Archive for April, 2017

Employers can pay women less based on previous salaries, US court rules

SourceEmployers can pay women less based on previous salaries, US court rules


A ruling from a traditionally left-leaning federal appeals court allows employers to pay women less than men for the same job, as long as a man was paid more at his previous job and the employer’s policies justify using past salaries to determine pay.

On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Aileen Rizo, a female employee who sued the county public schools in Fresno after discovering she was being paid less than her male co-workers for doing the same job.

Rizo sued the school in 2014, arguing that although she was being paid a higher salary than her previous employer, her male counterparts had salaries more than $10,000 higher than hers.

According to the lawsuit, the school “conceded that it paid the female plaintiff less than comparable male employees for the same work.” Rizo complained to the County about the disparity, but they informed her that her salary was determined by a salary schedule known as “Standard Operation Procedure 1440.

When Rizo was hired as a math consultant in 2009, the school determined her starting salary by using a policy where they add 5 percent to the previous salary of any new employee.

The county argued that the pay bump incentivizes potential employees to leave their previous jobs since they are guaranteed to receive a raise. They also said the policy is objective, prevents favoritism and encourages consistency.

A three-judge panel overturned a lower court ruling from February, citing a 1982 ruling by the court that employers could use previous salary information as long as they applied it reasonably and had a business policy that justified it.

In the opinion written by US District Court Judge Lynn Adelman, he said that “prior salary alone can be a ‘factor other than sex’ if the defendant shows that its use of prior salary was reasonable and effectuated a business policy.

This decision is a step in the wrong direction if we’re trying to really ensure that women have work opportunities of equal pay,” Deborah Rhode, who teaches gender equity law at Stanford Law School, said, according to the Associated Press. “You can’t allow prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones or you perpetuate the discrimination.

Read More:

Student loan service under investigation for bias – fed watchdog

Student loan service under investigation for bias – fed watchdog

A federal watchdog is investing whether student-loan servicing companies engaged in discrimination against borrowers with outstanding debt based on their race, sex or gender, denying them affordable plans.

“We’re looking at disparities in outcomes… and we believe there may be some,” Patrice Alexander Ficklin, director of the office of fair lending at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said on a call with reporters Friday, according to the Washington Post.

Ficklin said they had identified a student loan company servicing an area with “substantial risk of credit discrimination” but did not disclose how they reached that conclusion or disclose the name of the servicing company.

CFPB has jurisdiction over the largest servicing companies, including Navient, Great Lakes and American Education Services.

Last month, the CFPB reported a 429 percent increase in student loan complaints about providers from December through February compared with the previous year.

Consumers say lenders process payments incorrectly, make it harder for them to enroll in more affordable payment plans, and fail to act when borrowers complain.

The CFPB is already suing Navient – which services 12 million student loan borrowers and over $300 billion in federal and private student loans – for cheating borrowers by making them pay more for their loans than was necessary.

In the suit filed January 19, the CFPB claimed the company steered borrowers into payment options that made borrowers pay more for their loans and made the loan service more money.

Read More:

Today In History

Original Black Panther shot dead

Bobby Hutton shot deadBobby Hutton, an orginial member of the Black Panther party was was shot dead by Oakland police at the age of 17.


Little Bobby Hutton was the first to join the newly formed Black Panther Party for Self Defense. He was only 16 years old when he joined but already believed in the ideals that Seale and Newton had outlined in the Ten-Point Program; he was dedicated to serving his community.

On April 6, 1968, Oakland police ambushed a carload of BPP members on a side street. An hour and a half shootout ensued, resulting in the death of BPP member Bobby Hutton and the arrest of all others present on the scene. Bobby Hutton was shot more than twelve times after he had already surrendered and stripped down to his underwear to prove he was not armed. The murder of Bobby Hutton was a major event in the party’s history: it incensed them and inevitably made them stronger.  Source PBS

If your searching for a good read on the Panther, check out:

The Prison Factory

 I stumbled across this documentary on Al Jazeera.  It is definitely worth checking out.  Click in link below in the description to open the player to view the documentary.


Description Al Jazeera:

The US state of Alabama has the fifth highest incarceration rate in the world. Its prison system has become so dangerously overcrowded that in 2016, for the first time, the US Justice Department launched a federal civil rights investigation into the entire state’s prison conditions.

Meanwhile, prisoners have been taking matters into their own hands. In September 2016, inmates at Holman Prison went on strike to protest against what they call cruel and unusual forms of punishment – including labour, for little to no pay. Inmates used smuggled cellphones to spread the word about the strike, which took hold in about two dozen states.

How did a group of prisoners calling themselves the Free Alabama Movement organise the single largest prison strike in US history? Fault Lines’ Josh Rushing travelled to Alabama to find out more about them – discovering two of the group’s leaders are now in solitary confinement. Despite their isolation, through letters and videos they are still finding ways to get their message to the world.

Source: Al Jazeera