In 2012, the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), an advocacy group for female soldiers, filed a lawsuit challenging a 1994 Pentagon policy barring women from serving in combat roles. That policy kept women from serving in 238,000 positions in the military.
A report by the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector general highlights a gender inequity problem in all four of the department's law enforcement components: The FBI, the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshalls Service. The review found women to be underrepresented in operational positions generally and even more so in leadership. Unfortunately, male staff seemed unaware of the problem.
Last week, the Department of Justice issued new directives to address sexual harassment in its workplaces. Some complain, however, that the policies invite uneven application from section to section, and that could mean leaving victims of harassment and assault unprotected.
When the Navy began integrating submarines eight years ago, there was push-back. Some submariners, veterans and submariners' wives thought the living quarters were just too tight and that lack of privacy and the potential for romantic entanglements would be disruptive.
Last month, 15 women accused veteran 9th Circuit jurist Alex Kozinski of engaging in a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct. Kozinski, 67, served for 32 years on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After a partial apology, he announced his retirement.
In the United States, there has been a gradual increase in the toleration for informality. At one time, people dressed up in suits, ties and dresses to travel by air. It seems quaint to see photos of baseball games from the 1950s, where virtually every man in the stadium is wearing a hat (and not a baseball cap.) Women of that generation would have worn hats to Sunday church and would have been scandalized by blue jeans in a church.
The case described here provides a teachable moment for anyone involved in an employment law dispute. While this case did not involve a federal employee, or a hearing in front of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), it did involve allegations of sex discrimination and used mediation as the dispute resolution method, and the basic facts describe situations that can occur in virtually any employment setting.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced its year-end statistics last week and for the second straight year, the number of filed charges fell. In 2012, the EEOC received 99,412 discrimination charges. These filings represent discrimination claims from individuals, and may included more than one allegation of discrimination.
When an employee of the federal government loses a case involving questions of discrimination and procedural issues with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), courts had ruled that the employee must appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
American employers know or should know that it is illegal to discriminate against any worker based on their sex, race, color, religion, ethnic origin, age, disability or genetic information. This standard applies to state and federal government agencies as well as businesses in the private sector. But apparently, not all employers, even those in government, strive to follow these rules.