Study shows need to address unintended consequences of diversity efforts

September 14, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

For years now, employers have focused on the benefits of workplace diversity. They can point to studies showing how work groups in which men and women of all ages, races and ethnicities often outperform less diverse groups.  AA affects perception of women and minorities

Sometimes the quest for diversity stems from a desire to capitalize on the talents of all kinds of employees. Other times it’s a legal compliance issue, since government contractors are required by law to devise affirmative action plans aimed at increasing the representation of women and minorities.

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Clarity amidst confusion: handling mental disability claims

by Allison B. Wannop

One of the most difficult issues employers deal with is how to accommodate an employee with a mental impairment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Mental impairments can include depression, anxiety disorders, and psychiatric disorders that affect employees’ attendance and performance. Employers may have a difficult time distinguishing mental impairments from other common employee behaviors. For example, an employee may frequently miss work because he suffers from depression. Balancing the needs of the business and the needs of disabled employees while staying within the ADA’s often confusing framework can be challenging.  Disability Signs

Evolving legal standard

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Revisiting gender identity discrimination

by Lauren Moak Russell

We have addressed the issue of gender identity discrimination several times. As transgender individuals enter the mainstream of popular culture and employees become more comfortable disclosing their gender identity, employers can expect to see this issue arise with increasing frequency. The following is some guidance on how to stay out of trouble.  Transgender Bathroom

General employment advice

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Secretary of labor speaks at major federal contractor conference

by Emily L. Bristol

To focus on the importance of the federal contractor community’s role in President Barack Obama’s commitment to enacting change with the “power of the pen,” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez spoke in early August at the 2014 National Industry Liaison Group’s (NILG) national meeting in Washington, D.C. This was the first time a sitting secretary of labor spoke to the NILG. Secretary Perez emphasized the importance of federal contractors making inclusion and opportunity a part of the “DNA” of companies in the American workforce. 

Highlighting an issue with opportunity gaps in the labor force, Perez told federal contractors that having a culturally competent and linguistically diverse workforce is important and that inclusion is how we can succeed in the economy. Because of their affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations under regulations imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), federal contractors must make inclusion and opportunity a part of their business, and they are at what Perez called the forefront of the “orchestra of opportunity.”

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Active duty military employees are on leave, not inactive

by Jane Pfeifle

An employer’s failure to include a deployed servicemember on a list of employees when it sold its assets may be a violation of the benefit provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)MilitaryLeave

Facts

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How friendly is your workplace to working moms?

August 17, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The story of how parents juggle work and family is a familiar tale. Parents strive to be attentive to their children’s needs while getting to work on time, focusing on productivity, and staying late at least occasionally. They do all that while working out child care and making school and children’s activities mesh with work schedules. Making it all work can be tough, but it’s harder in some states than others, according to a study from personal finance website WalletHub, which recently looked at the best and worst states for working mothers. The study focused on mothers because data shows the existence of gender inequality in the workplace in areas such as pay and upward mobility.  Working Mothers

“While women now comprise roughly half of the American workforce, they make about two-thirds as much as men and have far less upward mobility, as evidenced by the fact that less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies have female chief executives,” WalletHub said in a statement on the study results. The organization looked at a variety of metrics across the country and ranked the states on daycare quality rankings, child-care costs, access to pediatric services, public school quality, gender pay gap, the ratio of female executives to male executives, parental leave policies, the length of the average woman’s workday, and average commute time.

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The good, the bad, and the ‘feo’ of the American workplace’s Latinization

by Glianny Fagundo

The American workplace is becoming more diverse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculated that 14.8 percent of the U.S. labor force was Hispanic in 2010. That number is expected to jump to 18.6 percent by 2020which translates to roughly one in five workers. While many see such diversification as a positive development (and it is in many ways), it doesn’t automatically lead to a utopian, racially integrated environment.  DiverseWorkforce

This article discusses some of the positive contributions Hispanics can make to workplaces, ways in which you can maximize and reward productivity, and considerations you must give to ethnic and color tensions that may exist among employees who share the “Hispanic” ethnic designation.

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EEOC issues updated enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination

by Kevin McCormick

On July 14, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its “Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues.” This is the first comprehensive update the EEOC has provided on the subject since 1983. The guidance supersedes the earlier EEOC publication and incorporates significant developments in the law during the past 30 years.  Pregnant Employee

In addition to addressing the requirements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the guidance discusses the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008 to individuals who have pregnancy-related disabilities. Much of the analysis in the new guidance is an update of long-standing EEOC policies that set out the fundamental PDA requirements that an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions and that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons similar in their ability or inability to work.

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Top 10 tips for dealing with substance abuse in the workplace

by Michelle Lee Flores

There is clear agreement that substance abusewhether it’s alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugsadversely affects employers and their businesses. Some estimate the loss of productivity for U.S. employers has been as much as $200 billion annually! General concerns for safety at work, injuries on the job, theft, loss of employee morale, and costs related to absenteeism, recruiting, training, turnover, and healthcare utilization illustrate why substance abuse in the workplace is problematic. Below are some tips for dealing with substance abuse in the workplace.  WorkAlcoholic

10 important do’s and don’ts
1. Don’t be the ostrich. Many employers don’t want to deal with substance abuse in the workplace, so they ignore it, thinking it won’t happen to them or a policy isn’t needed. Don’t be that employer. Indeed, chronic abusers seek out employers that don’t have substance abuse policies for their workplace. Many employers also tend to ignore or enable the substance abusing employee in his behavior. If there are suspicions of abuse, rely on your workplace policy and your employee assistance program (EAP).

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‘Sex-plus’ discrimination claims are still viable

by Rachel E. Burke

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue of whether a “sex- plus” claim of discrimination, in which a former employee claimed that she was discriminated against specifically for being an African-American female, can be made under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case is significant not only for its reinforcement of the notion that the various traits protected by Title VII necessarily coexist and shouldn’t always be considered separate from each other but also for its emphasis on the importance of e-mail evidence in discrimination cases.  StopRaceDiscrimination

Facts

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