Civil Rights Analysis without Civil Rights Numbers

Change of Data Sources Yields Anomalies

By Greg Moses

A Texas agency charged with taking over Civil Rights analysis has decided to stop basing its civilian workforce report on data collected by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Instead of basing its analysis on data collected for civil rights purposes, the Division of Civil Rights at the Texas Workforce Commission in its debut report this year used less precise figures reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In the past, noted the report, the Texas Commission on Human Rights had compiled the civil rights report from data provided by the EEOC. As a result of the switch in data sources, the first table of the Texas Equal Employment Opportunity Report shows some civil rights anomalies.

For example, Caucasian Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans collectively represented 128 percent of all Texas workers; and all three categories of race-ethnicity cited were under-represented in Administration jobs. While these anomalies are common in reports from the BLS, they make a poor basis for analyzing civil rights.

Since the civil rights report is supposed to compare state agency employment figures with civilian workforce numbers, the choice of BLS data as a baseline raises further questions about the “comparison charts” presented in the report.

Chart One for instance (not Table One) presents numbers on the employment of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Females in the Statewide Civilian Workforce. Numbers used in the chart for race and ethnicity are taken from the overlapping BLS categories.

Chart One in turn is compared to employment of protected classes in state agency employment. From attachments, it appears that state agency employment is calculated according to more rigorous EEOC standards, where protected classes do not overlap.

Throughout the report, numbers are presented in such isolation that it is difficult to scan for internal consistency or disparate impact. Why does no chart present a complete spectrum of protected classes including Asian Americans or Native Americans. Why do colorful graphs of employment rates not also show comparison bars for Anglos or Males? Why are women rarely considered as various races or ethnicities? Why are discussions, analyses, and footnotes so scarce?*

In the end, the reader wants to know, what purpose is this report intended to serve beyond simply complying with some law that says a report is to be issued? Do the laws themselves not have a civil rights context that can serve as the basis for stating the purposes, findings, and recommendations of this report?

Perfunctory is the word that would most charitably describe this report. Evasive is the word I would rather use. From start to finish, the reader gets the impression that no one has really set out to present the condition of equal employment opportunity in Texas in a way that the plain language of civil rights demands.

NOTES:

The Texas Equal Employment Opportunity Report:
http://www.tchr.state.tx.us/EEOrptsum205.pdf

The BLS distribution of employment report 2003:
http://www.bls.gov/opub/gp/pdf/gp97_complete.pdf

The EEO-1 Aggregate Report for 2002:
http://eeoc.gov/stats/jobpat/2002/state/48.html
[What a Civil Rights report looks like.]

First posted 3/27. *Paragraph revised 3/29 to include “disparate impact,” Asian Americans, and Native Americans.

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