Thursday, June 17, 2010

Discrimination in hiring?

The following is from Ceridian's newsletter.

Wackenhut To Pay $290,000 To 446 African-American Job Applicants To Settle Hiring Discrimination Claims

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has announced that The Wackenhut Corp., doing business as G4S Wackenhut, has entered into a consent decree to settle findings of hiring discrimination at its Aurora, Colo., facility. The consent decree settles OFCCP's allegations that Wackenhut engaged in hiring discrimination against 446 rejected African-American applicants for the position of traditional security officer for a two-year period. Wackenhut is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

"The department is committed to ensuring that federal contractors and subcontractors hire, promote and compensate their employees fairly, without respect to their race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion or veteran status," said Patricia A. Shiu, director of OFCCP, who is based in Washington, D.C. "This settlement of $290,000 in back pay on behalf of 446 African-Americans should put all federal contractors on notice that the Labor Department is serious about eliminating systemic discrimination."

OFCCP investigators found that the company engaged in hiring discrimination against African-Americans from Jan. 1, 2002, through Dec. 31, 2003. Under the terms of the consent decree and order, filed with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Administrative Law Judges, Wackenhut will pay a total of $290,000 in back pay and interest to the 446 rejected African-American applicants and will hire 41 of the applicants into traditional security officer positions. The company also agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law and will immediately correct any discriminatory practice. In addition, Wackenhut will ensure compliance with Executive Order 11246 recordkeeping requirements.

"We strongly encourage other employers to take proactive steps to come into compliance with the law to prevent workplace discrimination," said Melissa Speer, OFCCP acting director of OFCCP's Southwest and Rocky Mountain Regions, who is located in Dallas.

OFCCP, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 that prohibit employment discrimination by federal contractors. The agency monitors federal contractors to ensure that they provide equal employment opportunities without regard to race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NYC Concert Cancelled

Free NYC concert canceled after crowd gets unruly
By Associated Press | Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Boston Hearald

NEW YORK — A free concert by pop band Hanson and up-and-coming Canadian rapper Drake was canceled Tuesday after twice as many people as anticipated showed up and many became unruly, police said.

The show started at about 6 p.m. with an opening act at Pier 17 on Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, a popular summer locale for concerts. Hanson, the Tulsa, Okla., brothers behind the 1997 hit "Mmmbop," and headliner Drake, whose album "Thank Me Later" debuted Tuesday, were to appear on stage soon after.

Organizers were anticipating about 10,0000 people but nearly 20,000 showed up, police said. Many people climbed roofs and started throwing bottles, as concertgoers smashed together toward the stage, police said.

Witness Tamika Johnson told the Daily News newspaper: "People in the front started leaving because they were getting crushed."

The concert organizers asked the New York Police Department for help dispersing the crowds around 7 p.m., police spokesman Paul Browne said. Two people were arrested on minor charges; six suffered minor injuries, police said.

The concert was part of the "Sounds Like Paper" series presented by Paper magazine, an independent magazine focusing on arts, culture and music. The magazine apologized on its website: "Wow, the crowd was much larger than we anticipated, and unfortunately the show was canceled. But we will make it up to you guys!"

The magazine posted several updates on Twitter during the night: "It’s a total madhouse -- in a good way" and "get off the roof!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fan conduct impacting high school officials

The New York Times-
Unruly Sports Fans Sending Some Officials to the Sideline
Published: June 4, 2010

Carl Wilkinson stopped officiating high school football games in Eugene, Ore., about five years ago — after irate spectators chased him and the rest of the crew from the field to the locker room, then pounded on the door demanding that they open it.

Enlarge This Image

Ryan Gardner for The New York Times
Carl Wilkinson gave up his whistle five years ago after fans at a high school football game chased him and his crew to a locker room after a game.
“It was just getting horrible,” he said of the fans’ behavior.

Bill Srna recently decided to hang up his whistle after about 30 years as a referee at high school basketball games in Salina, Kan. He said he had grown weary of the hysteria over every backcourt violation and charging call.

