Switching gears: Shifting to reverse can rev up workplace mentoring

April 17, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Researchers report that the millennial generation now makes up the largest share of the U.S. workforce. To be sure, the baby boomer and Generation X contingents remain strong, but the sheer number of younger workers makes them a force to be reckoned with. Longtime workers may think their young colleagues have a lot to learn, but employers are finding the youngest workers also have a lot to teach.  Two Women Working At Computer In Contemporary Office

Flipped, or reverse, mentoring is one way employers can cash in on the wisdom their youngest workers bring to the workforce. Mary George Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer at Cornell University, is scheduled to present a talk called “Reverse Mentoring: Building Meaningful Intergenerational Relationships in the Workplace” at the Business and Legal Resources THRIVE 2016 Annual Conference, scheduled for May 12-13 in Las Vegas.

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Thin line between political and hate speech: What’s acceptable at work

April 17, 2016 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

by Holly K. Jones, J.D.

Picture it—it’s a Friday afternoon at the end of a very long week, and just as you are about to sneak out early for the weekend, one of your employees walks into your office wearing a camouflage trucker hat emblazoned with the words “Make America Great Again.” Oh perfect, you think to yourself, another Trump supporter. And before you can stop yourself, your (irrational and unproductive) irritation gets the best of you, and you find yourself remarking sarcastically, “Nice hat. Do you hate women, too?” The employee gives you a shocked look but leaves your office after getting an answer to an unrelated question, and as he walks away, you proudly tag Hillary Clinton in a tweet about how you stood up for women’s equality.  Dont Fight

A week later, you have to give the same employee a written warning for being late for the third time in the past two weeks, but when you ask him to sign the warning, he angrily accuses you of discriminating against him because he is a Republican and a Caucasian man. And he then files a complaint against you with HR.

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How far will DOJ extend ADA’s Title II and Title III requirements?

by Monna Lea Bryant, Robert Sniffen, and Jeff Slanker

Retailers and businesses may soon need to begin preparing for a new public accommodations issue related to an altogether different kind of access barrier: websites. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is developing a plan to amend Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to require websites to become accessible to disabled users. The DOJ is concerned about the accessibility of websites operated by public entities, such as state and local governments, which are subject to Title II of the ADA, as well as those run by private-sector businesses actively involved in e-commerce, which may or may not be covered by Title III of the ADA. 

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Beyond maternity leave: employers’ duties to returning mothers

by Michelle Dougherty

With the recent emphasis on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)  regarding employers’ affirmative duties to pregnant employees, it is important for employers to remember that they also have obligations when employees return to work after childbirth. Specifically, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers have certain obligations to nursing mothers.  BreastMilk

What’s required of employers?

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Muslim teacher may proceed with national origin harassment claim

by Emily Hobbs-Wright

A Turkish-born Muslim teacher claimed that her school had a culture of racial and ethnic hostility. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions apply to Colorado employers) recently ruled that her complaints of national origin discrimination may move forward. This case offers several lessons on how to handle cultural differences in the workplace.  Cute lovely school children at classroom having education activi

Principal made and allowed insensitive comments

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Unconscious bias: Employers learning how to fight problems they don’t see

March 20, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Efforts to create more diverse workplaces have landed on many employers’ radar screens in recent years. The tech industry, notably, has been exposed as being overwhelmingly male and white, leading some of those influential employers to do some soul searching. They and employers in an array of other fields have devised programs resulting in improvement, but they acknowledge that more progress is needed on the diversity front.  Stereotype

Now that many employers have implemented programs aimed at hiring, retaining, and promoting a diverse workforce, a new termunconscious biasis coming into the spotlight. But how can employers fight something if they’re not conscious of it? If people don’t even see their biases, they’re fighting blind. That may sound nearly impossible, but those who have studied the issue have identified ways to start.

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Equal pay issues gaining attention

by Gesina (Ena) M. Seiler

The concept of equal pay for equal work is receiving attention from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), President Barack Obama, and the 2016 candidates for president. That means there’s no better time than the present for a review of what “equal pay” does and doesn’t mean, recent amendments to the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and proposed regulatory changes.  equal pay

What is the EPA?

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EEOC’s controversial EEO-1 change would root out pay discrimination

by Amanda Shelby

On January 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with administering and enforcing the civil rights laws that prohibit workplace discrimination, proposed a significant revision to its Employer Information Report (also known as the EEO-1). The federal government uses the EEO-1 to collect demographic data about an employer’s workforce. The EEOC’s proposed amendment to the EEO-1 would require employers with 100 or more employees to report pay data in addition to their workforce demographics. So what’s the purpose of the proposed change, and how will it impact you?  Pay Discrimination

EEOC’s proposed EEO-1 changes

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EEOC addresses workplace discrimination against Muslim or Middle Eastern individuals

As backlash is rising steadily in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and San Bernardino, California, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is taking an active approach to addressing current and potential workplace discrimination. EEOC Chair Jenny Yang issued a statement urging employers and employees to be mindful of instances of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in the workplace against “vulnerable communities” such as employees who are or are being perceived to be Muslim. She cautioned employers to “take steps to directly address potential problems to prevent harassment, retaliation and other forms of discrimination” and encouraged employees to “report incidents to their workplace official and to the EEOC or its state and local partners.”  Muslim business lady

The agency also released two resource guidance documents, one for employers and one for employees, in Q&A format to explain federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination against individuals who are targeted for being Muslim or perceived to be Muslim. The guides note well-established strategies to curb and prevent workplace discrimination and warn employers that “reactions in the workplace to world events demand increased efforts . . . to prevent discrimination.”

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Retaliation, discrimination, and harassment persist; disability bias charges increase

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a detailed breakdown of the 89,385 workplace discrimination charges it received in fiscal year (FY) 2015, which started on October 1, 2014, and ended on September 30, 2015. Retaliation charges increased by nearly 5% and continue to be the leading complaint raised by workers across the country. Disability discrimination charges increased by 6% from FY 2014 and were the third most commonly filed charge.  EEOC-jpg

The EEOC resolved 92,641 charges in FY 2015 through voluntary resolution and litigation. The year-end data show that 39,757 retaliation charges were filed, representing 44% of all private-sector charges. The agency is currently seeking public input on its proposed enforcement guidance on retaliation and related issues.

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