On Thursday, November 11, Americans honored those who have served in the military. It was originally known as “Armistice Day” and celebrated first on November 11, 1919 — the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution to make it an annual observance, and it became a national holiday beginning in 1938. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name to Veterans Day to honor those who served in all American wars.
In 1945, Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed in acknowledgment of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” (NDEAM). This year, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has designated “Talent Has No Boundaries: Workforce Diversity Includes People with Disabilities” as the theme of NDEAM.
Disabled Workers Important to Economy
Hard Work? Patterns in Physically Demanding Labor Among Older Workers, a study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, examines the population of older workers and how raising the retirement age affects those in jobs with difficult working conditions.
The study notes that high physical demands are a major reason for “early labor-market exit among older workers.” Therefore, increasing the retirement age will likely cause many older workers to “be physically unable to extend work lives in their jobs,” likely giving them “no choice but to receive reduced benefits.” The study predicts that “an increase in the retirement age or other cuts in Social Security benefits are also likely to put a greater burden on demographic groups that have higher proportions of workers in difficult jobs.”
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) recently upheld the district court’s decision to dismiss a complaint by three Muslim prison workers who were prohibited from wearing headwear at work.
Here are some facts from the U.S. Census Bureau about disabled Americans and how they are represented in the workplace:
- In America, there are 54 million people with disabilities. That represents 19% of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.
- Five percent of children ages 5 to 17 have disabilities; 10% of people 18 to 64 have disabilities; and 38% of adults 65 and older have disabilities.
For a week, the nation’s news reporters were captivated by a Florida preacher’s plans to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Although he ultimately backed down, his campaign and the heated debates and protests over planned mosques near ground zero and in other parts of the country have drawn attention to the fact that many Americans harbor resentment, anger, and fear toward the Muslim community.
Many Muslims have commented that they feel more in danger and stereotyped than they did immediately after the September 11 attacks, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the statistics to back up those feelings. Between September 11, 2001, and May 7, 2002, the EEOC received 497 discrimination charges on the basis of Muslim religion (up from 193 a year earlier). The number has risen steadily in recent years — from 697 claims in 2004 and 1,034 claims in 2008 to 1,490 claims in 2009.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (also known as “financial reform” or “the Wall Street bill”) made headlines when President Barack Obama signed it into law on July 21. However, many employers probably don’t realize the legislation contains diversity provisions that could affect them if they are contractors, subcontractors, or service providers for certain federal government agencies. More specifically, the diversity requirements found in the bill will affect financial industry organizations and those connected to them.
Office of Minority and Women Inclusion
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows employers on or near an Indian reservation to give preferential treatment to Indians living in the vicinity. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) takes the position that this provision doesn’t permit preference for members of a particular tribe. In the continuing saga of a case that has dragged on for years, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EEOC may pursue its position, at least partway.
Is Navajo Preference Permissible?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, President Lyndon B. Johnson was authorized by Congress to declare National Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. In 1988, Congress expanded the celebration, and September 15 was chosen as the beginning of the monthlong event because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and 18, respectively.
Here are some statistics about Hispanic Americans from the Census Bureau: read more…
Latino employees at an Arizona community college were understandably offended when a professor broadly distributed e-mail messages exalting the “superiority of Western Civilization” and deriding the contributions of nonwhite immigrants and Native Americans. But did the professor’s messages create a racially hostile work environment? The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) recently answered that question in the negative. The professor had constitutional free-speech rights with which the college couldn’t interfere.
Professor’s Views Offend