“It gets old night after night,” he said, adding that he prefers the relative calm of his full-time job as a firefighter.

Looking for part-time employment in a field in which hundreds of onlookers can raise a ruckus over one’s honest mistake or no mistake at all? There are plenty of openings.

Around the country, it has become harder to find youth sports officials and to keep experienced ones on the job. The situation has forced some games to be postponed and others to be played with short-handed crews. In some places, it is not unusual for football referees to work two games on long and exhausting Friday nights. Spot shortages are also common in soccer and volleyball.

“Are we desperately short? No,” said Jack Folliard, the executive director of the Oregon Athletic Officials Association. “But we are struggling to get enough officials.”

The cause of the problem is not a mystery to those in striped shirts, who are growing weary over abuse from agitated fans, most of them adults.

“I have officials specifically tell me that’s why they’re not renewing their licenses anymore,” said Fran Martin, the assistant executive director of the Kansas High School Athletic Association. “They’re tired of putting up with the behavior.”

The same concerns keep potential recruits from considering the job, said Henry Zaborniak, the assistant commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He says he speaks with young athletes about becoming officials someday, and they ask a standard question: Why would I want to take that abuse for $35?

Despite surprisingly long hours and modest pay — about $40 for a junior high basketball game in Oregon — officiating has a lot to offer, youth sports officials say.

“It’s like a friend once told me,” Srna said. “ ‘I love the game of basketball, but I ran out of eligibility. This is the way I can stay in it.’ ”

Two years ago, the Ohio association asked officials to name the worst part of their jobs. Poor fan behavior was the No. 1 answer. In another poll, the National Association of Sports Officials asked high school administrators in every state to choose the biggest reason officials do not reregister from a list of 14. The most frequent answers were poor sportsmanship among spectators, and poor sportsmanship among coaches and players.

To complicate matters, disputed calls that inflame parents and other adult spectators now live forever in cyberspace. Type “controversial call” and “high school” into YouTube’s search engine, and it returns dozens of videos. (One titled “Ref Ruins Finale to a Great State Championship Game” had about 38,000 views.)

“It isn’t like 30 years ago when the game was over, it was over,” Zaborniak said.

How the numbers of officials nationally have been affected is hard to measure. A sampling of state high school associations suggests the count has been relatively unchanged the past few years.

“When the economy tanks, our numbers go up,” said Mary Struckhoff, the assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations. “When times are good again, the same people ask, ‘Why the heck would I do that?’ ”

Officials in basketball and soccer need the thickest skin. Folliard, who referees high school basketball in Oregon, recalled leaving the court after a close game when he heard someone call out, “Hey, ref.” As he looked up, a fan doused him with a full cup of soda.

At an Ohio high school soccer game last fall, Kathleen Dolan issued a red card to a player for taunting. That call stirred one parent to deliver to her door a DVD of the YouTube video showing the disputed play and a letter explaining that she had misinterpreted the situation.

“All I can say is I found it excessive and intrusive,” said Dolan, who is also the president of the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Officials Association.

Many state associations offer classes to help officials deal with unruly fans. The best defense, though, may be a witty retort.

Wilkinson, who is still an umpire for girls’ softball, explained how he handled one hotheaded fan. He removed his mask and calmly said: “Sir, I’m going to try very hard to allow you to stay at this game. I want you to try very hard to stay here too.”

Wilkinson added, “I didn’t hear another word out of him after that.”

Mark Hyman is the author of “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession With Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids.”

This is not a new story, but has been an issue for years and even though some legislatures have developed laws making it a felony to attack a sport official, there are more incidents than ever. One of the reasons for so much pressure is the massive potential scholarships or revenue that can generated by top athletes. Parents see sport participation as their ticket to wealth or saving a lot of money on college. That is why they are pushing their kids, coaches, and refs to help their kids out. Unfortunately the reality is that most kids are not talented enough to go pro or if they receive a scholarship- it is often much less than parents had paid to cover the cost of travel teams. Thus, parents off go overboard, without reason, due to greed. It is amazing what people do for money or the hope of money.

