The role of leadership in creating transgender-inclusive workplaces

August 12, 2014 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

by Dr. Jamison Green

Corporate leaders agree that diverse and inclusive workplaces are more productive, versatile, and adaptive in a changing marketplace. But often, when managers think of gender diversity, they think only about gender parity between men and women, or about opening traditionally male occupations to women, or vice versa. Creating a transgender-inclusive workplace is an opportunity to create even more awareness about gender, and to eliminate the prejudices and limitations we impose on people because of our assumptions about gender and sex stereotypes.  PositiveLeadership

Employers may not even be aware that they may already have transgender people in their workforce. Not all transgender people will go through an “on-the-job” transition, nor will they be “obvious” in their appearance. Some employees may have transgender family members or friends, and knowing that there are employers who actively do not discriminate against this segment of the population can be a source of relief and even pride.

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Military spouses and their employment challenges: What employers can do

July 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

What employer doesn’t crave a pool of applicants with a strong work ethic, a reputation for being skilled, diverse, motivated, tech-savvy, mobile, and well-educated? Those qualities typically top the list of desired characteristics, but when candidates with those assets are military spouses, employers often pass them up.  MilitarySpouse

Department of Defense statistics claim that 85 percent of military spouses want or need work, but one in every four is unemployed and looking for work. Eighty-four percent of military spouses have some college, 25 percent have a bachelor’s degree, and 10 percent have an advanced degree, according to the statistics, but military spouses earn 25 percent less than their civilian counterparts.

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New mental disorders could lead to spike in ADA claims

by Lisa Berg

What do forgetfulness, menstrual cramps, and social awkwardness have in common? They’re all symptoms of new mental health disorders recognized in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).  MentalDisorders

The DSM-5 is widely used by healthcare professionals to assess and diagnose mental disorders. The practical translation: More employees may qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) than ever before, which means employers must be ready to address issues of mental disability accommodation. This article examines the challenges you face in assessing the new mental disorders and determining whether they constitute a mental disability under the ADA for a particular employee.

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The perils of firing an older, long-tenured worker

by Jonathan C. Sterling

Q We have an employee over age 65 who has been a manager for over 40 years and has excellent evaluations in his file. Recently we have learned that his department is possibly committing fraud in their documentation of paperwork.FiredOlderWorker He doesn’t abide by company policy, doesn’t meet deadlines, and has been written up one time for sexual harassment. Can we terminate him without fearing a wrongful termination lawsuit?

A The fact is, there is often nothing you can do to avoid a wrongful termination claim. The real question is whether the termination is defensible in a legal proceeding. It sounds like you have legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons that justify the employee’s termination. Make sure you have meaningfully investigated each of his transgressions and the results are well documented. It is equally important that you treat the employee the same way you treat other workers who engage in similar misconduct. If other employees in the department engaged in the same conduct, they should be subject to the same punishment. If you have done those things, you should have a solid defense to a lawsuit.

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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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Perception is reality when it comes to disabilities

by Cathleen S. Yonahara

An employee was placed on paid leave because of his medical symptoms. When he was subsequently fired, he sued for disability discrimination. The employer prevailed at the trial court level but lost before the appellate court. The crux of the case was whether the employer “regarded” the employee as disabled even though he didn’t have an actual disability.  ToxicLeadWire

Employee placed on leave because of lead toxicity

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Win-win: Eldercare support helps employees, employers alike

June 15, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

No matter how devoted to the job employees may be, their lives extend beyond the workplace. And an increasing number of employees are finding that their non-work responsibilities include eldercare.  Eldercare

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in September 2013 that 39.6 million people were providing unpaid eldercare in 2011-2012. Many of those caregivers were part of what’s been termed the “sandwich generation” because they find themselves sandwiched between two generations requiring care: their children as well as their parents.

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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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50 ways to list your lover

by Mark I. Schickman

Anyone who has filled out EEO-1 forms knows the challenge of fitting humans into demographic boxes. People’s backgrounds and orientations often defy ready definition, leaving you to your best guess under the circumstances. Facebook has the same problem since checking demographic boxes can be confusing or challenging for users. It has long had the “it’s complicated” box, which acts as shorthand for a relationship status with a difficult definition, but that isn’t specific enough to cover the broad scope of Facebook users’ relationships.  Gender Idenitity Chart

In terms of sexual identity, we started with the term “gay,” moved to “gay and lesbian,” and then to “LGBT,” which added bisexual and transgendered. Then came “Q” and “I.” (Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers about what those letters stand for.) Facebook has now opened the self-description gates wide with more than 50 terms that describe sexual identity. Among the heretofore less frequently used terms are androgynous, pangender, transperson, and gender-fluid.

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Alcohol abuser creates dilemma for employer

by Caren W. Stanley

Q We have an employee in a high-risk, safety-sensitive position who recently admitted to extreme alcohol abuse. We are now concerned that he, his colleagues, and our company are at risk because we can’t depend on his work. We’d like to discharge him, but we’re unsure of the legal risks.  DrinkingAtWork

A Unfortunately, this is a common dilemma faced by many employers. The initial question you must ask yourself is whether you are required to provide the employee leave for treatment. Recall that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination against “qualified individuals with disabilities.” An individual is considered to have a disability if he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

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