discrimination and the law

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by DC_DEEP, May 26, 2006.

  1. DC_DEEP

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    Some contentious issues were brought up in another thread, regarding what is and what is not outlined in non-discrimination laws. Another couple of members really resented the "hijack" of the thread, so I did my homework and started a new thread to clear up some of the misunderstandings.

    Federal non-discrimination standards are outlined in Title 5 USC 2302 (b)(1)(A - E). 2302 outline what actions are prohibited (such as withholding promotion, hiring, firing, all those sorts of things.) and the further subsections (b)(1)(A) etc. describe which factors may NOT be considered for any personnel actions. Those factors are race, color, religion, sex (as in gender), national origin, age, handicap status, marital status, and political affiliation. Sexual orientation is not listed. There is also a misunderstanding that this section of the US Code defines the standards for the states; this is not the case. The federal standards apply only to federal employees.

    Exactly twelve states, and the District of Columbia, include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination laws: CA, CT, HI, MD, MA, MN, NV, NH, NJ, RI, VT, and WI. All of those except Vermont and District of Columbia also include "perception of sexual orientation", meaning if an employer even suspects that an employee of an "alternative sexual orientation," that employee is still protected. Of course, there are various exemptions, relating to the size and/or type of business. All 13, of course, completely exempt religious organizations from all criteria; other businesses reach threshold at anywhere from 3 to 15 employees. My source for this information, if any of you have any interest in more information (I know, I'm kind of OCD with law-related info), is the US General Accountability Office website, and specifically the page at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02878r.pdf .

    So, those who posted "that's illegal, they can't fire someone for being gay!", well, outside those 12 states or DC, or even in the federal government, no, it's not illegal, gays and lesbians and bisexuals are NOT protected in 38 of our fine states.
     
  2. Lex

    Lex
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    DC Deep--thanks for sharing that info. I certainly did not know that the EEOC protections for orientation were so few and far between. I am surprised that DE and NY do not have those protecttions. Interesting.
     
  3. dong20

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    These are interesting issues and I had assumed the protections such as those which speak to the basis of who we are would have been enacted unilaterally.

    Here in the UK we faced and still face the same issues and over the years have enacted legislation to try and address them in a legal sense at least. Some of the key pieces are and I am paraphrasing:

    On Race:

    The Race Relations Act 1976 & Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 makes discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origin unlawful. The law covers people from all racial groups, including white people. In 2000 it was amended to include all public authority functions not previously covered.

    This was enhanced by the Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 for example, amending the definition of indirect discrimination, removing a number of exceptions from the legislation and extending protection from discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnic or national origin.

    Gender:

    The core is the Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) 1975. Essentially this makes discrimination on the grounds of sex or marriage unlawful.

    This act was extended in 1999 with the the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) regulations 1999. These were intended to prevent discrimination against transsexual people on the grounds of sex in pay and treatment in employment and vocational training.

    Again this was further amended in 2003 with the SDA (Amendment) Regulations of 2003 which made it unlawful to discriminate against someone after the formal relationship with an employer had ended if the discrimination arises out of, and is closely connected to, that relationship; and of special significance make Chief Officers of police liable for unlawful acts of sex discrimination committed by police constables against other police constables in the course of their duties.

    The concept was refined further with the Gender Recognition Act 2004 which ensures transsexual people will for the first time be afforded all the rights and responsibilities appropriate to their acquired gender. The Act gives transsexual people the right to marry, from the date of recognition, in their acquired gender; to be given birth certificates that recognise the acquired gender and to obtain benefits and state pension just like anyone else of that gender

    Sexual Orientation:

    The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 outlaws discrimination, harassment and victimisation in employment and vocational training on the grounds of sexual orientation. It covers people whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual. Discrimination on the grounds of perceived sexual orientation is also banned. The legislation also protects those people who are discriminated against because of the sexual orientation of the people with whom they associate.

    The Civil Partnership Act of 2004 which only came into effect in December 2005 defines a completely new legal relationship which can be formed by two people of the same sex and is distinct from marriage. It gives same sex couples the ability to obtain legal recognition for their relationship.


    On Religion or belief

    The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 outlaws discrimination, harassment and victimisation in employment and vocational training on the grounds of religious belief or similar philosophical belief. Non-belief is also covered by the regulations.

