Stephanie Larios ’13: Julian Fellow in Civil Rights
Since I missed last week’s blog, I will just combine the two weeks here! On July 24th I had the opportunity to go with Stefanie who was conducting interviews at a local trucking company as part of her investigation. We interviewed about 6 people in regards to a man who felt his employment had been terminated on the basis of his race. In order to remain consistent and to make any variations in answers evident, each person was asked the same set of questions and each person, overall, provided the same answers. Coming out of the interviews, it appeared that the man was terminated due to a poor attitude, consistently behaving as though he knew everything, often instigating altercations between older members who had been working as truckers for years. All of the individuals that were interviewed agreed that the complainant was a good worker, but just had a very bossy, intolerable attitude. However, interviews are not enough to close a case.
In addition to the interviews, Stefanie also received a very large stack of papers from the company that provided her with information on terminations, resignations, and complaints from or about these former employees over the last two years. It was my responsibility to transfer all of this data into an excel file where Stefanie could note any discrepancies. Upon my own analysis, there were a few differences in treatment. However, as the company did not provide any information regarding the employees’ race, I was unable to make any conclusions of discrimination. We will just have to wait and see what Stefanie finds out when she requests for this information.
Last week, Janet presented me with a case where the complainant felt she was being discriminated against based on her sex, resulting in her receiving fewer overtime hours as well as fewer opportunities for overtime hours than her male counterparts. Seeing as there were only two female employees with this company, it was a bit difficult to feel confident about comparing the mean hours between the men and women. Even so, I spent the majority of last week crunching numbers, seeing if there were any patterns that suggested that the women were averaging a number of overtime hours that was less than the men. This was a bit difficult as there was just so much data! It was daunting and really overwhelming! Even so, I could not identify any clear patterns. At times the women received more hours, other instances less, and sometimes the same amount. In ways, I somewhat felt like I let this woman down as there was only a limited number of things I could do with the data. There is a chance that this woman’s claim was valid, but given the information provided, I just could not find any support which is a bit frustrating. However, the investigators seem to be accustomed to such situations and the need for close analysis. For many of the cases that are presented to the CRCRC, the discrimination is so discrete that it can be easily overlooked.
On a more social aspect of my fellowship here in Cedar Rapids, I was able to catch a glimpse of RAGBRAI. The concert and “resting grounds” for the ride took place a block away from the CRCRC and was easily viewed from my 9th floor window. Thinking about it now, I should have just stayed here in the office, propped open a window, and listened to the concert for free. RAGBRAI also went through Mount Vernon which was neat but also slightly annoying. With my apartment being where it is, hundreds of bikes were surrounding my apartment, with riders lounging about. It took me 10 minutes to walk through downtown to get my caffeine fix! I took some pictures and I would love to share them, but I am having a really hard time posting them! I will hopefully be able to put them up by next week.