Can they do that? Firing employees for off-duty conduct

by T. Harold Pinkley

Participating in last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia—an event that involved several groups usually identified as the “alt-right,” along with groups protesting the marchers—has proven to have unforeseen and unintended consequences, including job loss, for some of the people involved. This article examines how you can or should respond when you learn your employees have been involved in controversial public conduct.  protest design - lots of furious people (demonstrations)

Employees feel the backlash

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Cure and punishment

by Mark I. Schickman

In all of the attention recently given to Harvey Weinstein and his ilk, the focus has been on personalities and far too little of it on the systemic problem of ubiquitous sexual harassment. The discussion has been centered on punishment, with far too little said about the cure.  Stop Sexual Harassment red stop sign held by a female

Weinstein himself presents a plain and straightforward case of sexual harassment—a double dose of quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment directed against people who work for him. Miramax claims “shock and . . . utter surprise” at the sexual harassment allegations against him—hard enough to believe. But the legal test is whether Miramax knew or should have known of sexual harassment in its workplace, and it loses under that test. As serious an individual issue as this is for Weinstein, it’s also a bigger failing for the corporate employer that let it happen.

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New research urges a rethinking of 4-year degree requirements

November 19, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

When designing a recruiting and hiring process, few employers would intentionally build a system that automatically excludes qualified candidates. But new research indicates that’s what sometimes happens with employers seeking middle-skills workers. Such a system hurts not just the jobseeker but also the employer hoping to attract and retain productive employees from a variety of backgrounds.  Apply for new job by Application and Resume Document

The research, released in October and titled Dismissed by Degrees: How degree inflation is undermining U.S. competitiveness and hurting America’s middle class, claims that more than 6 million middle-skills jobs in the United States are at risk of “degree inflation”the practice of preferring or requiring a college degree for jobs that were traditionally held by middle-skills workers.

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Office politics: preventing disruptive discourse

by David L. Johnson

Recently, a Pennsylvania YMCA stopped showing cable news shows on the TVs in its gym because they were prompting political squabbles among its members. When filtered into the diverse workplace, passionate opposing political viewpoints can harm productivity and morale and even create liability issues for employers. Sometimes political discussions can morph into something that creates a hostile work environment for a member of a protected class.  Politcs at Work

Keep in mind that the First Amendment right to “free speech” under the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prevent private-sector employers from restricting employees’ speech. Let’s take a look at what private-sector employers can and should do to regulate political communications.

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When words used in a disciplinary report suggest implicit bias

by Barbara J. Koenig

Implicit bias is an unconscious preference for or an aversion to a person or a group of people. In other words, we may have an attitude toward others or stereotype them without conscious knowledge of what we’re doing. If we act in accordance with our implicit bias, we may be discriminating against a person or a group of people without even being aware of our bias. Two recent cases illustrate the fact that HR managers need to educate supervisors on implicit bias and how a seemingly straightforward description of an employee or a workplace incident can suggest racial animus and unconscious discrimination.  Bias

Seemingly innocent words suggest bias

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

Firestorm over Google memo putting ‘diversity of thought’ in spotlight

August 20, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

What was meant to be an internal memo written by a male engineer at Google hit the internet in a big way in early August, igniting controversy that led to the employee’s firing and much discussion about the effectiveness of corporate diversity efforts.  Business people looking for ideas

The now-infamous memo raises questions on many fronts. Among them: Does it make the company vulnerable to claims from women that they endure a hostile work environment? Does it expose the company to legal action from the engineer who was fired? Andin a different veindoes it raise questions about corporate culture that go beyond legal concerns and focus on a type of diversity that’s beginning to gain more attentiondiversity of thought?

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Violent culture, violent workplaces

Action needed to enforce workplace respect for others

by Dinita L. James

Defiant public displays of racism and bigotry have been reported around Arizona. I haven’t witnessed such brazenness since my youth in rural North Carolina in the 1960s and early 1970s. I’m not saying that hearts and minds were changed, but the racists learned to whisper among themselves to avoid overwhelming public condemnation. The coarse culture at large makes it imperative that you communicate with and train your employees on the behavior you demand of them when they’re dealing with others on your behalf.  Businessman and businesswoman handshaking in conference room

Slurs in the stands

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Rural counties must reverse Millennial labor drain

by Dinita L. James

Hillbilly Elegy: Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is the nonfiction best seller by J.D. Vance, 31, of Middletown, Ohio, with roots in the hills of Kentucky. He has gained renown since the November 2016 presidential election as a Donald Trump “voter-splainer,” a tribune of the white working poor.  Work and lifestyle crossroads concept

One thing that stood out was his report that the six groomsmen from his wedding all grew up in Ohio small towns, attended college at Ohio State University, found careers outside their hometowns, and had no interest in ever going back. Just as their parents had left their rural homes for jobs in cities and towns, Vance and his friends abandoned their hometowns for metropolises. Vance, a Yale-educated lawyer, lives in San Francisco and is a principal in a Silicon Valley investment firm. He writes that he has all he ever wanted—going to work each day, taking his dogs to the park, buying groceries with his wife, and making a nice dinner.

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