World Cup training fiasco

The Hearald Online
Stadium security shock

Gareth Wilson

WITH just days to kick-off, security arrangements for the Nelson Mandela Bay World Cup stadium were thrown into disarray when the designated security company was axed and replaced by police student constables.
The move has been described as a “disaster” and a waste of police resources.
Mystery surrounds the move, with no one prepared to accept responsibility for the ousting of Nationwide Security from the stadium. Police moved to take control of the facility on Tuesday night, while Nationwide guards remained in their posts.
The axing of Nationwide comes after a security meeting between the World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) and police officials from head office on Tuesday.
High-placed Fifa sources described the ousting of Nationwide as a “disaster” that will leave stadium security in a “complete shambles”. The move means security plans implemented over the past few months have had to be scrapped and new ones drafted.
“For the past four months all 1800 guards had undergone stringent training to deal with possible scenarios and now they all stand a very strong possibility of being retrenched,” the source said.
The security-cleared and Fifa-accredited guards will be replaced with more than 1000 student constables who have not yet completed their training. “These members have not spent a day in the field and are going to be sent on a two-day crash course and placed at the stadium,” the source said.
“Even more worrying is that only a few of these cadets have undergone the necessary security clearance to work at the stadium which automatically increases the risk of something going wrong.”
Police refused to comment.
In the secretive meeting, a police general allegedly told a Fifa-appointed security committee that the police did not have to answer to the committee and could deploy whoever they felt was necessary at the stadium.
“They could not give a reason as to why they want Nationwide out,” the source said.
“Effectively, more than 1000 trained security guards will lose their jobs and I would imagine this is not going to sit well with them.”
Possible industrial action from the security guards is thought to be in the pipeline once they are told officially to vacate their posts.
“You can imagine how upset these guys are going to be,” the source said. “They have been screened, registered and trained only to be told days before the launch they will very likely loose their jobs.”
Police officers at the stadium have also raised concerns, saying that they are “not car guards”. “We are guarding gates, equipment and cars which is not what the police are here to do,” an upset officer said.
Police moved to take control of the stadium on Tuesday evening. “About 50 officers were told to meet at the stadium and do foot patrols outside until further instructed,” said an officer who did not want to be named.
The Herald team saw five separate groups of policemen patrolling around the stadium on Tuesday evening. Security guards were, however, still seen at all the entrances and exits of the stadium – as per their mandate.
By 11am yesterday all the security personnel were sitting on the outskirts of the stadium while police took over all the entrances and exits.
A police officer said the order had been given for the police to take over complete control over the stadium.
“The security guards were relieved of their duties while police were dispatched to all entrances.”
A confrontation erupted between police and security guards after police moved into the stadium, with guards forced to sit and watch them work.
“Security guards were very upset when we took over and some of them became very arrogant and aggressive with the officers,” a police official said.
“The problem was sorted out and the guards calmed down but one can understand why they are angry as no one has told them what is happening yet.”
By late last night they were still posted at the stadium together with police as no official notice had yet been given.
Nationwide managing director Bill Mouton said he was not able to comment on the issue. “In accordance with Fifa regulations we are not obligated to talk to the media,” he said.
LOC spokesman Rich Mkhondo was also tight-lipped and said security at or around the stadium was an issue of government and various security agencies. “Security is a national project and dealt with by the government and security agencies,” he said. “I have no further comment on this.”
Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Miranda Mills said the police had been mandated to secure the World Cup event with the assistance of security companies appointed by the LOC and local authorities.
“It seems as if there is a challenge around the appointment of the security company and the police have been alerted to this,” she said.
“We however have a contingency plan and are currently putting all the necessary mechanisms into place to execute this plan at very short notice.”
Mills stressed that there should be no concerns about security as the police had the resources to secure the event.

Foul Ball Injury

A 3-year-old girl will have surgery after her skull was fractured by a foul ball line drive hit during batting practice at Dodger Stadium on Monday. The accident happened right near third base and knocked the girl unconscious.

