At the epicenter of life, death, and work: 4 tough questions for employers after Dallas

by Michael P. Maslanka

Dallas has been my home for 32 years. Currently, I live and work downtown. The murders of the five Dallas police officers took place just a few blocks from my home. Neighbors in my building heard the firefight as it unfolded. I am a law professor, and three of my students are police officers. I have thought of them a lot lately.  Dallas at dusk

The public-policy issues on race, guns, and violence are being debated and discussed everywhere from the dinner table to the classroom to legislative arenas. Those issues permeate our workplaces as well. Like the Venn diagrams we learned in high school, which use overlapping circles to show relations between different items, the issues overlap—not by a little, but by a lot. Here are some questions HR, company leaders, and anyone else who is grappling with these issues should ask.

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U.S. women’s soccer team’s EEOC charge spotlights wage discrimination issues

by Amy Steketee Fox

Pay equity issues have attracted significant attention recently in political debates, state legislatures, and courtrooms. The latest venue for the conversation: the fields dominated by the U.S. women’s soccer team. In late March, five prominent members of the team filed a wage discrimination complaint against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The women are seeking to be paid the same wages as their male counterparts.   Women during a soccer match at sunset

In the complaint, the women allege that the USSF pays male players nearly four times more despite the fact that the women’s team generated nearly $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team in 2015. The allegations can proceed under two separate laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act (EPA). Both laws prohibit wage discrimination based on sex. Although the USSF will likely provide non-sex-based explanations for the wage differential (including the fact that players’ pay is collectively bargained), it is too early to make a reasonable projection about either side’s chances of success.

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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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Caregiving responsibilities, temporal flexibility, and the gender wage gap

by Kelly Boehner

We often hear that women earn approximately 77 cents for every dollar men earn. That statistic comes from data in the 2010 American Community Survey, an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The statistic means that if you calculate the median annual income for all men and women who work full-time for an entire year, you would see that the annual median income for women is 77% of the annual median income for men.  UnequalPay

Pay disparity persists

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Thin line between political and hate speech: What’s acceptable at work

April 17, 2016 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

by Holly K. Jones, J.D.

Picture it—it’s a Friday afternoon at the end of a very long week, and just as you are about to sneak out early for the weekend, one of your employees walks into your office wearing a camouflage trucker hat emblazoned with the words “Make America Great Again.” Oh perfect, you think to yourself, another Trump supporter. And before you can stop yourself, your (irrational and unproductive) irritation gets the best of you, and you find yourself remarking sarcastically, “Nice hat. Do you hate women, too?” The employee gives you a shocked look but leaves your office after getting an answer to an unrelated question, and as he walks away, you proudly tag Hillary Clinton in a tweet about how you stood up for women’s equality.  Dont Fight

A week later, you have to give the same employee a written warning for being late for the third time in the past two weeks, but when you ask him to sign the warning, he angrily accuses you of discriminating against him because he is a Republican and a Caucasian man. And he then files a complaint against you with HR.

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EEOC’s controversial EEO-1 change would root out pay discrimination

by Amanda Shelby

On January 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with administering and enforcing the civil rights laws that prohibit workplace discrimination, proposed a significant revision to its Employer Information Report (also known as the EEO-1). The federal government uses the EEO-1 to collect demographic data about an employer’s workforce. The EEOC’s proposed amendment to the EEO-1 would require employers with 100 or more employees to report pay data in addition to their workforce demographics. So what’s the purpose of the proposed change, and how will it impact you?  Pay Discrimination

EEOC’s proposed EEO-1 changes

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What HR can do to prevent workplace violence

by Jonathan R. Mook

News reports of yet another workplace shooting have become all too frequent in our media-saturated world. The seemingly constant reports of shootings makes clear to all employers the inconvenient truth that no workplace is totally immune from the possibility that a violent incident will occur. Indeed, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than two million Americans are exposed to some form of workplace violence each year. What are your obligations to protect your employees from acts of violence, and what steps should you take to make your workplace as safe as possible?  Businessman with knife

OSH Act obligations

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Human trafficking prevention and awareness law on the horizon

by Elizabeth B. Bradley

Do you know what lurks in your supply chain? Would you sign a certification subject to the penalties of perjury stating there is no human-trafficking-related activity anywhere in your company’s supply chain? For all federal contractors, the answer must already be “yes.” But new bills pending before Congress will bring these requirements to other U.S. employers.  trafficking

Federal contractors already covered

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Prevent, don’t just pardon, manterrupting

by Dinita L. James

As a woman who has been in the workplace for nearly 35 years, I have a lot of experience with being interrupted by men. I also have experienced many times a phenomenon in which I make a point or share an idea in a meeting that does not appear to catch hold, only to hear the same thing stated by a man to widespread agreement a few minutes later.

As it turns out, those minor annoyances have been the subject of more than 30 years of social science research. In 1985, for example, a Harvard researcher collected numerous studies demonstrating that in mixed-sex conversations, women are interrupted far more frequently than men are. Extensive study of the phenomena, however, has not brought them to an end.Business team issue

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Preventing workplace bullying: Start with training and a good policy

by Sue Woods

Generally, workplace bullying can be defined as repeated unreasonable actions directed toward an employee or a group of employees that are intended to intimidate, degrade, or humiliate. In some cases, workplace bullying may involve misuse or abuse of power by supervisors or managers. In other cases, it may involve a group of coworkers targeting another worker, which is frequently referred to as “mobbing.” Bullying on the job meeting

Legislative bills that propose to address workplace bullying often contain a more detailed definition of unacceptable conduct. For example, in California’s antibullying training law, “abusive conduct” is defined as the conduct of an employer or an employee, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the employer’s legitimate business interests. It could include verbal abuse, verbal or physical conduct that is intimidating, threatening, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. Proposed bills in other states have differing definitions of abusive workplace conduct.

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