign has cre­ated the “79% Work Clock” — a clock that chimes every day at 3:20 p.m. – sig­ni­fy­ing 79% of the 9–5 work­day, or the time, after which, women are no longer paid for equal work.  Their web­site includes a 79-Percent Cal­cu­la­tor to help indi­vid­u­als find the cor­rect time set­ting for their per­sonal work clocks based on their work hours and race — and to learn more about the gen­der wage gap in America.
  • The Anti-Defamation League recently devel­oped a High School les­son plan on the gen­der wage gap that pro­vides an oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to reflect on their own opin­ions about sex­ism, under­stand the gen­der pay gap and its var­i­ous man­i­fes­ta­tions, and con­sider ways that it can be overcome.

Although we’ve made some progress in the fight for equal pay, much more needs to be done.  ADL and a broad coali­tion of civil rights and women’s groups sup­port The Pay­check Fair­ness Act (PFA HR 1619/S 862)), which would give teeth to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it unlaw­ful for busi­nesses to pay men and women dif­fer­ent salaries for per­form­ing sub­stan­tially the same work. The PFA would make it ille­gal for com­pa­nies to retal­i­ate against employ­ees for dis­cussing salary dif­fer­ences and open­ busi­nesses up to civil lia­bil­ity for salary inequity.

By rais­ing aware­ness and demand­ing leg­isla­tive action, we can speed the day when the alarm clock rep­re­sent­ing the wage gap rings later and later in the day – until we will not need it at all.

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March 28, 2016 0

Lawsuit to Be Filed Challenging Broadest Anti-LGBT Law in the Nation

By David Barkey, Reli­gious Free­dom Counsel

 

Under the false and offen­sive pre­text of safety in bath­rooms, North Car­olina last week enacted the broad­est anti-LGBT law in the nation.  Adopted in a reck­less and inequitable man­ner, the new law not only sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple, but under­mines the rights of vir­tu­ally all North Car­olini­ans.  Yes­ter­day, ACLU, Lamda Legal and Equal­ity North Car­olina announced that they will be fil­ing a fed­eral law­suit chal­leng­ing the statute.

In Feb­ru­ary 2016, the City of Char­lotte, NC added pro­tec­tions for the cat­e­gories of gen­der iden­tity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion to its Non-Discrimination Ordi­nance.  In response, the State Leg­is­la­ture called a spe­cial ses­sion, cus­tom­ar­ily reserved for bud­get, nat­ural dis­as­ter or redis­trict­ing emer­gen­cies, to over­turn the amended Ordinance.

Flag_of_North_Carolina.svgWithin twenty-four hours, the leg­is­la­ture — with­out pub­lic hear­ings or input — hastily enacted sweep­ing leg­is­la­tion (House Bill 2) and the Gov­er­nor signed it into law.  It pro­hibits trans­gen­der peo­ple from using restrooms or chang­ing facil­i­ties in accor­dance with their gen­der iden­tity, which iron­i­cally will require trans­gen­der men to use women’s facil­i­ties. But the law did not stop there.

It pro­hibits local gov­ern­ment from adopt­ing any anti-discrimination pro­tec­tions for LGBT peo­ple.  Fur­ther­more, the law pro­hibits any North Car­olin­ian from fil­ing an anti-discrimination law­suit in state court, includ­ing a reli­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion claim.  It also bars local gov­ern­ments from rais­ing the min­i­mum wage or requir­ing con­trac­tors to pay a pre­vail­ing wage or to pro­vide ben­e­fits such as sick leave.

House Bill 2, and the process by which it was adopted, are dis­grace­ful.  The law con­veys the clear mes­sage that the major­ity of North Carolina’s state gov­ern­ment sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple.  Undoubt­edly it will dam­age the State’s econ­omy, result in costly lit­i­ga­tion, and jeop­ar­dize fed­eral fund­ing for North Car­olina.  We are con­fi­dent that the court hear­ing the law­suit chal­leng­ing House Bill 2 will strike down this appalling and uncon­sti­tu­tional law if the leg­is­la­ture does not recon­sider and repeal it first.

