Monday, June 22, 2009

White is right

Wage gap linked to customer bias

Researchers have helped solve the mystery of why white men continue to earn 25 percent more than equally well-performing women and minorities. Managers and business owners must pay a premium for white male employees because customers prefer them, says David Hekman, assistant professor in the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

The study will be published in the Academy of Management Journal. "Customers, from students buying textbooks to patients in an examining room, are consistently biased in favor of white men," says Hekman. "Because customer satisfaction is critical for organizational survival, business owners and managers will hire white men when possible and will pay lower salaries to the women and minorities they do hire."

Hekman and colleagues at four other North American business schools showed customers a video featuring either a black male, a white female, or a white male actor playing the role of an employee helping a customer. Those viewing the white male not only reported being 19 percent more satisfied with the employee's performance, but also they were more satisfied with the store's cleanliness and appearance. This despite the fact that employees demonstrated the same scripted behaviors and the store background, camera angles and lighting were identical.

These findings were also borne out through more than 10,000 medical patients' ratings of their doctors. Patients who received e-mail from their doctor were more satisfied with their doctor's competence and approachability, but only if the doctor was a white man.

The findings also reveal some potentially devastating, unintended consequences of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12 and S. 182), introduced in 2009 to narrow the wage gap and now awaiting action by the U.S. Senate. "Because customers prefer white men employees, even when women and minorities perform equally well, there is a real danger that increasing women's wages so that they are equal to those of white men may cause managers to hire fewer women," Hekman explains.

The researchers say the act could be more effective if it also addressed ways to reduce the linkage between biased customer opinions and employee pay because more than 60 percent of employees have at least some of their pay directly linked to customer satisfaction survey results.

Hekman and colleagues offered straightforward policy suggestions in the Academy of Management Journal. Among them: make sure customer satisfaction surveys target specific employee behaviors. For example, don't ask customers if they would recommend a physician; ask them how many times the doctor asked a patient if she had additional questions or understood key medical terms.

No more anonymous customer feedback surveys, either, urge the researchers. These can significantly affect the pay scale in many industries. "Make sure customers are identifiable and therefore at least somewhat accountable when they provide ratings," says Hekman. "People may do all sorts of bad things when they are anonymous - just check out the reader postings on any blog."


Church of England to confront BBC over treatment of Christianity

The BBC faces a clash with the Church of England over claims that its new head of religious broadcasting has given preferential treatment to minority faiths

Concerns over the appointment of Aaqil Ahmed, who was poached by the corporation from Channel 4 last month, will be raised in a Church document to be published tomorrow. It calls his move to the BBC a "worrying" development and accuses the corporation of treating religion like "a freak show".

Senior bishops have signalled their backing for the paper, which is set to trigger a debate at the General Synod, the Church's parliament, over the alleged marginalisation of religious broadcasting.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, met with Mark Thompson, the BBC's director-general, in March to challenge him about the issue. Now a motion prepared for the Synod calls on the corporation to explain the decline in its coverage of religion and its failure to provide enough programming during key Christian festivals.

The document accompanying the motion, published ahead of next month's General Synod in York, criticises the lack of regular religious programmes on BBC television and alleges that Mr Ahmed, a Muslim, displayed anti-Christian bias while in charge of commissioning at Channel 4. "The regular BBC Television coverage of religion consists of just two programmes." the Church paper says. "BBC 3 tackles religion rarely but does so from the angle of the freak show, and many of the Channel 4 programmes concerned with Christianity, in contrast to those featuring other faiths, seem to be of a sensationalist or unduly critical nature. "From this point of view it is worrying that the Channel 4 religion and multicultural commissioning editor, Aaqil Ahmed, who is a Muslim, is soon to be responsible for all the religious output from the BBC."

Last summer, Channel 4 screened a week of special programmes on Islam including a feature-length documentary on the Koran, and a series of interviews with Muslims around the world talking about their beliefs.

The main Christian documentary broadcast for Easter that year, called The Secrets of the 12 Disciples, cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Pope's leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

Nigel Holmes, a General Synod member and former BBC producer, who has tabled the motion and who wrote the paper, said that the Church needed to tackle the issue at a time when the future of religious broadcasting was under threat. "There is an element of uncertainty at the BBC with all of the changes there, and the appointment of Aaqil Ahmed gives rise to an element of concern," he said. "He has been involved with programmes that have tended to look at the fringes of Christianity where it can be brought into disrepute. "Religion is higher on the political agenda than ever before and we are crying out for programmes that give a moral view." Mr Holmes attacked the BBC for the lack of religious television programmes at Easter, but said that ITV has also failed to give enough coverage.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, has signalled he would support the motion. He told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Ahmed is "duty bound to provide adequate time and fair representation to the Christian faith and to Christian concerns".

The Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, has previously accused the BBC of "overlooking" Good Friday. "Many people want an appropriate marker of religious significance, whether it is life and death or Easter and Christmas," he said.

While the BBC's total output of television hours has doubled over the past 20 years, the amount of religious coverage has fallen by nearly 15 per cent, from 177 hours in 1988 to 155 in 2008. Critics of the corporation are upset that respected programmes such as Everyman and Heart of the Matter have not been replaced. They argue that well-produced and promoted programmes can attract a large audience. The Passion, which received a big budget and prime-time slot, attracted more than five million viewers when it was broadcast last year...

The Rev Jonathan Alderton-Ford, vicar of Christ Church, Bury St Edmunds, and a General Synod member, said that he would support the motion. "It gives voice to the concerns many of us have about the drift of the BBC over the last decade," said Mr Alderton-Ford, who has advised the Church on media issues. "The BBC's bias permeates its programme-making, so that the Christians get criticised while the minority faiths escape the same treatment. It's necessary that we debate this."

A spokesman for the BBC said that Mr Ahmed was the best-qualified candidate for the role and rejected claims that religious affairs has been covered in a "sensationalist manner". She added: "The BBC's commitment to religion and ethics broadcasting is unequivocal. As the majority faith of the UK, Christians are and will remain a central audience for the BBC's religious and ethics television and other output."


British registrar demoted to receptionist because she refused to "marry" homosexuals

A Christian registrar was demoted to receptionist because she refuses to preside over gay ‘marriages’ – and last night claimed she is facing dismissal. The case parallels that of 48-year-old Lillian Ladele, the registrar who won a similar battle last year against Miss Davies’s employers – Islington Council in North London. Miss Davies has worked for the council for 18 years and was a friend and colleague of Miss Ladele in the same department.

She will send a strongly worded letter to all members of the House of Lords tomorrow, highlighting her plight and complaining of a ‘militant political-sexual libertarian lobby’ at the council. Miss Davies told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Britain is supposed to be a nation that respects freedom of conscience. But my conscience is not being respected. If Islington Council believes in dignity for all, why can’t my beliefs be accommodated and why is my dignity not being respected? ‘I have nothing against homosexuals. My colleagues in the office will tell you that – and the openly gay ones have no problem with me. All I am asking is that the system can be arranged so I do not have to perform civil partnerships.’

At one point Miss Davies, who is not married, rose to deputy superintendent registrar – third in the hierarchy in the 16-strong department – although she then chose to return to the role of deputy registrar. After the introduction of civil partnerships in December 2005 she told her bosses her beliefs would preclude her from performing same-sex ceremonies. While her position was being discussed, she felt under so much pressure that in June 2006 she took four months’ sick leave with stress.

On her return she says she was told that she would have to be demoted to an entry-level job on reception or face dismissal. Believing that she had no choice, she accepted and worked as a receptionist for the next two years, despite finding it humiliating. She said: ‘I was shocked because I knew that if they had wanted to they could have accommodated me. ‘I know of other councils that have allowed Christian registrars to carry on by ensuring that colleagues are given civil partnerships – but I was told this was not Islington’s policy. ‘I was very disappointed, very saddened and angry. It was humiliating to be back on reception, where I had started.’

When Miss Ladele won her employment tribunal case against Islington in July last year, Miss Davies was moved on to the general rota, though she had few marriages to conduct. She was even put back on to the full marriage rota – but in December Islington Council won an appeal against Miss Ladele, upholding its right to insist that staff carry out civil partnerships. Miss Ladele is now taking her case to the Court of Appeal.

In January this year Miss Davies failed to conduct a civil partnership ceremony for which she was rostered – it was carried out by colleague instead – and a staff member complained. In March, John Lynch, the head of her department, told her to perform civil partnerships or she would be removed from the marriage rota. Last week, she was told she was being demoted to a reception job for a second time as part of a ‘restructuring’.

With the backing of the Christian Legal Centre, Miss Davies is now launching a grievance procedure against the council, arguing that she has been the victim of discrimination on the grounds of her religious beliefs. She said: ‘Doctors can opt out of performing abortions on conscience grounds so why can’t I opt out of civil partnerships?’

