Want to add diversity by hiring veterans? Make sure policies don’t get in the way

November 20, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

This month’s celebration of Veterans Day may have sparked interest among employers to recruit and hire veterans. After all, many employers tout the diversity of thought and skills employees with military experience bring to the workforce. Too often, though, policies and a lack of understanding throw up barriers to bringing veterans on board.  young man with split careers businessman and soldier

State licensing and certification requirements often are responsible for the barriers veterans face, but help may be on the way on those fronts. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released a toolkit to help states knock down hurdles presented by state licensure and third-party certification systems. A DOL blog post explains that the kit includes best practices, tips, and resources to accelerate initiatives from the various states to address gaps in veterans’ licensing and certification.

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Are coworkers out to get paranoid employee?

by J. Steven Massoni

Mental impairments are some of the most challenging disabilities to accommodate. Read on to learn about how one company managed a difficult situation with an employee who suffers from a mental health disorder and how your company should respond in similar circumstances.  Agoraohobia

Imagine this

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EEOC announces new strategic enforcement priorities

by Leslie E. Silverman

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) broke new ground in late 2012 with the release of its first Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) publicly identifying its top enforcement priorities. Since that time, the EEOC’s enforcement and litigation program has largely focused on the priority areas laid out in the SEP:  Book of Compliance

  1. Eliminating barriers for recruiting and hiring;
  2. Protecting vulnerable workers;
  3. Addressing select emerging and developing issues;
  4. Ensuring equal pay protections;
  5. Preserving access to the legal system; and
  6. Preventing systemic harassment.

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DOJ and EEOC release ‘Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement’ report

by Sean D. Lee

On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a joint report aimed at helping law enforcement agencies across the country recruit, hire, and retain diverse workforces.  Police presence at Trump rally

The comprehensive report, “Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement,” presents the findings of a joint research initiative by the DOJ and the EEOC launched in December 2015 to understand the barriers that undermine diversity in law enforcement and highlight “promising practices” to increase diversity. The report arrives amid an intensifying national conversation about race and policing, although it stresses that diversity also includes characteristics like sex, sexual orientation, religion, language ability, and life experience.

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EEOC Richmond office, Mexican Consulate tackle national origin bias

by Jayna Genti

As part of its multiyear Strategic Enforcement Plan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made protecting immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable workers a national priority. Because it has found that “many of these workers are unable or afraid to assert their rights under federal law,” the EEOC has instituted outreach and education, particularly among Hispanic workers, with the goal of making them aware of their rights in the U.S. workforce, regardless of their work authorization status. EEOC-jpg

The most recent outreach efforts of the EEOC occurred last month when the EEOC’s Richmond Local Office and the Consulate of Mexico in Washington, D.C., pledged to work together to tackle discrimination in the workplace and its unique impact on Mexican nationals. Mexican Consul General Juan Carlos Mendoza Sánchez and Reuben Daniels, Jr., director of the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish an ongoing collaborative relationship between the EEOC and the Mexican Consulate.

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Onionheads everywhere rejoice as NY federal court protects their ‘religion’ under Title VII

by Brent E. Siler

The title of this article isn’t a typo or a joke. It’s a literal statement of holding in a recent federal case before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which found that an employer’s conflict-resolution program, which its creator dubbed “Onionhead” or “Harnessing Happiness,” was in fact a religion under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Despite the outrageous-sounding nature of the case, it serves as a reminder that the bar for what constitutes a religion under Title VII is low, and employers that try to force religious belief systems on their employees face real legal risks.  Prayer Group

Sincerity of beliefs is the key

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Don’t let appearance policy trigger religious discrimination claims

October 16, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Achieving a diverse workforce is a highly touted goal among employers. It’s a goal that drives recruiting as well as efforts to build company culture. But the details – the various policies and rules employers may adopt without considering riskscan be easy to overlook. One area not to be forgotten: dress codes and other appearance policies that sometimes pose religious discrimination risks. Busy Arabian businesspeople in the factory

Most employers wouldn’t intentionally adopt policies targeting certain religious groups, but seemingly neutral policies can still pose a threat. For example, can an employer legally prohibit beards, tattoos, head coverings, the wearing of religious symbols, etc.? Usama Kahf, an attorney in the Irvine, California, office of the Fisher Phillips law firm, took on that question in a recent Business and Legal Resources webinar titled “Preventing Appearance-Based Discrimination: Legal Guidelines for Protecting Religious and Cultural Groups.”

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How do ‘bathroom bills’ affect employers in other states?

The digital natives are restless

Fair Chance Business Pledge offers new way to evaluate applicants with criminal records

by Kaitlin L.H. Robidoux

The White House is urging businesses to take the Fair Chance Business Pledge and commit to providing individuals with criminal records “a fair chance to participate in the American economy.” The idea behind the initiative is that individuals with a criminal history have trouble finding employment, and many communities are hurt because of the lack of gainfully employed residents and good role models. Because nearly one in three adults—almost 70 million Americans—has a criminal record, a large number of people and communities are affected when individuals with a criminal history cannot find employment.  Young man in handcuffs

More than 100 organizations have taken the pledge, including American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, the Hershey Company, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Koch Industries, PepsiCo, Prudential, and Starbucks, to name just a few. So if your company is interested in taking the pledge, what considerations should you think through?

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