Employers urged to make diversity a business strategy, not just an obligation

April 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As human resources teams strive to attract and retain top talent, they often turn their focus to the strengths that come from having a diverse workforce. But a new study suggests that a focus on diversity alone may come up short if companies aren’t also thinking about inclusion. The recently released Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report shows that most of the organizations participating in the study say their organizations promote diversity, but not nearly so many see the full business benefits of a diverse workforce. The study report states that leading companies are doing more than just building a diverse workforce; they’re building inclusive workplaces, “enabling them to transform diversity programs from a compliance obligation to a business strategy.”  ThoughtDiversity

The Deloitte study included the views of more than 2,500 business and HR leaders in 94 countries. The survey shows that just 20 percent of the companies participating in the study believe that they are fully realizing all the benefits of diversity.

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Steps to take toward gender equality

by Dinita James

In the mid-1970s, I wore an ERA bracelet in support of ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). I also had a button that displayed only two numbers and a symbol ― 62 ¢.

The 62 cents signified the then-current national average of women’s earnings for every dollar earned by men. Some four decades later, the ERA appears to be a constitutional dead letter, and women earn about 81 cents on the dollar compared with their male peers.  UnequalPay

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Satisfying your obligation to accommodate disabled employees

by Kara E. Shea

Did you know the fastest rising category of claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is claims based on disability discrimination and/or failure to accommodate disabled employees? This isn’t surprising given that, under the expanded Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), virtually any nonminor/nontransitory impairment may be considered a qualifying disability.  DisabledEmployee

So the crucial question is, once you have determined that an employee or job applicant has a disability, to what lengths must you go to provide a reasonable accommodation? Do you have to provide the specific accommodation requested by the employee? What is an undue hardship? This month, we provide some pointers to help employers navigate the process of determining how or whether to provide an accommodation for an individual with a disability.

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Tips for leveraging inclusiveness for a more productive workforce

February 16, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Employers are always searching for ways to empower their employees to do their best work. They invest in training to help workers gain skills, and they develop policies designed to keep the workplace running smoothly, but other components—cultivating cultural intelligence and fostering an environment of inclusiveness—may be overlooked.   Welcome

Simma Lieberman, a diversity and inclusion/culture change consultant, has advice for employers interested in leveraging the diversity they have in their employees, and it starts with shedding the attitudes that can hold an employer back.

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To build or not to build? That’s the inclusion question

by Brad Federman

Typically, an organization employs inclusion efforts because it notices there’s a morale issue within a certain group or within the organization as a whole, a legal challenge has been filed against the organization, or there has been an effort to organize a union. Unfortunately, many inclusion or diversity efforts fail because they are reactive tactics used to pacify a group or groups. Even much of the discrimination and harassment training that exists is done to stay out of legal trouble or in direct response to a legal issue. What a large number of organizations fail to see is that a reactive effort to respond to workplace issues actually alienates and disenfranchises many employees.   WorkingTogether

Inclusion has become an approach to working with employees who are different or have special needs. Employees don’t want to be treated well because they are different or because the organization is afraid of a union organizing effort. They want to consistently feel respected, included, and valued. You must develop a strong, clear, and productive culture to demonstrate respect, interest, and value in your employees on a consistent basis.

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Who is GINA, and why should I care about her?

by Mark Jeffries

Those of us in HR and the field of employment law sometimes feel like we’re being force-fed a veritable alphabet soup of federal statutes. We have to mind our p’s and q’s under the FLSA, FMLA, ADA, ADAAA, and ADEA, just to name a few. But there’s a relatively young law that some of you may not be aware of: the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, or GINA.

Because GINA just became law a few years ago and her scope is fairly limited, many employers may not have given her much thought. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed its first GINA lawsuit against an employer, resulting in a $50,000 settlement. So beware―GINA is out there, and the facts of the EEOC’s case show how easy it can be to run afoul of her prohibitions.

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Disability etiquette: It should be common courtesy

July 15, 2012 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Marcia Akers

The rules of etiquette define those behaviors that are socially acceptable under particular circumstances. It is not a crime of legal consequence if these unwritten, but widely accepted, standards of proper behavior are broken, but anyone not adhering to them may be ridiculed or ostracized. The Disability Rights Movement popularized the expression “disability etiquette” which describes the guidelines for approaching and interacting with people who have disabilities.

People with disabilities are simply that….people. As it is with all people, those who have a disability have emotions, goals, friends, families, abilities, limitations. And, as it is with all people, those who have a disability deal with life as it presents itself in a way that is comfortable and accommodating so far as they are able and to the extent that our society will allow. read more…

Dads Deserve a Break: Family-Friendly Policies Aren’t Just for Working Moms

June 16, 2012 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

Dad usually gets a new tie or some other token of appreciation from the kids in observance of Father’s Day. But what he may want more is a little extra support at work.

Working moms are often at the center of discussions about work-life balance – how to get the children to school and still get to work on time, how to juggle kids’ activities with work deadlines, etc. – but dads can find themselves in the same bind.

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Disability Charges and Enforcement on the Rise

Since the enactment of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) in 2009, commentators have been predicting a rise in disability claims. Statistics recently released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) show that those predictions have come true. In fiscal year 2011, the number of disability discrimination charges filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rose for the second year, totaling more than one quarter of all charges filed.

Through its enforcement, mediation, and litigation programs, the EEOC won $103.4 million for employees and applicants claiming disability discrimination in 2011, compared to $76.1 million in 2010. That represents a nearly 36 percent increase, the highest increase among all types of charges. And what are the impairments most frequently cited as a “disability” under the ADA? Number one is back impairments (no surprise there), followed by orthopedic impairments, depression, anxiety disorder, and diabetes. read more…

Veterans Soldiering On Through Tough Job Market

May 20, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

The recession has been discouraging to job seekers of all stripes – those with advanced degrees as well as those without higher education, those in specialized fields and those looking for just any kind of work. Certainly job seekers transitioning out of the military aren’t immune to the difficulties posed by the tough job market. This article will examine why some veterans are having trouble transitioning from the military to employment and what employers can do to help.

Not Just a Statistic

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued in March shows how recent veterans are faring in their quest to find employment. Veterans who served on active duty any time since September 2001 – a group labeled Gulf War-era II veterans – saw an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent for the year in 2011. That compares to an 8.3 percent 2011 unemployment rate for all veterans (Gulf War-era II vets as well as vets from other time periods). The overall U.S. jobless rate in 2011 was 8.9 percent, according to another BLS report.

A telling statistic in the March BLS report illustrates the difficulty the youngest veterans are having finding work outside the military. Young male veterans (those ages 18-24) who served during Gulf War era II had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent in 2011, much higher than the 17.6 percent jobless rate of young male nonveterans in 2011. read more…

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