Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Coffee Mug Fuels Controversy - Hartford Courant
“A coffee mug used by Department of Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III showing the Confederate flag in a Civil War battle has angered black leaders who said it was insensitive to display a symbol of hate, particularly when the state police have been under fire for complaints of racism.”

The Stepford Staff: Or How It Happens That a Boss Is Cloned - Wall Street Journal’s Cubicle Culture (subscription)
“Yet managers, or anyone recruiting, are often the last to recognize the irrelevant behavior. Prof. Chatman’s research shows there’s no limit to the ’suck up till you die’ approach to authority. That means flattery, including its sincerest form, is lapped up by bosses who view it as a sign they’ve successfully influenced their people. That may explain why ‘people who have no interest at all in golf, or in walking around a pollen field of a golf course in the springtime, take up golf,’ says executive-search consultant Patricia Cook, who estimates that as many as 70% of executives look for a version of themselves when hiring.”

Should “The Price is Right” Start Thinking BFOQ - Workplace Prof Blog
Paul Secunda, upon finding out that only men were auditioned to replace Bob Barker, wonders if being a man is a bona fide occupational qualification for the role of “The Price is Right” host. If not, he says Rosie O’Donnell could could have grounds for a sex discrimination lawsuit.

Hillary: Being a Woman Is Non-Issue - Wall Street Journal’s The Juggle
In light of Hillary Clinton’s downplaying of her gender in last week’s CNN/YouTube debate, Sara Schaefer Muñoz asks, “If women want to get ahead in business, are there cases in which emphasizing so-called female qualities — like compassion or a better understanding of female clients — help? Or are females more likely to advance if they make their gender a non-issue?”

Michael Moore’s Sicko and Some Thoughts About Ethical Compensation Practices - KnowHR Blog
“How in the hell can someone create a bonus structure that rewards people for denying legitimate claims? I’m not talking about bogus claims here. I’m not talking about a company’s right to make money — I definitely think they should. I’m not talking about good bonus structures. I’m talking about creating bonus and pay structures that encourage unethical behavior.” Including a comment from Dr. Linda Peeno, who appears in the movie.

Charting the Future of College Affirmative Action: Legal Victories, Continuing Attacks, and New Research - The Civil Rights Project
“The Civil Rights Project… says that the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision upholding race-conscious admissions policies at the University of Michigan’s law school should have been seen as a green light to colleges to continue considering students’ race and ethnicity for the sake of promoting diversity. Instead, the report argues, critics of affirmative action — including many conservative advocacy groups and officials in the Bush administration — have “attempted to interpret the law as if they had won the case” and have managed to pressure many colleges to quietly abandon policies and programs that were within the bounds of the law.” (via The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog and Workplace Blog)

Nearly Ten Percent of Companies Have Fired Bloggers, Survey Claims - Wired.com
Paul Secunda says, “I am not surprised as companies appear to be finally becoming aware of the damage a lone blogger can do other employees and to a company’s image and reputation. I would expect blog-related discipline in the work place to continue to increase to the level at which employees are now being punished for personal phone calls, improper internet use, and inappropriate emails.”

blog judgment - Ask a Manager
An employee mentions her blog when interviewing for a job and eventually gets hired. Her manager occasionally reads the blog and one day finds a complaint about himself.

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

The New Recruiting Psychographic Persona - Employee Evolution
The author put together a list of things that Millennials are looking for in a job to give her company’s HR department a better sense of the landscape as they reconsidered their recruiting materials. With all the talk of how this generation has been raised to really not think about race (i.e., ignore it, not necessarily truly have it be a non-issue), I wonder how highly they value the face of diversity (or lack thereof) a company puts forth.

Gap Analysis - CFO Magazine
“Why diversity programs work better for women than for minorities.” Demographics and socioeconomics mean a much larger pipeline of women. More successful mentoring and workplace accommodations mean much happier female employees. (Thx, Sallie!)

Now and Then: Minorities and Michigan - Inside Higher Ed
Following the state of Michigan’s passage of Proposal 2 banning affirmative action at all public employers, minority enrollment at the University of Michigan Law School dropped from 39.6% to 5.5%.

Without Affirmative Action, Diversity Suffers - TIME’s Work in Progress
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen reacts to the news out of the University of Michigan Law School. We’re reminded not to use the “Q” word (”quota”). The usual arguing for and against affirmative action ensues in the comments, including the use of crayola colors and my personal favorite: “I’m a minority and I think it’s wrong.”

