EQUITY NOW SPEAKER SERIES
The University of Connecticut School of Business is proud to present the EQUITY NOW Speaker Series, featuring expert insights on how law and policy can promote diversity, equity, and fairness in organizations and society. The EQUITY NOW Speaker Series is produced by the University of Connecticut School of Business in coordination with the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, Virginia Tech Pamplin School of Business, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and Temple University Fox School of Business. Each of the four new speakers to be featured during the 2021-22 academic year are esteemed business lawyers focused on legal and policy issues regarding race, identity, sexual orientation, disability and gender equality in modern organizations.
For more information about the series, please contact Robert Bird, Professor of Business Law and Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics, at email@example.com.
To learn more about diversity initiatives at the UConn School of Business, visit diversity.business.uconn.edu.
Biden’s Push for Racial Equity in a Colorblind World
October 12, 2021
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Goldburn Maynard, Jr.
Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University (Bloomington)
There was a major racial policy shift by White House leadership on January 20, 2021. Out were executive orders which banned diversity training and established a 1776 Commission. On his first day in office the new President, Joseph R. Biden, issued an executive order to advance racial equity in communities through the federal government. As part of these efforts, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 directed the Department of Agriculture to implement a loan forgiveness program for farmers who had been harmed by decades of systemic discrimination. Justice advocates applauded the move, but their hopes were quickly dashed when federal courts put a stop to the program. Despite the intent of the legislative and executive branches, courts have signaled that any race conscious efforts to remedy past injustices are on shaky ground. Can racial equity be achieved with these limitations in place?
Goldburn P. Maynard Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, where he teaches classes in business ethics. He previously served as an Associate Professor of Law (untenured) at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. Professor Maynard’s research focuses on issues of wealth distribution and inequality, tax policy, and America’s aging population. His most recent essay, Black Queers in Everyday Life, was recently published by the Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and also received an LL.M. in Taxation from Northwestern University School of Law.
#MeToo and Beyond: Sexual Harassment and the Future of American Workplace Culture
November 8, 2021
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Murray Shusterman Research Fellow, Fox School of Business, Temple University
In 1986, the Supreme Court defined sexual harassment in a case called Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, which involved allegations of coerced sexual intercourse. Beginning in 2017, the #MeToo Movement again focused attention on the role sexual harassment plays in the workplace and society more generally with a flood of allegations against figures in media, government, Hollywood, and corporate America. Now, almost five years later, we can begin to reflect on the ways in which this movement altered or left intact workplace norms and the role of the law in making progress or hindering it. Professor Eisenstadt will review the legal history and theory of sexual harassment, explore the implications of the #MeToo Movement, discuss recent efforts to use technology to detect and prevent harassment, and provide recommendations for business leaders to create healthy workplace cultures.
Leora Eisenstadt is associate professor of legal studies and the Murray Shusterman Research Fellow at the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Leora is the academic director of the newly founded Center for Ethics, Diversity, and Workplace Culture (CEDWC) at the Fox School. Leora’s areas of scholarship and interest include race and sex discrimination, employment law, sexual harassment, retaliation, and whistleblowing. Her publications have appeared in the Georgia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, American Business Law Journal, the Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law, and other outlets. Leora received her LLM from Temple University, her JD, cum laude from New York University School of Law, and her BA, cum laude from Yale University.
Digitizing Voter Disenfranchisement
February 21, 2022
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Associate Dean for Non-JD Programs, and Professor of Law and International Affairs at Penn State Law and School of International Affairs, at the Pennsylvania State University
Over the past decade, many digitized methods have been used to remove voters from voter rolls. Litigants claim that these digitized tools result in a disproportionate impact based on race, ethnicity, national origin socioeconomic class and more. Focusing on Georgia’s database-matching protocols, the presenter will discuss how this represents a national trend that permits the digitization of voter disenfranchisement. This threat to voting rights requires a better understanding about the purging practices related to voter registration and other contemporary forms of voter suppression. This threat to voting rights requires both a recognition of an analysis that interrogates the underlying technological methods used to conduct digitized voter purges and other contemporary forms of voter suppression.
Margaret Hu is the Associate Dean for Non-JD Programs, and Professor of Law and International Affairs at Penn State Law and School of International Affairs, at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include the intersection of immigration policy, national security, cybersurveillance, and civil rights. Previously, she served as senior policy advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and also served as special policy counsel for immigration-related discrimination in Civil Rights Division, U. S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C. Margaret received her BA from the University of Kansas and her JD from Duke Law School.
