One of my earliest law school memories did not occur inside the lecture halls, but instead was a passing meeting in the hallway. I recall noticing a classmate’s turban, beard, and dark complexion, and thinking, “terrorist.” Soon thereafter, when Amardeep Singh and I became good friends, I learned he was a Sikh (and definitely not a terrorist). My initial reaction to seeing Amar for the first time embarrasses me to this day.
When I heard the news on Sunday about the tragedy in Wisconsin, I immediately thought of my old friend, who, after law school, co-founded the Sikh Coalition and currently serves as its National Director of Programs. Earlier this week, The Guardian ran a poignant piece written by Amar, entitled The post 9/11 prejudice that menaces American Sikhs. This is part of what he said:
Fed a steady diet of Bin Laden and Taliban images, most Americans simply associate the turban, which Sikh men wear as an expression of faith, with terrorism. Turban equals terrorist in the minds of too many.
In part, Sikh Americans are collateral damage of a modern climate that rarely has time for explanations of our culture, our heritage, and our beliefs. This enduring legacy of 9/11 continues to stubbornly attach itself to our community. Not only do many people not know of the peaceful beliefs of our faith, but they wrongly associate us with acts of unspeakable terrorism….
We all deserve to live in a society where no one need fear violent attack—whether at a temple, mosque, synagogue or church—simply because of our ethnic and religious identity.
As a society (especially one that calls itself a melting pot), we should not need an excuse to confront our own biases and prejudices. This awful catastrophe reminds us that we should view people as people, and not as colors, religions, or stereotypes.
Here’s the rest of what I read this week:
- Facebooking about "naked Twister" may doom one's sexual harassment claims — from Eric Meyer’s The Employer Handbook Blog
- Some Employers Health Plans Deny Pregnancy Coverage For Dependents — from TLNT
- Three New High-Visibility Lawsuits—Seven Types of Alleged Discrimination — from Employment Discrimination Report
- Construction worker too “manly” to win same‑sex harassment claim — from EmployerLINC
- “Court Revives Discrimination Lawsuit against … the EEOC” — from Walter Olson’s Overlawyered
- When the EEOC Goes Too Far--Part II — from Molly DiBianca’s Delaware Employment Law Blog
- Can I Be Fired for Being Gay? — from Jessica Miller-Merrell’s Blogging4Jobs
- Getting ADA accommodations right from the very beginning — from HR Cafe
- Chick Fil-A and the Trickle Down Effect — from Tim Eavenson’s Current Employment
- The EEOC Came Knocking (Part One): What Should I Do? — from Suzanne Boy’s Southwest Florida HR Law & Solutions
Social Media & Workplace Technology
- Will the Chick-fil-A YouTube firing pass legal muster? — from Robin Shea’s Employment and Labor Insider
- Facebook says 'Likes' fall under free speech, supports sheriff fired over political controversy — from The Verge
- Chris Rock: Social Media Disasters Only Matter If Your Fans Care — from Kashmir Hill’s The Not-So Private Parts
- Facebook And Twitter Subpoenas, Privacy And The Law — from From the Sidebar
HR & Employee Relations
- HR’s Same-Sex Marriage Policy — from Tim Sackett at Fistful of Talent
- “Ascent of the A-Word” — from Bob Sutton
- I don’t talk about my sex life at work — from Mike VanDervort’s The Human Race Horses
- Forced to resign: What are your options? — from Evil HR Lady, Suzanne Lucas
- Mergers & Acquisitions: Don't Forget About Employee Compliance with Nondisclosure Agreements — from Jason Shinn’s Michigan Employment Law Advisor
Wage & Hour
- It Will Cost Me How Much? A Story of Misclassification and Improper Deductions — from Mike Haberman’s Omega HR Solutions
- Third Circuit Defines “Joint Employment” Under FLSA — from Phil Miles’s Lawffice Space
- What Is the Minimum Value of Work? — from Jim Brennan at Compensation Cafe
- Fourth Circuit: CEO's Administrative Assistant Properly Classified As An Exempt Administrative Employee — from Wage and Hour Law Update
- Litigation Over Unpaid Internships Under the FLSA Heats Up — from Workplace Prof Blog
- Employers Violating Overtime Laws On The Rise — from Overtime Lawyer Blog
- Seventh, Third Circuits Reach Opposite Conclusions in FMLA Cases — from Joe’s HR and Benefits Blog
- Employers must be able to recognize a Weingarten request in order to avoid liability under the NLRA — from Employment Law Matters
- NLRB Decision Complicates Investigations in the Workplace — from Labor Relations Update