U.S. Gets Work Discrimination Victims Record $525 Mil in Settlements
Key government agencies—including the Department of Homeland Security—are notorious for perpetual lapses but at least one, the Obama administration’s discrimination police, is earning accolades for going beyond the call of duty even shattering performance records.
It’s part of the president’s mission to eradicate discrimination in America’s workforce, especially within government. To accomplish this, the administration’s tool of choice is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the bloated and overreaching federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws. This month the agency is celebrating “record results in its enforcement efforts during fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30.” This translates into more than $525 million in settlements for reported victims of discrimination in both private and public sector jobs.
The breakdown includes $356.6 million for “victims” of employment discrimination in private, state and local government jobs and $105.7 million for federal employees and applicants who never got hired, presumably because they encountered discrimination. Of important note is that the EEOC received 89,385 charges alleging employment discrimination during the fiscal year yet resolved 92,641. The extra 3,256 cases evidently were dug up by the agency’s “front-line staff,” which produced $60 million in monetary benefits over fiscal year 2014, demonstrating “high productivity of the EEOC workforce,” according to the agency’s fiscal year 2015 report. The EEOC even pats itself on the back for exceeding its “hiring sprint” goal of adding 50 new employees in 50 days by hiring 57.
The report also highlights the agency’s biggest successes, high-profile cases that earned large settlements for minority victims and strong-armed businesses into making policy changes. Among them is a case involving a Muslim woman and a national clothing retailer, which focuses on hip causal wear for youngsters that refused to change a rule banning head covers for employees. The EEOC sued the company for religious discrimination for not allowing the Muslim woman to wear a hijab to work and an Obama-appointed federal judge in northern California ruled in favor of the administration. Another victory involves a national retailer that agreed to provide $2.5 million in monetary relief to individuals who were not recruited and hired due to their race and relaxing criminal background checks, which the administration insists have a disparate impact on African Americans.
Specifically, the Obama administration has determined that race-based discrimination occurs when criminal background screens contain a blanket exclusionary policy rejecting all with felony convictions. This preposterous rule was blasted by a federal court hearing an EEOC discrimination lawsuit against a family-owned company that conducts background checks on job applicants. The EEOC claimed the business “unlawfully relied upon credit and criminal background checks that caused a disparate impact against African-American, Hispanic, and male job applicants.” To support this absurd argument, the agency presented the court with “expert” data, including a detailed statistical analysis, supposedly proving its disparate impact claims.
In a scathing 34-page opinion the court found the allegations “laughable,” “distorted,” “cherry-picked,” “worthless” and “an egregious example of scientific dishonesty.” This has not deterred the EEOC in its ardent push to end discrimination, however. Last summer Judicial Watch reported that the agency actually sued a private American business for discriminating against Hispanic and Asian employees because they don’t speak English on the job. Forcing employees to speak English in the U.S. violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, says the Obama administration. The EEOC’s twisted explanation is that the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, which includes the linguistic characteristics of a national origin group. Therefore, according to this reasoning, foreigners have the right to speak their native language even during work hours at an American company that requires English.
With this in mind, the 2015 report shows that among the EEOC’s “national priorities” is outreach and training to help “vulnerable groups” such as immigrant and migrant workers as well as those with limited English proficiency. This includes signing official agreements with foreign governments to provide their nationals “with guidance, information, and access to education about rights and responsibilities under the laws enforced by EEOC.” Among the countries that the Obama administration has signed these agreements with is Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador. “There is a growing awareness-across racial and ethnic lines-that we must do more as a country to address issues of equality,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang in a press release announcing her agency’s annual report.