Putting tests to the test: Exploring personality assessments and discrimination

November 16, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A quest to find and hire the best applicants prompts many employers to look for ways to quickly eliminate all but the most promising candidates. When online job postings unleash a flood of applications, many employers turn to software that includes personality testing as a way to reduce the amount of valuable time needed to pore over resumes.  Personlaity Tests

A recent report in The Wall Street Journal exploring whether personality tests discriminate against applicants with disabilities is garnering a lot of attention. And in the face of lawsuits and an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), some employers are changing their tests or rejecting them altogether.

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Sign of the times: Jill Abramson, the New York Times, and pay equity

by Mark I. Schickman

The New York Times is the second largest newspaper in America, with about two million papers sold each day. It’s also the liberal beacon of American journalism, with solid-gold progressive credentials. Still, it took the paper 160 years to hire Jill Abramson as its first female executive editor in 2011.  Pay Inequality

In May, Abramson made the surprise announcement that she was leaving that post. Neither she nor the Times expanded on that announcement, except to say that she would be replaced by Dean Baquet, the first African American to take the position. Applying the usual termination formula, neither employer nor employee would discuss the matter, hoping the issue would pass with little comment. You would think the New York Times would be able to manage the news. Not so.

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California at epicenter of rise in disability access cases against small businesses

by Matthew A. Goodin

In addition to allowing disabled employees to sue their employers for discriminating or refusing to provide reasonable accommodations, both federal and California law allow disabled persons to sue businesses and places of public accommodation for failing to comply with a myriad of accessibility requirements, such as having wheelchair ramps or the proper number of handicapped parking spaces. While the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows only for the recovery of attorneys’ fees and not damages, California’s law allows plaintiffs to recover a minimum of $4,000 in damages in addition to attorneys’ fees. It’s no wonder that more than 40 percent of all disability access cases filed in the United States are filed in California.  Disabled Access

Federal, CA law set access requirements

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Marriage equality comes to Arizona (and 16 other states in 2014)

by Dinita James

On October 17, 2014, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne issued a directive to the state’s 15 county clerks that they could begin immediately issuing licenses for same-sex marriages. With that letter, Arizona became the 30th state to permit same-sex marriage and recognize same-sex marriages celebrated in other states and countries.  Horne’s action came near the end of a dramatic two weeks that saw the number of states recognizing same-sex marriage rise from 19 to 32 by the end of the day on October 17, when Alaska and Wyoming also joined the parade (the number climbed to 33 on November 12 when a judge ordered South Carolina officials to stop enforcing a ban on same-sex marriage). With 17 states making same-sex marriage legal in 2014 and appeals in progress in 7 of the remaining 17 states with same-sex marriage bans, a closer look at the Arizona shift can be instructive for many employers.  Same-sex marriage Arizona

Waving the white flag

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Measuring the impact of your diversity and inclusion investments

October 19, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Diversity, inclusion, metrics. In the world of human resources, those are buzzwords to be taken seriously. But to truly make a contribution to an organization, HR needs to analyze the meaning of each one. Mary L. Martinez, director of diversity and inclusion practice at APTMetrics, Inc., advises organizations on how to benefit from diversity and inclusion efforts through assessment, engagement, and measurement. On November 18, she will be leading a Business & Legal Resources webinar titled “Maturing Your Diversity & Inclusion Metrics: Measure What Matters.”  Metrics

Employers have found that having a diverse group of employees where various races, cultures, ages, and genders are represented and feel included can lead to a productive, cooperative workplace. And devising the right metrics helps organizations achieve goals.

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What employers need to know about immigration reform

by Christine D. Mehfoud

Turn on the news. Open the paper. Click on cnn.com. For months, if not years, immigration has been one of the top stories. Specifically, immigration reform: Will immigration reform happen? When will it happen? And what will it look like if it does happen?

As the 2014 midterm elections draw closer, the immigration reform debate will certainly intensify. And now the White House is joining the conversation, with President Barack Obama threatening to take matters into his own hands. Regardless of their political affiliation or position on immigration reform, employers need to understand what immigration reform means for their day-to-day operations.  Immigration Reform

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Employee flatulence is no laughing matter

by Mark M. Schorr

Q Have you ever dealt with an extreme case of employee flatulence disrupting the workplace and causing coworkers to get sick and vomit? We have a situation right now in which a disabled employee is on a mix of medications that causes extreme flatulence. There have been numerous employee complaints, and more than one coworker has become very ill. There is no way to restructure the work assignments or job duties, as all of our employees in the area must work in close proximity on a packaging line.  flatulence

We have had some constructive meetings with the employee, but he just doesn’t understand the seriousness of the situation, and his treating physicians indicate there is no other medication mix that can accommodate his medical issues without this unfortunate side effect and no reasonably affordable medication to reduce the extreme flatulence. Just wondering if you have any advice for us in dealing with this issue.

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Policies designed to protect employees may do more harm than good

by Jeremy M. Brenner

The law prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants based on a number of protected statuses. Employers often implement policies that are intended to benefit workers but actually cause illegal systemic discrimination. Unfortunately, no matter how genuine an employer’s good intentions are, they typically do not excuse it from discriminatory conduct. Read on to learn some of the pitfalls employers face when implementing seemingly neutralor even beneficialworkplace policies. Employer Policies and Procedures

Facts

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Study shows need to address unintended consequences of diversity efforts

September 14, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 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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