Tech giants exploring gender gap within their ranks

January 18, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

What gives? The number of women graduating from college each year passed the number of men marking the same achievement years ago, but women remain underrepresented in the college majors sought by technology employers. That surely accounts for part of the gender gap afflicting tech employers, but corporate culture also is often seen as a culprit.

While it’s still largely a man’s world at the big tech companies in Silicon Valley and beyond, those employers are at least becoming self-conscious about the gender gap in their ranks. Last summer, tech leaders including Yahoo, Facebook, and Google joined the list of tech companies releasing figures showing how they lack diversity.  Gender gap

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Better with age: legal issues with the aging American workforce

by Allison B. Wannop

It is undeniable that the American workforce is getting older or, shall we say, more mature. In The Aging U.S. Workforce, the Stanford Center on Longevity estimates that by 2020, workers 55 and older will make up a quarter of the U.S. labor force, up from 13% in 2000. As the Baby Boomer generation hits retirement age, employers face a host of legal issues. Some landmines are rather obvious. For example, employers cannot terminate an employee simply because of her age.

Other issues are more nuanced. What if an employee is performing poorly because of age-related reasons? Can an employer terminate an older employee whose benefits are expensive? This article provides guidance on some of the issues employers with an aging workforce face.  Age Discrimination is Bad

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New HHS website provides tips for accommodating lactating employees

by Kate DeForest

A lesser-known provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers that are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide a private area for mothers to nurse or express breast milk during the workday. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making the requirement known with a new website from the Office of Women’s Health. The website includes resources for employers that seek to comply with the ACA.

ACA requirements

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Sundown to sundown: when employers must accommodate Sabbath-observing employees

by Gregory L. Silverman

Religious accommodations in the workplace can be challenging for employees and employers to navigate. In our increasingly diverse and religiously pluralistic society, an employee’s religious practices may conflict with practices in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual with respect to the terms of employment because of his or her religion. So when an employee’s weekly observance of the Sabbath prevents him or her from working on a certain day, what is an employer to do? It depends.   Keep the Sabbath Holy

Proving religious discrimination

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Grocer need not accommodate F-bomb in aisle 7

by Kelly Smith-Haley

Most employers know they have to make reasonable accommodations for an otherwise qualified employee with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But you may not know that the task of determining what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation doesn’t fall solely on you. A recent court decision reminds employers and employees that when it comes to reasonable accommodations, the recipe for success includes both parties’ input on what accommodations are appropriate.   F Bomb

Paper or plastic?

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Guidance for HR when racial tension spreads from streets to workplace

December 14, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As protests rage around the country following recent grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York not to indict police officers involved in the deaths of two unarmed black men, employers may find tension spilling into the workplace.

In November, a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb. Witnesses claim the 18-year-old unarmed Brown was trying to surrender when the officer shot him, but the officer claimed Brown was the aggressor.Workplace Argument

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Alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and the workplace―navigating legal risks

December 14, 2014 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Holly K. Jones

Q We administer a voluntary leave program through which workers can donate paid leave to their colleagues to obtain necessary medical treatment. Recently an employee asked to use the program to seek substance abuse treatment for alcoholism. This isn’t the type of treatment we had in mind when we established the program. Are we required to allow this?

Q We have an employee in a high-risk, safety-sensitive position who recently admitted to extreme alcohol abuse. We are now concerned that he, his colleagues, and our company are at risk because we can’t depend on his work. We’d like to discharge him, but we’re unsure of the legal risks.  Alcoholic

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What does the immigration executive action mean for employers?

by Christine D. Mehfoud

Whether the president’s recent series of immigration-related executive actions will survive potential legal challenges and congressional action remains to be seen. For now, set aside your political views (while I love a good political debate, this space is for practical business implications), and let’s focus on how the executive actions will affect employers.  Immigration reform

What does the executive action include?

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Return-to-work woes: EEOC challenges medical release requests under ADA, GINA

by Geoffrey D. Rieder

In a lawsuit filed in September, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges that a Minnesota-based power company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by requiring an employee returning from medical leave to execute overbroad medical release forms for a fitness-for-duty medical examination. In EEOC v. Cummins Power Generation, currently pending in the federal district court in Minnesota, the agency asserts that the employer violated both the ADA and GINA when it attempted to obtain certification that the employee was medically qualified to return to work from medical leave. The EEOC’s aggressive approach in this case suggests that employers may be well-advised to review policies and practices governing employees’ return to work following medical leaves of absence.  PrivateMedicalInformation

Background

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EEOC brings first lawsuits alleging transgender discrimination

by Arielle B. Sepulveda

On September 25, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed two lawsuits, the first actions by the agency in which it has alleged that discharging an employee because she is transgender constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex and therefore violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In light of the increasing societal and judicial recognition of LGBT rights, employers must be aware of the potential workplace issues faced by employees who don’t conform to traditional gender norms.  Transgender

Background

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