Archive for May, 2012

Pastor Advocates for LGBT Issues

(Source: Albany Times Union)

Rev. Nina Nichols, pastor of Christ Church United Methodist, in front of her church in Troy, N.Y., June 15, 2010. (Skip Dickstein/Times Union archive) Photo: Skip Dickstein / 2008

The Rev. Nina Nichols, pastor of Christ Church United Methodist, will be involved in the latest push to have United Methodists fully recognize lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.Love Your Neighbor Common Witness Coalition is supporting several changes to the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline to permit LGBT people to participate in the church. (more…)

Federal Agency Says Transgender People Protected

(Source: Bloomberg Burinessweek)

The agency that enforces the federal job discrimination laws has for the first time ruled that transgender people are protected from bias in the workplace.

In a groundbreaking decision late last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said a refusal to hire or otherwise discriminate on the basis of gender identity is by definition sex discrimination under federal law.

While some federal courts have reached the same conclusion in recent years, employment law experts say the EEOC decision sets a national standard of enforcement that offers employers clear guidance on the issue. (more…)

Disability-Rights Advocates Worry Politics Delays Workplace Rule

(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek)

Advocates for employees with disabilities said new guidelines on discrimination in the workplace from the U.S. Equal Employment Commission are being delayed by political opposition from business.

The agency abruptly deleted the proposal today from the agenda for a meeting, a week after business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pressed the Obama administration to block the guidelines. (more…)

Race Continues to Take its Toll in America

(Source: Times Union)

Twenty years have passed since the verdict in the Rodney King beating case, and yet the problems of police brutality and racial profiling remain with us.

On April 29, 1992, a mostly white jury found four Los Angeles Police Department officers not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and excessive force against 25-year-old Rodney King following a high-speed chase on March 3, 1991. Police struck King more than 50 times with their batons, tasered him and kicked him in the head. Unlike most such incidents, this one was captured on videotape. (more…)

Rural Montana Religious Colonies Fight Labor Law

(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek)

Religious colonies of Hutterites in rural Montana are fighting the state’s attempts to impose a labor law backed by businesses that complain they can’t outbid the low cost of the communal workers.

The Hutterites are Protestants similar to the Amish and Mennonites who live a life centered on their religion, but unlike the others, Hutterites live in German-speaking communes scattered across northern U.S. states and Canada.

They don’t pay wages, don’t vote and don’t enlist in the military. They make their own clothes, produce their own food and construct their own buildings.

“Their core belief is that they have no property. All the property and labor they have, they contribute to the colony,” Ron Nelson, an attorney for the Big Sky Colony, told the Montana Supreme Court. (more…)

Help for Entrepreneurs Who Have Disabilities

(Source: Chicago Tribune)

It is no secret that it is difficult for new small businesses to succeed.

Imagine the extra challenges faced by business owners with disabilities.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people with disabilities are almost twice as likely as the general population to be self-employed. They are also much more likely to be unemployed or underemployed. When they plan to establish a business, people with disabilities confront extra challenges, such as arranging for insurance and special furniture. They often lack the assets they need to start a business, as well as mentors and business contacts who understand the particular challenges they face. (more…)

ACLU Sues Border Patrol Over Alleged Racial Profiling In Pacific Northwest Border

(Source: Huffington Post)
Immigration Customs And Border Protection

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Border Patrol seeking to bar agents from making traffic stops, saying people are being pulled over and questioned for the way they look and without reasonable suspicion.

The lawsuit stems from tensions between immigrants and the expanded presence of Border Patrol agents on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, which shares no land border with Canada. (more…)

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