Employers look to ‘culture of inclusiveness’ in era of expanding LGBT rights

September 17, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

Inclusiveness, civility, respectful treatment: Those are all concepts getting a lot of attention as employers struggle to cope with what seems like an increasingly divisive culture often threatening to bleed over into the workplace.  Diversity Team Community Group of People Concept

A changing legal landscape also must be considered as employers strive for productive and nondiscriminatory working environments. For example, a landmark ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded that sexual orientation is a protected category under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also sees Title VII as encompassing sexual orientation and gender identity. Also, many state legislatures have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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With HR’s help, employee network groups can improve retention

September 17, 2017 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

From the employer’s perspective, employee network groups can boost engagement and retention—or they can create divisiveness. To ensure the former, employers need to be involved from the start.

By adopting a policy and welcoming network groups, businesses can encourage members to have positive effects in the workplace, according to Ray Friedman, a professor of management at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Friedman offered the following tips on policies and best practices during a recent presentation at the 2017 Employers Counsel Network (ECN) Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  Abstract Business People

One or many groups?

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Stage is set for SCOTUS to rule on Title VII and sexual orientation

September 17, 2017 - by: Utah Employment Law Letter 0 COMMENTS

by Ryan B. Frazier

Since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, state and federal laws have been enacted to prohibit employment discrimination against individuals on the basis of their race, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, and gender. Until recently, virtually none of those antidiscrimination laws covered employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Over the last decade, as issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity have moved to the forefront of social consciousness, several states and certain federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have started to recognize and address employment discrimination in that context.  Supreme Court

Recognition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has not been universal. Federal law is not resolved on the issue, and recent federal circuit court rulings have further complicated things. This article focuses on the recent appellate court rulings and how they are changing the employment discrimination landscape under federal law.

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Diversity and inclusion: America’s CEOs are showing the path forward

Millennials will transform management practices

by Jimmy Daniel

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have surpassed Generation X and Baby Boomers to become the largest group in America’s workforce, according to Pew Giving their design the seal of approvalResearch Center’s analysis of the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. Not only are Millennials continuing to grow and dominate the workforce, but they are also starting to take on more management roles.

In 2013, Ernst and Young conducted an online survey of more than 1,200 cross-company professionals in the United States that included evenly split responses from managers and nonmanagers in Generation Y, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. The survey showed that 87% of the Millennial managers surveyed had moved into management roles between 2008 and 2013, compared to only 38% of Generation X managers and 19% of Baby Boomer managers. That was in stark contrast to the same survey conducted from 2003 to 2008, during which only 12% of Millennial managers had moved into a management role.

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Service animal or pet? When Rover comes to work

by Erica E. Flores

For decades, service animals were used almost exclusively to assist the blind and, in that role, were aptly known simply as guide dogs or seeing-eye dogs. But times have changed. Today, dogs and other service animals—including monkeys, parrots, and miniature horses—are being trained to provide a remarkable variety of services to individuals with disabilities. They can alert the hearing impaired to household and environmental sounds, warn epileptics of oncoming seizures, calm children and adults with autism, signal diabetics of changes in their insulin levels, and, increasingly, provide comfort and companionship to people with a wide range of mental and emotional disabilities, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What does that mean for employers?   Pit Bull Wearing Service Dog Vest

Emotional support animals?

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What’s gender identity got to do with work?

by Amanda M. JonesGender Identity

From Bruce Jenner’s announcement that he was transitioning to become a woman named “Caitlyn” to North Carolina’s passage of a so-called bathroom bill requiring schools and public agencies to restrict bathroom use to the facility corresponding to a person’s biological sex at birth, gender identity issues have become the subject of significant policy debate, lawsuits, and mainstream conversation. Gender identity is also increasingly becoming a more prevalent issue in our workplaces.

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Target to spend millions on single-stall bathrooms

by Ryan Olson

Target recently announced that employees and customers at its stores may use the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Now, amid criticism of its transgender bathroom policy by some customers, the company has said that it will spend $20 million to make single-stall bathrooms available in every store. Target Logo on Shopping Cart

Controversial policy. In an effort to reiterate its inclusive environment and experience, Target announced in April 2016 that its employees and customers may “use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” Target’s new policy was met with mixed results, however. For example, a conservative Christian organization has collected more than 1.4 million signatures from people promising to boycott Target in response to its restroom policy. Nonetheless, other retailers have echoed Target’s bathroom policy.

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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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Employers may be required to accommodate unhygienic employees

by Deanna L. Forbush

Most employers have several policies explaining their expectations for employee appearance and hygiene. The policies generally include topics such as appearance, dress, disruption of the workplace, health and safety, and interaction with other employees. Appearance and hygiene policies are generally published in an employer’s personnel handbook.   Portrait of a young woman  disgusting with bad smell

Many employers require employees to meet high grooming and hygiene standards as a condition of continued employment, and employers generally retain sole discretion to determine whether an employee’s hygiene and grooming meet their sometimes subjective standards. Employers that do not have hygiene and grooming policies are advised to implement standards as soon as possible because the appearance of employees—especially those who work in the service sector—can have a huge effect on a company’s overall image.

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