EEOC: NYC Systematically Discriminates Against Minority Women

by Levine and Blit on November 19, 2015

A finding by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in response to a 2013 complaint on behalf of more than 1,000 current and former city workers by Local 1180 of the Communication Workers of America has found that New York City has spent the past decades discriminating against entry-level black and Hispanic female employees.  The federal commission ruled the city must pay $246 million in back wages, according to a recent . The city, which was given an opportunity to respond to the discrimination claims, has kept silent on the issue. Accordingly, the EEOC determined the silence as an admission of the allegations in the charge. According to the union, the minimum salary for the lowest level of administrative managers (held mostly by female minorities) had been frozen for years and offered little promotion opportunities. On the other hand, the city’s higher-level administrative managers (mostly Caucasian men) have seen substantial raises during the same time. There is still time for city officials to respond to the allegations and present evidence to the commission that may lower or eliminate the recommended penalty.

 EEOC NYC: Why the Wage Gap with the Female Minority?

A comprehensive study regarding women in the corporate workplace conducted by LeanIn.Org in collaboration with McKinsey & Co. was conducted in an effort to foster gender equality and encourage female leadership. Almost 30,000 employees from 118 companies participated in the survey; results were compared to a similar yet smaller study conducted in 2012. Despite some progress over the past few years, the report revealed improvement is still far from reach.

Females are underrepresented at every level: despite modest improvements over the years, the gender disparity remains from entry level professionals where 45 percent of workers are females, through C-Suite positions where women workers plunge to 17 percent.

Women are less likely to advance than men: if female advancement were keeping pace with that of male workers, the share of women employees would be comparable at all levels; in reality, however, the expected representation of women is 15 percent lower than their male counterparts.

Minority women want to advance: Black, Hispanic and Asian women are more interested in being promoted than white employees of both genders.

Perception of a skewed workplace: women are four times more likely than their male counterparts to think there are less opportunities for advancement because of gender and twice as likely to think gender is an obstacle for future advancement.

Diversity not a widespread priority: although 70 percent of companies report gender diversity is a top CEO priority, less than half of the workers have the same perception; likewise, while a majority of male workers reported gender diversity to be important, only 12 percent perceived women having fewer opportunities; men were also less likely to than their female counterparts to think their organization should do more to level the playing field.

New York’s Wage Gap

 Across the nation the median annual salary for women averages 78 percent of that of men, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics. That translates to a 22 percent earning gap. This pay gap is even larger for minority women and mothers. More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1953, the pay gap still remains. In New York specifically, median earnings for males were $51,414, compared to those of women at $44,114. In other words, New York women earn 86 cents for every dollar a male New Yorker makes. A national study found the New York wage gap to be:

  • Persistent regardless of industry: women are consistently paid less than men. For every male dollar earned a female earns 71 cents in healthcare and social services, 75 cents in manufacturing, 78 cents in retail, and 87 cents in education.
  • Present within occupations: the study looked at sales, production, management, office and administrative support positions and found a wage gap. For every dollar a man earns, a woman earns less in sales occupations (62 cents), production (66 cents), management (80 cents), as well as office and administrative support (87 cents).
  • Occurring regardless of education level: a higher education, in and of itself, will not close the wage gap. Women with master’s degrees earn 72 cents for every dollar a male earns with the same credentials. Women with doctoral degrees earn less than males with master’s degrees, and women with master’s degrees earn less than men with bachelor’s degrees;

It is predicted that the wage disparity is unlikely to disappear within most women’s lifetime – if change continues at its current pace the gap is not expected to close until 2059.

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