    There are numerous others dealing with Age, Disability and so on and seem to run parallel with US legislation with it seems a key difference; here (and as ever there are exeptions, usually secuity based), the above legislation applies to all in England and Wales. Scotland in many cases has it's own comparable legislation, generally based on the above.

    legislation of course is all well and good, what is truly sad is the fact that legislation should have been required at all,never mind that in many cases it's paid lip service to, but that's the idealist in me speaking I suppose.:rolleyes:
     
  4. DC_DEEP

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    While a Federal Republic, such as the US, is the best our forefathers could come up with at the time (and still a pretty damned good theory), this points out some of its pitfalls. Unfortunately, even though our Congressional members (both in the House and the Senate) understand the gravity of the situation, they choose to ignore the rules from time to time and legislate in a way they think will be advantageous, careerwise, rather than in a way they know is required by our Constitution.
     
  5. dong20

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    Bang on, I commented in another thread (pertaining to the 'right' of privacy) that the framers of the constitution did a good job but that was over 200 years ago and foresight only gets you so far.

    In the end you work with the system you have until it's clear it no longer works, then you re-evaluate but you have to start somewhere. The system was designed and is administered by humans, so is flawed by definition.

    On the plus side there are far far worse systems in operation the world over.
     
  6. solong

    solong New Member

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    Affirmative Action laws in the USA have made even the slightest accusation of discrimination by a white against a black person worthy of a lawsuit, but discrimination by blacks against whites is actually encouraged. I have found myself in black stores before, and was purposely ignored and finally told to leave. When I'd pull into a filling station with an empty tank and the sign said attendant only, I waited for 10 minutes. There was no other cars around, and finally realized that they were exercising their right to be a racial bigot, so I drove off.

    This only HURTS black people, here. It teaches them how to hate, and then it keeps them in that rat race, forever. Once you get the big wheel turning, it's almost impossible to extricate yourself from it. As a black friend told me one time, "We're just like a can of crawdads. When one tries to crawl out of the can, another pulls him right back down."

    I've always like that analogy.

    Discrimination exists on both sides. I don't deny it. I don't like it, either. But too many blacks around here at least seem to think it's their opportunity to take revenge, and that white people "OWE THEM" for the (seemingly) countless thousands of years in which the whites mercilously beat and tortured them and screwed their womenfolk. (Don't you know!)

    Hatred is easy to generate, and then it's even easier to keep the wheel spinning. But it takes a man to extract himself from hatred and revenge, and the "righteous mob mentality." Then it's up to that man to guide his own family out of the way of hating his neighbor, or at least get the hell out, himself. That means, many of his friends and acquaintences he will see no more.

    But he must realize one thing. At the Judgment, he is going to stand as an individual, not as a church or angry righteous person taking his revenge with hatred and disdain. Why not start now? You're only hurting yourselves, not the whites. You are destroying yourself and your family with righteous anger (which isn't righteous, but self-righteous). And you know the saying? "They who are bitten by the bug of self-righteousness, are bitten by the hardest bug of all." What you accuse others of, is what you, yourselves are guilty of and have been guilty of, for over 140 years, now.

    What some other race supposedly did to you, or is not doing to you, should not determine your own attitude toward them. And anybody who classifies people by their race is a racial bigot. Judge each man on his own merits.
     
  7. dong20

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    I can't say I have excperience such things but maybe I was just lucky.

    Legislation which seeks solely to prevent discrimination is one thing but lesgislation which attempts to do so by creating another form of it, for the best of motives has to be of questionable logic.

    But you can easily turn that around to be "They're just like a can of crawdads. When one tries to crawl out of the can, I'll kick him right back down."

    In the context of this thread about the need for legislation to protect the rights of minorities against their abuse by majorities I'd argue that that was a more appropriate analogy. Though whatever a crawdad is I have no idea..:rolleyes:

    I wondered how long before religion came into this. But we're talking about anti-discrimination legislation here, and the US constitution actively seeks to enforce the fact that the two are uneasy bedfellows.

    Now, before you accuse me of taking a narrow view remember your own comments in another thread.
     
  8. Lex

    Lex
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    Solong--
    There are archives of threads in this section where we have discussed racism, prejudice/bigotry (Not the same as racism which is prejudice + power to weild over others) and Affirmative Action. You should use the search feature if you want to read what people here have written about those topics.

    DC DEEP is coming at this from the position of sexual orientation, NOT race.

    Please don't derail the thread.
     
  9. DC_DEEP

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    :tongue: Thanks, Lex. Now, if you can accomplish that, please ask water not to be wet. The hijackers always want to go with their own agenda, without regard to the topic of the thread. Some posts by a couple of the members are just too reminiscent of our young friend from Texas, who dropped off the board during the changeover.

    I'm still amazed at how many people just take broad assumptions and word of mouth as gospel when it comes to law. Yeah, it can be boring at times to wade through all that, but for me, sometimes I just have to see it with my own eyes.
     
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