Employees on the autism spectrum: guidance for employers

December 16, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) – a group of developmental disabilities that can cause social, communication, and behavioral challenges – affect one in 88 children and one in 54 boys, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That makes autism the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States, according to the advocacy organization Autism Speaks. ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

The National Longitudinal Transition Study, a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts in Boston revealed striking statistics about those affected by autism:

  • Although 67 percent of youth with autism who were part of a study on employment reported working at some point after high school, 42 percent earned less than the federal minimum wage, and most of the youth in the study reported that the majority of their coworkers were also people with disabilities. read more…

Long-term unemployment seen holding back jobseekers

November 18, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 3 COMMENTS

No law specifically says employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants who have been out of work for months or even years. The long-term unemployed don’t have protections spelled out in any antidiscrimination laws – or do they?

When jobseekers are part of a protected class that has a disproportionate number of people unemployed, they can begin to wonder if they’re stuck in unemployment because of their race, age, gender, disability, or some other characteristic protected under discrimination laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been wondering the same thing. read more…

Finding work-life balance in a workforce with diverse needs

October 14, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 2 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Work-life balance gets a lot of buzz in the workplace. Everyone is concerned about being productive at work while saving time for other important parts of life. Just the term work-life balance can invoke an image of employees teetering on a tightrope, with career, family, friends, hobbies, and other interests pulling from both sides and threatening their balance.

Often discussions of how to maintain balance emphasize the demands of work and family. Workers want flexibility to care for their children by leaving work for parent-teacher conferences, soccer games, music lessons, and the myriad other things on a parent’s plate.

But it’s not just employees with spouses and children who crave flexibility and other perks, and singles are speaking out about their own needs. They’re also voicing concerns that the deck sometimes seems to be stacked in favor of married workers and those with families. read more…

Technology can make the workplace more accessible to the disabled

September 16, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

It’s natural to question what the future will bring to the workplace. How many more resources will the Internet make available? What new apps have the potential to revolutionize the world of work? How will technology enable employees to overcome disabilities?

The questions – and answers – seem limitless as technology advances at a dizzying pace. Those in the workforce for even a short time have seen innovations bring groundbreaking change. And change isn’t likely to slow.

Role of technology

More and more employers are being called on to use technology to make the workplace accessible to employees and applicants with disabilities. The federal government continues to encourage – some would say force – employers to reach out to people with disabilities.

In July, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that in fiscal year 2011, employees with disabilities represented 7.41 percent of the overall federal government workforce and 11 percent when the figures included veterans who are 30 percent or more disabled. read more…

Employers have opportunity to capitalize on a graying workforce

August 19, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Is it a “silver tsunami” or barely a ripple in your workplace? Whether your organization is facing a wave of retirements or just a few in the next several years, employers are wise to consider the significance of older workers.

As the 78 million-member baby boomer generation hits what has traditionally been considered retirement age, many employers worry about a brain drain–the loss of their most experienced and senior employees who have the most institutional knowledge. Employers may not need to worry about too many imminent departures, though, because many boomers are deciding to stay–some because their retirement nest eggs dwindled during the recession and others because they’re still healthy, energetic, and engaged in their careers.

No matter the reason employees decide to keep working, the workforce is getting grayer and employers need to explore how to get the most out of their older workers. read more…

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Financially stressed employees pulling down productivity

July 15, 2012 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

A new employee group has begun showing up vividly on employer radar screens. It’s not defined by race, religion, gender, or any of the other familiar legally protected classes. The new group commanding the attention of employers is made up of workers suffering extreme stress brought on by extreme debt.

It’s always been in an employer’s interest to provide help to employees suffering the various stresses of life – health woes, family strife, and certainly financial distress – but the economic trouble of recent years seems to be taking a special toll on productivity.

Young employees saddled with exorbitant student loans are a notable subset of employees stressed over debt. A recent National Public Radio report profiled the case of a 30-year-old woman who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with bachelor’s and nursing degrees and one more thing – $140,000 in student loans. She’s now employed and making more money than her parents (a school bus driver and a teacher), but she expects to be in her 50s before her loans are paid off. read more…

Categories: Feature / Team in Trouble

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.

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…

Parents of Special Needs Kids Finding Support at Work

April 15, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Last month, Diversity Insight writer Tammy Binford explored the legal issues involved when employees must juggle work and special-needs parenting collide. Now, she looks at how employers can help their employees balance work and their obligations as parents of special needs children.

By Tammy Binford

read more…

Juggling Act: When Work and Special-Needs Parenting Collide

March 18, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

It’s often easy for employers to be understanding when workers occasionally need to duck out of work early for a meeting at school or a trip to a child’s doctor. It happens to nearly every working parent once in a while.

But what about an employee whose child has some kind of special need, a parent whose caregiving responsibilities are seen as especially time-consuming and difficult to juggle with work responsibilities? An employer in that situation may be sympathetic but worried about getting the job done, even nervous about the reliability of the employee.

In addition to those attendance and performance concerns, employers have to be aware of legal hazards. Can an employer’s treatment of employees with special-needs children become a legal hazard? It is possible. read more…

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