Sign of the times: Jill Abramson, the New York Times, and pay equity

by Mark I. Schickman

The New York Times is the second largest newspaper in America, with about two million papers sold each day. It’s also the liberal beacon of American journalism, with solid-gold progressive credentials. Still, it took the paper 160 years to hire Jill Abramson as its first female executive editor in 2011.  Pay Inequality

In May, Abramson made the surprise announcement that she was leaving that post. Neither she nor the Times expanded on that announcement, except to say that she would be replaced by Dean Baquet, the first African American to take the position. Applying the usual termination formula, neither employer nor employee would discuss the matter, hoping the issue would pass with little comment. You would think the New York Times would be able to manage the news. Not so.

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What employers need to know about immigration reform

by Christine D. Mehfoud

Turn on the news. Open the paper. Click on cnn.com. For months, if not years, immigration has been one of the top stories. Specifically, immigration reform: Will immigration reform happen? When will it happen? And what will it look like if it does happen?

As the 2014 midterm elections draw closer, the immigration reform debate will certainly intensify. And now the White House is joining the conversation, with President Barack Obama threatening to take matters into his own hands. Regardless of their political affiliation or position on immigration reform, employers need to understand what immigration reform means for their day-to-day operations.  Immigration Reform

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Supreme Court addresses, upholds state bans on affirmative action

July 20, 2014 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Holly K. Jones

In a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the court upheld a controversial ban on the use of affirmative action in public education, employment, and contracts in the state of Michigan. For details on the decision and whether it affects your business, read on.  AffirmativeAction

Background

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A Sterling reputation tarnished

by Kylie Crawford TenBrook, Best Western International, Inc.

In April, recordings of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his half-black, half-Mexican girlfriend assistant* surfaced. Among those remarks were the following:

It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?DonaldSterling

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Are microaggressions a new legal threat in the workplace?

May 18, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 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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Bullying in the workplace

by Amy S. Ybarra

Bullying. We’ve all read the headlines. A child shoots another child who bullied him. A child takes her own life because she was bullied. As a result, schools are teaching kids and parents about recognizing the signs of bullying, reporting troubling behavior, and stopping it before it escalates. But bullying is for kids, and employers don’t need to worry about it, right? Wrong.  WorkplaceBullying

Law on bullying

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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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Maintaining a religion-neutral workplace

by Charles S. Plumb

About a year ago, a group of private citizens paid for a seven-foot-tall granite monument of the Ten Commandments and gained approval for it to be placed on the north end of the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. Not surprisingly, a satanic group then asked Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission for permission to erect a seven-foot-tall “homage” to the Prince of Darkness, and a Hindu organization applied to have a monkey god statue join the growing list of Oklahoma statehouse religious monuments. Most recently, the Pastafarians—people who follow the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster—have asked how they can apply for a spot for their statue on Oklahoma’s Capitol grounds. I’m serious.  ReligiousSymbols

What does this have to do with your workplace? Hopefully nothing. But it serves as a good reminder about the potential curveballs an employer can face when religious issues gain prominence at work.

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Discriminatory practices: pitfalls of the I-9 process

by Anders Lindberg

The I-9 process of verifying an employee’s identity and employment authorization can be, as W.C. Fields put it, “fraught with eminent peril.” Failure to comply with documentation, verification, and discrimination laws can result in stiff fines and penalties. And recent settlement agreements between employers and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicate that the government is paying attention. EmployeeFillsOutForm

Background

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Categories: Flashpoint

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What’s the status of transgender employees in the workplace?

by Raanon Gal and Chad A. Shultz

The law regarding the rights of transgender employees is evolving, with a clear trend toward the recognition and protection of the rights of transgender individuals. Just five years ago, employers in the United States likely would not have considered whether transgender employees were protected by federal employment laws. At most, employers would have considered whether state or local laws extended protections to transgender employees. However, the global community has been active regarding the protection of transgender employees’ rights in the workplace, and now it seems that the federal government is on track to join that trend. 

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