Noise Makers...making their way into stadiums

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN.
SEC cowbell rule stays, still unenforceable
By Ron Higgins
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Posted June 3, 2010 at midnight

DESTIN, Fla. -- Scott Stricklin, welcome to your first Southeastern Conference business meetings as Mississippi State's athletic director.

Your first order of business is to defend the honor of one of the Bulldogs' most sacred traditions, the unalienable right to ring a cowbell at deafening levels during athletic events.

State proposed that the SEC remove its rule, established in 1974, that prohibits the use of artificial noisemakers at sporting events. But both the league athletic directors and football coaches rejected the proposal Wednesday, and Alabama athletic director Mal Moore indicated that there may be an amendment to the rule that will be discussed by the school presidents over the next two days.

The conference never really has enforced the policy, basically because they don't know how to enforce it. The last step might be to levy fines, something that isn't in the SEC rule book for such a violation.

"This has been an issue for 36 years, and I don't think anyone has any satisfaction where we currently are," said Stricklin, a 1992 Mississippi State graduate who has been in his new job less than a month. "I think our people take it very seriously and every time it comes up as a topic, they take it more seriously.

"Everyone besides us feels like the rule is not being enforced. We feel we're doing what is reasonable. I'd love to find a place where people think we're managing it well, and we can hold on to that tradition."

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who said he doesn't own a cowbell, said he doesn't understand the uproar.

"There's a lot of other issues in the world of college athletics I'd like to see changed, so I don't know if that's the most important issue at these meetings," Mullen said. "It was a rule that was made a while back, and part of that rule is keeping alcohol out of stadiums. I'd be more concerned about alcohol coming into stadiums than someone ringing a bell."

Like fans at other schools who devise ways to sneak liquor into football games, Mississippi State fans do the same with cowbells so they won't be confiscated heading into stadiums, especially at home games.

And once inside, when there's thousands of cowbells clanging, how can security start removing fans and cowbells?

"How can you enforce it?" SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. "Let me say, the rule was put in place before I got here (as commissioner)."

Stricklin agreed that State's Davis-Wade Stadium grew louder last season when first-year coach Dan Mullen guided the Bulldogs to a 5-7 record.

"I'm not sure the stadium got louder because of the cowbells," Stricklin said. "It got louder because we led the nation in increased attendance, averaging 10,000 more people than the year before. And a lot of it was the energy and excitement over what Dan is doing."

Stricklin and former MSU athletic director Larry Templeton said coaches voted 11-1 on Wednesday to not remove the ban on artificial noisemakers. But many of the coaches agreed that the rule seems unenforceable.

Even an NCAA rule several years ago in which a team could be penalized for its crowd disrupting play with artificial noisemakers was taken out of the rule book.

"I didn't even notice the cowbells when we played there," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "All stadiums in this league are loud. I notice bands playing more during timeouts more than anything else."

LSU coach Les Miles said there's not a clear definition of an artificial noisemaker, except when it comes to cowbells.

"It's not artificial if it's in the middle of a pasture," Miles said.

This article highlights how difficult it is to find and monitor contraband, even when there are policies and procedures against bringing in and using the contraband- in this case artificial noise makers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Taser fall out

While there was fall-out from the tasering of a young Philies fan, little has been said about the other events that occurred shortly thereafter. Paul Steinbach in an article in Athletic Business highlighted that shortly thereafter a fan ran onto the the field during a Chicago White Sox game (who was subdues by six security guards), and the following week an intoxicated patron at the Player's Championship golf tournament was heckling players and fans alike and after repeated warnings was tasered. The question I guess is still how far must someone go to deserve being tasered? My perspective is that if someone does not head lawful orders and could put themselves and others at risk, then using a taser might be a very valid approach.

World Cup problems

A stampede at a stadium hosting an exhibition game before the start of the world cup resulted in 15 people being injured and one police officer being injured. The stadium can seat around 12,000 fans, and free tickets were given out in front of the stadium. Due to the lack of control in terms of the potential number of people who might want tickets for the Nigerian team playing helped create a more hostile environment where there were two surges on the gates. This facility and ticketing process will not be used during the World Cup.