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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Paid parental leave policies gain traction

by Kelly Boehner

There is no federal law in the United States mandating paid maternity or parental leave. Currently, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child or the placement of a child in foster care. Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they have been with your company for at least 12 months, worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months, and work at a location where your company employs at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius. The time away from work is unpaid, but companies must continue to provide an employee with the same health insurance benefits during his leave and must place the employee in either the same position or a position with equivalent pay and benefits upon his return to work. Young Asian Chinese family with 5 month old son

State-paid leave

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California at epicenter of rise in disability access cases against small businesses

by Matthew A. Goodin

In addition to allowing disabled employees to sue their employers for discriminating or refusing to provide reasonable accommodations, both federal and California law allow disabled persons to sue businesses and places of public accommodation for failing to comply with a myriad of accessibility requirements, such as having wheelchair ramps or the proper number of handicapped parking spaces. While the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows only for the recovery of attorneys’ fees and not damages, California’s law allows plaintiffs to recover a minimum of $4,000 in damages in addition to attorneys’ fees. It’s no wonder that more than 40 percent of all disability access cases filed in the United States are filed in California.  Disabled Access

Federal, CA law set access requirements

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Revisiting gender identity discrimination

by Lauren Moak Russell

We have addressed the issue of gender identity discrimination several times. As transgender individuals enter the mainstream of popular culture and employees become more comfortable disclosing their gender identity, employers can expect to see this issue arise with increasing frequency. The following is some guidance on how to stay out of trouble.  Transgender Bathroom

General employment advice

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The good, the bad, and the ‘feo’ of the American workplace’s Latinization

by Glianny Fagundo

The American workplace is becoming more diverse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculated that 14.8 percent of the U.S. labor force was Hispanic in 2010. That number is expected to jump to 18.6 percent by 2020which translates to roughly one in five workers. While many see such diversification as a positive development (and it is in many ways), it doesn’t automatically lead to a utopian, racially integrated environment.  DiverseWorkforce

This article discusses some of the positive contributions Hispanics can make to workplaces, ways in which you can maximize and reward productivity, and considerations you must give to ethnic and color tensions that may exist among employees who share the “Hispanic” ethnic designation.

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New mental disorders could lead to spike in ADA claims

by Lisa Berg

What do forgetfulness, menstrual cramps, and social awkwardness have in common? They’re all symptoms of new mental health disorders recognized in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).  MentalDisorders

The DSM-5 is widely used by healthcare professionals to assess and diagnose mental disorders. The practical translation: More employees may qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) than ever before, which means employers must be ready to address issues of mental disability accommodation. This article examines the challenges you face in assessing the new mental disorders and determining whether they constitute a mental disability under the ADA for a particular employee.

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50 ways to list your lover

by Mark I. Schickman

Anyone who has filled out EEO-1 forms knows the challenge of fitting humans into demographic boxes. People’s backgrounds and orientations often defy ready definition, leaving you to your best guess under the circumstances. Facebook has the same problem since checking demographic boxes can be confusing or challenging for users. It has long had the “it’s complicated” box, which acts as shorthand for a relationship status with a difficult definition, but that isn’t specific enough to cover the broad scope of Facebook users’ relationships.  Gender Idenitity Chart

In terms of sexual identity, we started with the term “gay,” moved to “gay and lesbian,” and then to “LGBT,” which added bisexual and transgendered. Then came “Q” and “I.” (Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers about what those letters stand for.) Facebook has now opened the self-description gates wide with more than 50 terms that describe sexual identity. Among the heretofore less frequently used terms are androgynous, pangender, transperson, and gender-fluid.

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Are microaggressions a new legal threat in the workplace?

May 18, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 3 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

An April gathering that brought together President Barack Obama, three former presidents, and civil rights leaders marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a game-changing law that still guards against discrimination in the workplace and other aspects of life. The impetus for the Act was the kind of blatant bigotry responsible for mistreatment of racial and religious minorities as well as women. The Civil Rights Act has made strides against flagrant abuse, but concern over a more subtle kind of bias is now coming to light: damage caused by “microaggressions.”  Microaggression

Microaggressions aren’t like old-style, overt racism and other forms of bigotry. Instead, more understated insultssuch as praising an African-American employee for being articulate or admiring a Latino’s lack of an accentare raising questions. These comments and actions are what a recent college graduate quoted in a March New York Times article called “racism 2.0.”

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Categories: Diversity Trends / Feature / Flashpoint

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Trends in religious discrimination and accommodation

by Alka Ramchandani

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been coming down hard on organizations that are failing to accommodate employees for their religious beliefs. What follows are a few tools and concepts you may use to eliminate the potential of being a target for a lawsuit based on religious discrimination or failure to accommodate religious beliefs.  MoreReligiousAccommodations

Clean-shaven mishaps

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Are we evolving on sexual orientation/gender identity issues?

Many states have statutes prohibiting discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Not all states have such prohibition, and since there is no broad federal prohibition on discrimination by private employers based on either category, that leaves local ordinances to address the issue. A look at what is happening in Texas can offer insight into these trends across the country.  Texas!!

Local ordinances across Texas

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