Food bank works toward goals of diversity and inclusion

July 16, 2017 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Editor’s note: Many organizations want to improve diversity and inclusion, but they don’t know where to start.  The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is one such organization, and members of the organization’s in-house committee have provided this report on the first year of their program in the hope that other organizations can learn from their experience.  The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

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Dealing with hidden disability: Navigating protections for workers with addictions

June 18, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Employers generally understand their obligations related to legal protections for people with disabilities. But not all disabilities are obvious, sometimes not even to those afflicted. Such may be the case when employees suffer from addiction to prescription drugsa problem that’s been in the spotlight lately. And with good reason: The costs employers face related to such addictions are staggering.  Medicine sales man rep offering pills

For example, an analysis released in March claims that healthcare costs for employees who misuse or abuse prescription drugs are three times the costs for an average employee. The analysis is from the National Safety Council, independent research institution NORC at the University of Chicago, and Shatterproof, a nonprofit organization working to end the stigma of addiction and support families dealing with it. The groups have developed a Substance Use Cost Calculator to help employers understand the impact of addiction on their business.

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Exploring answers to ‘mommy track’ dilemma

May 14, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

It’s May, the month with a special day set aside to honor mothers. Those sweet but sloppy gifts made by little hands delight moms on their special day, but then the workweek begins again, bringing with it the stresses of mixing work and family responsibilities. And if the workload at home and at work isn’t enough to deal with, many women struggle with another nagging worrythe realization that no matter how skilled they are at juggling all their tasks, they may find their career progress at risk.  Mother holding baby daughter while talking on phone in kitchen

So what’s the answer? Many tout employer flexibility as an important stepnot just in keeping women in the workforce but also keeping them on track for advancement. A recent Forbes blog entry carried an interview with Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean, founders of Werk, a company promoting flexible jobs. They go so far as to claim “flexibility is the future of feminism.”

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Step 1 to promoting diversity: Avoid the ‘lying, crying, and denying’

April 16, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The human resources team plays a key role in promoting diversity within an organization. After all, it’s HR that works to recruit and retain people from diverse backgrounds. And it’s up to HR to communicatenot just to executives but to the rank and file as welljust why diversity is important. But how does HR sometimes end up being the problem rather than the solution? And when that happens, how can it be overcome?  Business people finding solution together at office

Nicole Price, CEO of leadership-development consulting firm Lively Paradox, says it starts with recognizing that dealing with differences is tough.

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Dealing with the unseen: Tips for traversing legal terrain of hidden disabilities

March 19, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Work can be stressful for anyone, and employers are wise to ease the burdens when possible in the interest of maintaining productivity and the general well-being of the workforce. But disabilities can complicate the issue, especially when the disability isn’t obvious.  man with stressed face expression brain melting into lines

Human resources professionals may be well aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as the ADA Amendments Act that broadened the law’s protections in many cases, require employers to provide qualified employees who have a disability an opportunity to be productive at work by engaging in the “interactive process” and providing “reasonable accommodations.”

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Geographic diversity: Dealing with rural-urban differences in the workplace

February 19, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The rural-urban divide in America has had people talking since the 2016 presidential election, which showed a marked difference in the way urban and rural areas tend to vote. The 2016 election wasn’t the first sign of a divide, and individuals in both rural and urban areas often defy aggregate data, but various statistics show differences in attitudes and political opinions that seem to be defined by whether an area is urban or rural. Spring Urban and Countryside Landscape City Village Real Estate Summer

Such divisions also can be found in the workplace. For years, employers have touted the advantages of diversity and have worked toward racial, ethnic, religious, and gender diversity. But what about geographic diversity? Is there a business advantage to attracting a mix of people from rural and urban backgrounds?

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Handling challenges to diversity in era of divisiveness

January 15, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

It may seem there’s no escaping political divisiveness. All manner of news and social media sources carry angry, frequently hurtful, and often untrue communication. And the workplace is not immune from the damage of those messages.  Two angry businesspeople with boxing gloves having an argument

Presidential campaigns have been heated before, but the 2016 contest seemed especially rife with venom. Since the campaign was so divisiveparticularly on race and religion issues that were aggravated by comments about Mexicans, Muslims, and other minoritiessome of that discord has found its way to the workplace.

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Warding off age discrimination claims in era of older workers

December 18, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nearly a quarter of the workforce will be made up of people age 55 and older by 2024. That contrasts to 1994, when just 11.9 percent of workers fell into that age group. If the projection for 2024 is correctand the aging of the baby boomer generation as well as other factors provide a solid basis for the forecastemployers need to take a look at how to handle a large number of workers under the protection of federal and state age discrimination laws.   Businessman showing a document to his colleague

The BLS figures, reported in a November 18 U.S. Department of Labor Blog post, show that the 55 and older crowd is expected to constitute the largest slice of the workforce pie in just eight years. Here’s the breakdown for 2024: read more…

Want to add diversity by hiring veterans? Make sure policies don’t get in the way

November 20, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

This month’s celebration of Veterans Day may have sparked interest among employers to recruit and hire veterans. After all, many employers tout the diversity of thought and skills employees with military experience bring to the workforce. Too often, though, policies and a lack of understanding throw up barriers to bringing veterans on board.  young man with split careers businessman and soldier

State licensing and certification requirements often are responsible for the barriers veterans face, but help may be on the way on those fronts. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released a toolkit to help states knock down hurdles presented by state licensure and third-party certification systems. A DOL blog post explains that the kit includes best practices, tips, and resources to accelerate initiatives from the various states to address gaps in veterans’ licensing and certification.

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Don’t let appearance policy trigger religious discrimination claims

October 16, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Achieving a diverse workforce is a highly touted goal among employers. It’s a goal that drives recruiting as well as efforts to build company culture. But the details – the various policies and rules employers may adopt without considering riskscan be easy to overlook. One area not to be forgotten: dress codes and other appearance policies that sometimes pose religious discrimination risks. Busy Arabian businesspeople in the factory

Most employers wouldn’t intentionally adopt policies targeting certain religious groups, but seemingly neutral policies can still pose a threat. For example, can an employer legally prohibit beards, tattoos, head coverings, the wearing of religious symbols, etc.? Usama Kahf, an attorney in the Irvine, California, office of the Fisher Phillips law firm, took on that question in a recent Business and Legal Resources webinar titled “Preventing Appearance-Based Discrimination: Legal Guidelines for Protecting Religious and Cultural Groups.”

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