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March 22, 2016 3

Intended or Not, SJP’s Actions Have Consequences for LGBTQ People

By Seth M. Marnin, Vice Pres­i­dent for Civil Rights

Recent homo­pho­bic and anti-Semitic inci­dents at Brown Uni­ver­sity came on the heels of the announce­ment that Janet Mock, trans­gen­der author and founder of #Girl­s­LikeUs, a social media project that empow­ers trans women, had can­celled her sched­uled speak­ing engage­ment there. Mock’s talk, Redefin­ing Real­ness, was spon­sored by Moral Voices, the Brown Cen­ter for Stu­dents of Color, Sarah Doyle Women’s Cen­ter, LGBTQ Cen­ter, Sex­ual Assault Peer Edu­ca­tors, Swearer Cen­ter for Pub­lic Ser­vice, Office of the Chap­lains, the Rhode Island School of Design’s Office of Inter­cul­tural Stu­dent Engage­ment, and Brown/RISD Hillel.

React­ing to the fact that Hil­lel was one of the co-sponsors of pro­gram, the Brown Uni­ver­sity chap­ter of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) launched a change.org peti­tion urg­ing Ms. Mock to reject Hillel’s invi­ta­tion to speak, say­ing that she should accept “Brown stu­dents’ spon­sor­ship instead of Hillel’s.”  Although they were only able to gain 159 sup­port­ers (of the nearly 9,000 stu­dents who attend Brown), SJP’s divi­sive efforts led to Ms. Mock can­celling her talk.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

While some may be quick to crit­i­cize Ms. Mock’s deci­sion, con­dem­na­tion should instead be lev­eled against SJP and their efforts to splin­ter a com­mu­nity and use Ms. Mock as a pawn. In their effort to link Hillel’s Moral Voices’ cam­paign — a largely domes­tic ini­tia­tive high­light­ing vio­lence against LGBT+ indi­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties — to vio­lence in the Mid­dle East, SJP forced a trans­gen­der woman of color to choose between silenc­ing her­self or allow­ing her­self to be exploited for their unre­lated cru­sade.  She should never have been put in that position.

The homo­pho­bic and anti-Semitic graf­fiti that appeared on Brown’s cam­pus just days later occurred in an envi­ron­ment that SJP helped cre­ate. Their claim to be sur­prised is unper­sua­sive.   More­over, the graf­fiti is only one vis­i­ble sign of the con­se­quences of SJP’s actions. While SJP’s efforts to alien­ate Jew­ish stu­dents are well doc­u­mented, there are other impli­ca­tions too.

There are far too few vis­i­ble trans­gen­der role mod­els and lead­ers. Efforts that have the effect of quash­ing those scarce voices have far-reaching reper­cus­sions.  For exam­ple, stud­ies have shown that the sui­cide attempt rate among trans­gen­der men and women exceeds 41%, greatly sur­pass­ing the 4.6% of the over­all U.S. pop­u­la­tion who report a sui­cide attempt at some point in their lives. The ele­vated rates of sui­cide attempts are con­nected with sur­vivors’ expe­ri­ences of fam­ily rejec­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion and vio­lence at school and work. The absence of trans­gen­der voices in main­stream dis­course also plays a role. There few role mod­els for young trans­gen­der peo­ple, and fam­i­lies, co-workers, and friends of trans­gen­der peo­ple have lim­ited oppor­tu­ni­ties to hear from trans­gen­der lead­ers.  Such an expe­ri­ence would bet­ter equip them to be allies in the future. Unfor­tu­nately, SJP’s actions fore­closed that pos­si­bil­ity for the Brown Uni­ver­sity campus.

The impor­tance of pro­vid­ing plat­form for trans­gen­der voices is under­scored by the fact that, accord­ing to the National Coali­tion of Anti-Violence Pro­grams’ most recent report, vio­lence against trans­gen­der women and par­tic­u­larly trans­gen­der women of color remains at an alarm­ingly high rate. At present, only 17 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia have hate crime laws that explic­itly cover gen­der iden­tity. Crit­i­cal efforts to address vio­lence against LGBTQ peo­ple, includ­ing advo­cacy for inclu­sive hate crime laws like the 50 States Against Hate cam­paign, are under­mined by orga­ni­za­tions that engage in activism that results in silenc­ing trans­gen­der voices. That too is what SJP did.

SJP encour­aged a speaker – wholly unre­lated to Israel — to reject an invi­ta­tion from a broad coali­tion of stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions solely because one of those orga­ni­za­tions is Jew­ish. Intended or not, SJP harmed the LGBTQ com­mu­nity at Brown and beyond.  It’s well beyond time to reject these divi­sive tactics.

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