The tragedy at Emanuel AME

by Rick Morgan

Today’s current events are rife with bad news. The despicable and senseless murders at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, do not end at the doors of this historical house of worship. The event, however, does bring into focus an issue that our country and workplaces continue to wrestle with on a daily basis—that of race.  Stop Hate

I will digress for a moment to talk about two points. In 1968, as a college freshman, I was fortunate to be able to earn a spot on our college’s basketball team. I was one of the 12 who got to travel and dress for away games. When we traveled, our coach would pair up players to share rooms for the night. One time, he came to me and told me he needed me to share a room with one of my teammates, which I was happy to do. The coach explained he was pairing us together because I was the only one who he felt would have no objections to the room assignment, which I did not. My teammate was black, and I am white. It really shouldn’t have mattered, but that was the unfortunate state of race relations in the 1960s.

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Military downsizing and recruiting opportunities: What HR should know

June 14, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As the nation’s military continues its downsizing phase and unemployment statistics for veterans remain significant, attention is turning to efforts intended to help veterans find jobs. Civilian employers have been focusing on ways to recruit former service members, and more than a handful of states have passed laws in recent months to allow employers to give preference to veterans not just in government jobs but in the private sector as well.  Portrait of a young man with split careers businessman and soldi

Steven Parker, vice president of customer success and business transformation at Achievers, an employee rewards and recognition platform, has a message for human resources professionals trying to bring veterans into their ranks: Change your focus.

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Employers may be liable for transgender discrimination

by Ryan B. Frazier

The legal landscape related to sexual orientation and gender identity has been shifting in recent years. The impact of same-sex marriage on employers and other topics involving homosexual employees and their partners have been featured in previous issues of this newsletter. Recent lawsuits and statements by key governmental officials have now placed transgender/gender identity discrimination and other issues at the forefront. Transgender

There is no universally accepted definition of “transgender.” The term usually refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match his or her biological gender. Transgender is sometimes confused with sexual orientation, but gender identity is an independent issue. Further, some transgender people may undergo medical procedures to physically align their gender to their gender identity. As this article illustrates, employers need to keep an eye on this rapidly changing area of the law.

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Recent events confirm racists, misogynists are not extinct

by Dinita L. James

Last July, the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The focus rightly was on how far we have come as a society in eliminating discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.

Close on the heels of that celebration, however, recent events provide some distressing reminders that bigotry is not dead.

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How to respond to an employee who mentions suicide

by Kaitlin L. Hillenbrand

Q One of our employees recently told the HR director that she “prays for death every night.” Is there anything we are legally required to do in response?  golden gate emergency phone

A A condition that causes an employee to become suicidal may be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In that case, it would be an unlawful discriminatory practice to take adverse employment actions based on her condition, and she may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation. If an employee states that she “prays for death every night,” it might be best to initially address the situation under the assumption that she has a condition covered under the ADA.

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Supreme Court rules against Abercrombie & Fitch in headscarf lawsuit

by Charles S. Plumb

On Monday, June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and against Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. in a religious discrimination lawsuit involving a Muslim job applicant at its Tulsa store. In some ways, the Supreme Court’s decision may have the unintended result of causing some employers to ask applicants and employees about their religious beliefs or trigger unfortunate workplace stereotyping.  middle eastern college girl

Religious discrimination

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Risk or reward? Ex-offenders present challenge to employers

May 17, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

In a quest for workforce diversity, employers go to great lengths to reach out to people of various races, ethnicities, genders, ages, and backgrounds. But they’re not so likely to reach out to those who have spent time in prison. Yet employers often express a desire to be good corporate citizens that “give back” to their communities. Businessman chained to a large ball

So to hire someone once incarcerated for a crime represents a risk since ex-offenders may slip back into their old ways. But to hire people struggling to get back on their feet, support themselves and their families, and generally contribute to their community can be a risk worth taking, even rewarding for employers.

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Employers risk damages, civil money penalties for improper I-9 and E-Verify procedures

by Mary Pivec

Employers face a high cost if they are accused of engaging in discriminatory employment verification procedures. The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Discrimination (OSC) in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has made it a priority to pursue employers that allegedly misuse or abuse their access to the E-Verify program and unlawfully discriminate against applicants and employees in hiring and termination on the basis of their citizenship status or engage in document abuse.  Employment Verification Information

Employers suspected of a pattern or practice of discriminatory employment verification procedures could face months of costly investigation and be forced to pay civil money penalties, back wages, and punitive damages. What’s more, they could be barred from participating in the E-Verify program, lose the right to do business in some areas, and face debarment from federal contracting rights.

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Here come the feds! POTUS, DOJ, DOL, and EEOC weigh in on LGBT issues

by Geoffrey D. Rieder

Significant expansion of the antidiscrimination protections afforded to members of the LGBT community was accomplished in 2014 through executive action by President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the attorney general (AG). The push for more protection of LGBT employees culminated in two lawsuits in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) challenged the layoff and termination of employees undergoing gender transition procedures. The EEOC’s litigation posture, bolstered by executive action, suggests that employers should anticipate increased enforcement activity in this unsettled area.  Pride flag at city hall

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has always prohibited discrimination, harassment, and retaliation “because of sex” and “on the basis of sex.” Some states have adopted statutes that broaden that concept to include not only “sex” but also “sexual orientation [and] gender identity.” Although Title VII doesn’t explicitly prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, the EEOC has now taken the position that discrimination based on gender identity (specifically, a “change in gender”) is discrimination “based on sex.” Similar pronouncements are found in the EEOC’s “Strategic Enforcement Plan, FY 2013-2016,” issued on December 17, 2012. However, many federal courts around the country have ruled that the language of Title VII doesn’t extend to the issues encompassed by the new executive actions.

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Adverse employment action because of accent is illegal

by Joseph Cooper

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of national origin in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, and job assignments. Because an employee’s accent or language skills are often associated with her national origin, employment decisions based on those characteristics are scrutinized closely by courts and administrative tribunals. A recent decision from the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (RICHR) illustrates that point.  Time for a conversation

Teacher wants to take English classes

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