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Court Upholds Affirmative Action, Education Employment Down, COVID-19 Safety Violations

By Net Assets posted 11-13-2020 01:13 PM


(From Inside Higher Ed) A Boston-based US appeals court has rejected a challenge to Harvard's affirmative action policy brought by a group representing Asian Americans who claimed the school discriminated against them as it favored Black and Hispanic applicants. "Harvard has an ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policies," Judge Sandra Lynch wrote for the appellate panel, finding that the school's "limited use of race" in its admissions policy to achieve diversity is consistent with Supreme Court precedent.

The case is widely expected to go to the Supreme Court, and a ruling there could affect all of higher education. Several of the new justices have not heard a case involving affirmative action in higher education, but they are expected to be a tough sell for Harvard.

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(From American School & University) Figures from the U.S. Department of Labor indicate that education workers have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting recession. Estimates show that state and local education employment was down 8.8% in October from the previous year. That represents the lowest national jobs total at that point in the school year since 2000. The cuts were mostly driven by temporary layoffs and positions left unfilled in the new school year. Private sector jobs, by comparison, dropped 6.2% year over year. Although teachers account for a portion of the local education cuts, anecdotal evidence suggests that bus drivers, food service personnel, support staff, and other non-instructional positions bore the brunt of the initial reductions as schools shifted to distance learning.

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(From SHRM) On November 6, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that coronavirus-related violations have amounted in $2,496,768 in penalties since the pandemic began. Although the agency hasn't implemented any coronavirus-specific workplace safety standards, OSHA has cited employers for failing to take coronavirus-related actions, such as implementing a written respiratory protection program and properly recording an injury or illness. Although OSHA hasn't issued any COVID-19 standards, the agency has released guidelines for limiting workers' exposure to the coronavirus, here.

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