When worlds collide: religious freedom laws and LGBT protections

by Brent E. Siler

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from banning gay marriage last year, many people who oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons began worrying that the newly recognized constitutional right to gay marriage would conflict with their right to religious freedom. As a result, several state legislatures have enacted “religious freedom laws,” which generally provide statutory protections for people who refuse to act contrary to their deeply held religious beliefs. Religious freedom laws in North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, and Mississippi have caused controversy in recent months, with proponents of these laws arguing that they are necessary to protect religious freedom and opponents arguing that these laws are legalized discrimination. Unfortunately, the conflict between religious freedom laws and the ever-expanding recognition of gay rights is far from over and will almost certainly spill into the workplace and create difficulties for employers.  Editing Erasing the First Amendment to U.S. Constitution

Tenets of religious freedom laws

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Gender diversity in the workforce: What’s holding women back?

May 15, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A number of well-intentioned corporate executives—with their eyes squarely on the bottom line—are taking action to increase gender diversity at all levels of their organizations. Confident they’ll see a payoff, those top managers are making sure women’s ideas contribute to their organizations’ strategic thinking. Despite strong efforts, though, recent research notes a lack of progress.  Torso Equating One Female Worker With Three Males

In March, global management and consulting firm McKinsey & Company reported in its McKinsey Quarterly that statistics collected from 30,000 employees at 118 North American companies representing nine industries reveals three “common pipeline pain points”: (1) Women often are unable to enter an organization, (2) sometimes they’re stuck in an organization’s middle ranks, and (3) sometimes they’re locked out of top jobs.

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Sex stereotyping, same-sex harassment, and transgender issues in the workplace

by Amanda Shelby

We typically think of sex discrimination and sexual harassment as involving two employees of the opposite sex, but that unlawful activity can occur between employees of the same sex, too. Although federal law doesn’t explicitly recognize gender identity or sexual orientation as protected characteristics, several states and cities have passed ordinances prohibiting adverse action on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Additionally, in its 2013-16 Strategic Enforcement Plan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasized the emerging issue of LGBT rights in the workplace. Gender Identity

A brief overview of the law

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Prayer breaks present difficult religious accommodation issues

by Steven T. Collis

Recent news stories describe the tension between Muslim workers seeking multiple prayer breaks at specified times throughout their workday and employers that need those workers on the assembly line. Many Muslim employees have walked off the job, claiming their prayer break requests have been unlawfully denied. With so much coverage of religious accommodation cases in the news, this article addresses how to handle this somewhat difficult scenario. Prayer break

Case in point

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When a good employee makes a bad mistake

by Mark I. Schickman

Brian Williams was NBC’s news superstar, appearing on programs ranging from 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show. He was a beloved regular on the talk show circuit. Since 2004, he was heir to a line of NBC news chiefs flowing from Chet Huntley and David Brinkley through John Chancellor to Tom Brokaw.  Fixing Mistakes

But, next to good looks and a good voice, perhaps an anchor’s most essential job qualification is credibility–being the most trusted news source in America. If people don’t believe you, they’re not going to look to you for the news. So Williams’ world collapsed in early February when questions surfaced about an embellished version of a war story in which he claimed to be riding in a helicopter that was “hit by ground fire.” He made similar comments about surviving “a close call in the skies over Iraq,” “com[ing] under fire,” and “look[ing] down the tube of an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade launcher].”

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Hiring people with disabilities: ideas on meeting challenges, enjoying benefits

December 20, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

Searching for employment often feels like one of life’s most difficult challenges. The job seeker has to find a suitable position, go through the application process, hope to advance to the interview stage, and then find a way to stand out in what may be a crowd of applicants vying for the same job.   Impairments

Employers looking for the right hire face equally daunting challenges. Matching a position to someone with the right skills, experience, and attitude is no easy task, but successful employers develop methods to help them find the right talent. When reaching out to applicants with some type of disability, though, they may need to alter their process.

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Keeping the news out of the workplace

by Mark I. Schickman

Racial tensions in America have been dominating the news for several months. Not surprisingly, a new CBS/New York Times poll finds that over 60% of Americans believe that race relations in America are bad and getting worse—the highest percentage in 25 years.  Headline News

Some responses to these statistics will argue that arrests and detentions occur where crime exists and that there is simply more crime committed in communities of color. Others will argue that law enforcement officers have the most dangerous jobs around and should never be subject to “second-guessing.”

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Managing performance: 3 radical ideas

by Michael P. Maslanka

There are old and accepted ways of doing things, and there are new and bold ways. It’s your choice.  Employee motivation concept image with business icons and copyspace.

Are you thinking of changing your performance evaluation system? Are you tired of the meaningless nuance between a 3.5 and a 4.0 rating? Then pick up a copy of the April issue of Harvard Business Review, which is dedicated to reinventing performance measurement and incentivizing employees. One article explains the new performance evaluation system at Deloitte. Limited to four questions, it is simplicity itself.

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Leading with emotional intelligence

by Jimmy Daniel

75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.

—The Center for Creative Leadership

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Apps, attitudes pushing employers to walk the walk on social responsibility

September 20, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

More and more employers tout diversity and inclusion efforts in their recruiting strategies, but just putting on a socially responsible face may not be enough to entice today’s high-potential jobseekers. Not only are prospective employees interested in working for employers that are good corporate citizens, they have a plethora of tools available to make sure an employer is truly walking the walk and not just talking the talk on its social justice efforts. Man with Note Pad and Give Concept

For example, websites and phone apps such as GoodGuide and B Corp let consumers and jobseekers alike check out products and organizations on social justice issues. In addition to apps and websites, jobseekers use social media to scrutinize potential employers. With the expanded networking capacity social media provides, jobseekers are empowered to investigate potential employers by interacting with people they know and trust.

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