Race Discrimination - Workplace Fairness
Good background on the legal definition of race discrimination and how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act governs that.

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Justices Limit Discrimination Suits Over Pay - New York Times
This was the big story last week. “The court held today that employees may not bring suit under the principal federal anti-discrimination law unless they have filed a formal complaint with a federal agency within 180 days after their pay was set. The timeline applies, according to the decision, even if the effects of the initial discriminatory act were not immediately apparent to the worker and even if they continue to the present day.” “Under its longstanding interpretation of the statute, the [EEOC] actively supported the plaintiff, Lilly M. Ledbetter, in the lower courts. But after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last June, the Bush administration disavowed the agency’s position and filed a brief on the side of the employer.” All emphasis mine. I agree that the EEOC’s claim that discrimination occurs each time a person receives their biased paycheck is dubious, but the 180-day time limit is ridiculous.

Pay Discrimination Begins With Bias, Is Abetted by Pay Secrecy - Work in Progress
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen looks more at the pay secrecy aspect of the case. Namely, that bias in compensation stems from discrimination and you often can’t tell if you’re being discriminated against if you’re unaware that the pay gap even exists. Good discussion in the comments. Justice Ginsberg’s dissenting opinion is based on this issue.

Make sure company’s hires and fliers reflect its desire for diversity - The Boston Globe
As someone who has at times searched for a job, I wholeheartedly agree that I look for that projection of a diversity-valuing image and it does influence my perception of a company. But it’s a fine line, because as one of a few minorities in my current company, I’m also sensitive to being hand-picked to be in the poster. Also in that article is a Q&A about how to handle culturally (possibly unintentionally) insensitive language which reminds me of the white manager at work who always throws the fake gang sign to me and the two other black people at work. (Thx, Tereza!)

Why Minorities Hold Few Top Spots in Corporate America - exduco.net Graduate Schools and Programs Guide
“In fact, social psychologists’ research shows that Hispanics form the largest nonwhite population group and are the fastest growing, while Asian Americans have best education and job credentials, the two groups are least represented in top jobs, [researcher Clayton] Rose said. He cited organizational theory by social psychologists, which shows that ‘race gets in the way’ of work group performance because of such issues as cohesion, integration, conflict, turnover, and attachment. ‘It’s particularly problematic for whites, who really try to opt out of these racially mixed groups,’ Rose said.” (Thx, Tereza!)

Black Faculty in Higher Education: Still Only a Drop in the Bucket - The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
“Overall, it appears that results largely depend on whether the faculties that control hiring at particular universities have a strong commitment to developing a racially diverse teaching corps. Much depends, too, on who has the power to hire faculty. At most prestigious universities the authority to engage faculty tends to be lodged in the departments concerned. University presidents and deans have little or no say in the hiring process. At best they can cajole members of the various departments involved or provide monetary incentives to hire black scholars…. Faculty departments traditionally explain their poor performance on the grounds that there are no qualified African Americans in the Ph.D. pipeline. But the fact that many of our great universities have been highly successful in recruiting African-American faculty tends to show that the ‘no blacks in the Ph.D. pipeline’ thesis is at worst a red herring and at best a weak explanation for poor results.” (via Workplace Blog)

JB Fuqua and the Trappings of Success - Do You Need Them? - Businesspundit
“I wonder if it would make a difference if I showed up in a shiny BMW. Knowing my age, what I make, and my financial situation, I tend to be a skeptic when I see people in flashy clothes and cars, assuming it’s all debt that will come back to bite them. Or is it an investment? Is it an investment in social perception? This is the issue I struggle with sometimes. Does the image of success actually drive success? Does it influence others enough to make it worthwhile?” And I’ll add the question of whether or not minorities feel added pressure to look good to shore up the perception that their work doesn’t already speak for itself.

Race as disability - The Gimp Parade
A white man and his Dominican wife conceived via in-vitro fertilization, and the baby came out darker than either of them. “And because the wrongful life suit (rejected by the judge) on Jessica’s behalf claims she will suffer physical and emotional stress from having darker skin than her family, race is made here to be a kind of disability. Disability, after all, is not only about actual impairments, but also perceived impairments — the ADA recognizes this fact of the social stigma of disability.”

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com