Searching for employment often feels like one of life’s most difficult challenges. The job seeker has to find a suitable position, go through the application process, hope to advance to the interview stage, and then find a way to stand out in what may be a crowd of applicants vying for the same job.
Employers looking for the right hire face equally daunting challenges. Matching a position to someone with the right skills, experience, and attitude is no easy task, but successful employers develop methods to help them find the right talent. When reaching out to applicants with some type of disability, though, they may need to alter their process.
by Cristopher Willis
Each year, the United States grants 85,000 H-1B employment visas, and every single one is highly sought after by American companies. These temporary work visas allow companies to hire international applicants with college degrees—often advanced—in a variety of fields, such as medicine and health care, engineering, architecture, accounting, and the arts.
H-1B visas broaden the pool of highly skilled workers from which an employer can draw, and federal guidelines allow their use only when American workers cannot be found. What’s not to love? Just ask the hundreds of Disney employees who were recently laid off.
As Veterans Day approaches, the nation looks at ways to honor those who have served in the military. But honors alone don’t get former service members employed once they re-enter the civilian world. So employers need not just an understanding of the legal requirements related to employing or reemploying veterans; they also need to understand the attributes veterans bring and the challenges they face when searching for civilian employment.
Paul J. Sweeney, an attorney with Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP in Binghamton, New York, logged 29 years of active and reserve service in the Marine Corps, including a deployment to Iraq. He points to important benefits employers enjoy when hiring veterans. “As a general rule, the armed forces sets high standards when recruiting service members,” Sweeney says. “Unlike the general population, more than nine out of 10 of those who enlist in the armed forces have a high school degree. Also, the armed forces screens out those with criminal convictions and drug issues.”
Asking illegal or inappropriate interview questions is one of the easiest ways for an employer to create a risk for discrimination claims. It isn’t unusual for polite, friendly, personal, non-job-specific conversation to be part of the interview process. However, when conducting an interview, you must always be aware that even indirect or inadvertent questions about a protected characteristic can give rise to a discrimination claim.
Friendly may mean illegal
Good job descriptions are vital in keeping employers and employees on the same page, but they take on added importance when an employee with a disability needs help being productive. And for employers facing disability discrimination claims, job descriptions that clearly outline the essential and nonessential functions of the job can be crucial.
Although the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t require employers to have written job descriptions, they are practical, according to Mary Topliff, a San Francisco attorney specializing in employment law, counseling, training, and compliance. She gave employers tips on job descriptions during a recent Business & Legal Resources webinar and emphasized the importance of carefully considering how the ADA affects job descriptions.
As October nears, employers may be hearing a lot about how people with disabilities can benefit the workplace. Every year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) designates October as a time to raise awareness about the value of employing people with disabilities.
This year’s theme–“Because We Are EQUAL to the Task”–was chosen to show employers “the reality that people with disabilities have the education, training, experience, and desire to be successful in the workplace,” according to an announcement from ODEP.
Most employers would agree that STEM careers—jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are on the upswing in both numbers and importance. Most also would agree that there are far more men than women in STEM jobs.
A 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation,” signals a promising future for women in STEM careers since statistics show they earn an average of 33 percent more than their non-STEM colleagues. The problem, though, is a lack of women in those lucrative jobs. The report shows that the percentage of STEM jobs held by women stood at just 24 percent in 2009. An October 2011 report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce in puts the figure at 23 percent.
So the fact that women seem to have some catching up to do is a wake-up call for employers interested in cultivating and retaining women for STEM jobs. read more…
by Tammy Binford
It’ll soon be July 4th, a day many employers mark by declaring a holiday so employees can have time for patriotic celebrations. But many of those people so fervently celebrated – the nation’s veterans – would be happier to be earning a paycheck than to be feted with a parade.
Recent statistics show improvement in the employment rate for veterans over the last year, but officials note more progress is needed. Figures compiled by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University show that the unemployment rate for all veterans in May 2013 was 6.6 percent. That’s down from 7.8 percent in May 2012 but up from 6.2 percent in April 2013. The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans isn’t quite so favorable. It was 7.3 percent in May 2013, compared to 12.7 percent in May 2012.
Despite relatively low unemployment numbers, the picture isn’t all positive. The unemployment rate for the youngest post-9/11 veterans is still well into double digits. The rate for those ages 20-24 was 17.7 percent in May 2013, down from 22.1 percent in May 2012. The rate for nonveterans ages 20-24 was 13.4 percent in May 2013 and 13.2 percent in May 2012. read more…
by Toni Everton
An increasing number of unsuccessful job applicants are filing discrimination charges, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state enforcement agencies are taking a close look at job applications for evidence of unlawful bias. So the question is, what can you ask on a job application? This article doesn’t contain an all-inclusive list of what to ask on a job application; rather, it provides guidance on a couple of issues the EEOC and state enforcement agencies have recently questioned. read more…