News & Commentary

April 24, 2015

Lynne C. Hermie, the attorney who successfully represented the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers against a sex discrimination claim, will now represent Twitter in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a female employee, the Wall Street Journal reports. Twitter employee Tina Huang argues that the company has a secretive process that favors male employees for promotions.

A new report from the Center for Talent Innovation, a non-profit group, finds that black women face additional barriers that prevent them from attaining high-level positions, according to the New York Times. The report finds that more black women desire prestigious positions than white women and are more confident that they will succeed in these jobs. Tai Green, one of the authors of the report, states that black women often have “a deeply rooted understanding of what it means to not have a voice,” which may inspire them to look for jobs where their voices will be heard. The report also finds that workplace programs inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” are not useful for women who already know they want to lead. Instead black female employees might benefit more from access to senior mentors who can advocate for promotions and raises on their behalf, yet only 11% of black women have a mentor relationship with a senior colleague.

The New York Times reports that applications for unemployment benefits rose for the third straight week. However, the claims overall remain below 300,000, which suggests a strengthening labor market. 

Lydia DePillis, writing in the Washington Post, asks what would happen if Wal-Mart raised its minimum wage to $70,000 per year. The CEO of Gravity Payments, a small Seattle-based company made headlines last week when he raised his staff’s salary to $70,000 by decreasing his own salary to the same level. DePillis questions whether a company like Wal-Mart with the size of its workforce and low wages could follow the same model. Raising the hourly wage to $15, however, is within the realm of possibility. DePillis concludes, “so while a small tech company might be able to redistribute its income equitably to workers, in the real world, the companies with the most workers to benefit are actually the least well-equipped to do so.”

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.