The Femtech Paradox: How Workplace Monitoring Threatens Women’s Equity
April 4, 2022
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Associate Professor of Law and Taxation, Bentley University
Monitoring of heart rate, fingerprints, DNA and other forms of biometric monitoring are more common than ever in employer wellness programs. Biometric monitoring can provide useful information, but will women suffer disproportionality from the collection and use of data? State and federal laws, as well as courts, have only begun to address the implications of biometric monitoring at work. This presentation will show how computer-based algorithms are already subject to biased assumptions about women in the workplace. The expansion of “femtech,’’ software that focuses on women’s health, in particular creates a gender-imbalanced data source that may feed into existing workplace biases against women, unless more effective safeguards are put in place. Women in particular are at a significant risk of losing reasonable expectations of privacy at work, due to gender biases in data collection, interpretation and use. The presentation will highlight how companies should rethink how they collect and analyze women’s health data, and what everyone can do to protect themselves from unwarranted employer intrusions.
Liz Brown is a tenured professor of business law at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, her award-winning research explores the intersections of employment law, technology and equity. She designs and leads innovative courses on the roles of law in gender equity, sustainability and global problem solving. She is the President of the Employment Law section of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business. Before joining the Bentley faculty, she represented Fortune 100 companies as a litigator for over a decade, working in London, San Francisco and Boston. She is a former partner in an international law firm and the former executive director of an angel investor network focused on female entrepreneurs.
Gender, Bias, and Technology in the 21st Century Workplace
March 30, 2021
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Connie D. and Ken McDaniel WomenLead Chair Associate Professor of Law and Analytics, Georgia State University
The #MeToo movement has focused new attention on the enduring problems of workplace sexual harassment and sex discrimination. At the same time, companies’ experiments with computational tools to aid in hiring, evaluation, and promotion have threatened to amplify the effects of systemic sexism, racism, and other forms of employment discrimination. Professor Alexander will explore the themes of gender, bias, and technology in today’s workplace. She will highlight ways that employers can use computational tools to identify and avoid bias, rather than merely replicating past discrimination, and build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.
Charlotte S. Alexander holds the Connie D. McDaniel WomenLead Chair as an Associate Professor of Law and Analytics at the Colleges of Business and Law at Georgia State University. She uses computational methods to study legal text, working toward a legal system that embraces data to solve intractable problems and create a more just society. Alexander has published in journals including Science, the N.Y.U. Law Review, Texas Law Review, the American Business Law Journal, and the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She received her B.A. from Columbia University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
The Legal Environment for Workers with Disabilities: Before During and After COVID-19
February 16, 2021
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Marianne DelPo Kulow
Gregory H Adamian Professor of Law, Bentley University
COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the workplace, perhaps most so for those with disabilities. This talk will highlight some of the most important opportunities, challenges and legal issues facing workers with disabilities, with particular emphasis on how a post-COVID environment may radically alter how people with disabilities interact with and succeed in organizations.
Professor Kulow currently serves as Gregory H. Adamian Professor of Law at Bentley University. She has published on various aspects of U.S. disability law, such as impacts of assistive technology, disconnects between education and workplace disability laws, the burgeoning use of emotional support dogs, and pedagogical techniques for teaching disability law. Kulow’s current research includes the impact of Covid-19 on the voting and workplace rights of Americans with disabilities. Kulow holds a J.D. from Boston University, an M.A. from the University of Liverpool, and a B.A. from Harvard University.
The Promise and Peril of LGBTQ Rights in the Wake of Bostock v. Clayton County
November 16, 2020
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Associate Professor & Director of the Legal Studies Certificate Program, University of Georgia
The Supreme Court decision of Bostock v. Clayton County is a landmark ruling that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Professor Reed will review the Bostock case, explore its implications, and provide recommendations for business leaders to promote an LGBTQ-friendly workplace for the future.
Alex Reed is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Director of the Legal Studies Certificate Program at the University of Georgia. His research focuses primarily on employment discrimination, and his scholarship has appeared in the American Business Law Journal, Harvard Journal on Legislation, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, among other places.
Law, Race, and Organizations: 2020 and Beyond
October 26, 2020
6:00 p.m. (ET)
Associate Professor of Employment Law & Legal Studies, University of Georgia
The deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others by the hands of law enforcement have highlighted the numerous deleterious effects that discrimination on the basis of race have on North American life. Professor Bennett-Alexander will examine powerful social forces tired to race, highlight the current legal environment related to race, and show how individuals, managers, and executives can foster a culture free from racial bias and bring that culture forward into the broader society.
Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander, tenured associate professor of Employment Law & Legal Studies at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. Dr. Bennett-Alexander publishes extensively in the Employment Law area with particular emphasis on race, gender and sexual orientation issues. She has received over 50 awards and recognitions for teaching and service, including the 2019 Minority Services and Programs Honored Trailblazer recognition, the 2017 award for UGA’s best Diversity & Inclusion program, and the 2016 Women’s Studies Professor of the Year.