When the Government introduced new laws to criminalise the stirring up of hatred against gays and lesbians last year, Lord Waddington forced through an amendment to safeguard people’s rights to make reasonable comments about homosexuals. But the Government is now trying to remove this amendment. In her letter to peers, Miss Davies urges them to block the Government’s attempt to do so.

An Islington Council spokesman said: ‘Following detailed discussions with Miss Davies, a year ago she accepted another job in the same team that did not require her to conduct civil partnerships or marriages. ‘Miss Davies made no formal response to a recent consultation on a restructure in the registrars’ department, and we have no reason to think she was unhappy with her role. ‘Islington council expects employees to provide services to all sections of the community.’


Florida Security Council sues Marriott Corporation over Wilders Free Speech Summit

Tom Trento, executive director of the Florida Security Council (FSC) and Rebecca Bynum, New English Review (NER) editor were interviewed by 1330AMWEBY "Your Turn" host Mike Bates and Jerry Gordon, contributing editor of the NER on the eve of the FSC filing its suit against Marriott Corporation for breach of contract.

The suit arose as a result of the Marriott Delray Beach operators, Island Properties, Ltd. ejecting the Free Speech Summit in late April that FSC organized honoring Dutch politician and anti-Islamist advocate, Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV (Freedom Party). As we noted in a post this week, the FSC Marriott matter was preceded by an attack against Florida House Majority Leader Rep. Adam Hasner by CAIR and United Voices for America founder, former Tampa CAIR chapter leader, Ahmed Bedier, a one time spokesperson for convicted terror financier, former USF Professor Sami al-Arian. They had the chutzpah to request that Florida Governor Charles Crist 'fire' Hasner because of his association with Wilders, the Free Speech Summit and the March 10th rebuttal to Muslim Day at the State Capitol in Tallahassee.

The FSC ejection is analogous to one that the New English Review experienced in late May in Nashville, when the Loews Vanderbilt hotel general manager, Thomas Negri gave notice that it was cancelling a long term contract for the symposium, "Understanding Jihad in Israel, Europe and America", in part because of a video featuring Wilders remarks extended to attendees. The alleged reason for the Nashvile NER symposium event cancellation by Negri, was to protect the 'health and safety of its employees and guests". This breach by Loews is being reviewed for possible action by the New English Review and its parent board, the World Encounter Institute, a 501 c3 tax exempt organization.

This report, "Counterterrorism Group Sues Marriott Over Wilders Event,"provides background on the FSC suit against Marriott and its implications vis a vis the similar breach by Loews for the NER Nashville symposium.
The cancellation of the event came as a complete surprise to security council Director Tom Trento, who stated, "The fact that the Marriott sent me an e-mail at 7 p.m. on a Friday night canceling our well-planned event made it very plain to me that something was up. I suspected there was more here than a breach of contract."

The lawsuit that the security council filed against Ocean Properties Ltd., owner and operator of the Delray Beach Marriott, contends there may have been external circumstances involving unnamed groups and individuals that pressured the Marriott into canceling the contract.

"We think there may be some evidence pointing that way," Trento said Wednesday at a news conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., where the lawsuit was filed. “We’re not playing games here, and this breach of contract suit is going to enable us to use the full force of the law, and the full force of our capability to use our investigating assets to look into whether or not the Marriott unilaterally, within and of themselves, breached our contract, and if they did, for what reasons."

Just a few weeks after the scheduled event in South Florida, which was moved to nearby Boca Raton, Wilders' participation in another free speech summit and conference on Islam at a Loews hotel in Nashville, Tenn., in May, also was canceled, raising the Florida Security Council's concerns that something was amiss.

Negri refused to say what prompted his concerns, except to refer to the Web site of the New English Review, the group organizing the conference, which features articles that warn about radical Islam.

Negri wrote to the organizers, saying that the hotel had “not received any information related to a specific security threat concerning this event,” and declined to provide any justification for canceling it at the last minute.

"Currently, we have no evidence that CAIR or anyone pressured the Marriott into cancelling the Florida Security Council's Free Speech Summit," Trento said. "That is a possible theory in light of the facts."

Security council attorney Peter Feaman said, "This is a very clear-cut case of corporate breach. It’s hard to find a breach as overtly outrageous."

Conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman, a prime organizer of the April free speech summit in South Florida, addressed the news conference Wednesday by saying, "Any efforts by any outside groups, Muslim or not, to suppress our right to free speech will not go unanswered. We simply will not allow anyone to repress our First Amendment rights, regardless of who they may be."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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