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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Training employees to eliminate unconscious bias

by Matthew A. Lafferman

Everyone has unconscious or subconscious preferences. Generally, we all prefer to associate or socialize with people who share our background and interests. As a consequence, we often aren’t aware of our preferences, identifying our behavior only when it’s pointed out by someone else. Unfortunately, we carry our hidden biases into the workplace, and that’s when problems may arise.   Bias

Employees’ hidden biases

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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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Trends in religious discrimination and accommodation

by Alka Ramchandani

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been coming down hard on organizations that are failing to accommodate employees for their religious beliefs. What follows are a few tools and concepts you may use to eliminate the potential of being a target for a lawsuit based on religious discrimination or failure to accommodate religious beliefs.  MoreReligiousAccommodations

Clean-shaven mishaps

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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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Employers urged to make diversity a business strategy, not just an obligation

April 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As human resources teams strive to attract and retain top talent, they often turn their focus to the strengths that come from having a diverse workforce. But a new study suggests that a focus on diversity alone may come up short if companies aren’t also thinking about inclusion. The recently released Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report shows that most of the organizations participating in the study say their organizations promote diversity, but not nearly so many see the full business benefits of a diverse workforce. The study report states that leading companies are doing more than just building a diverse workforce; they’re building inclusive workplaces, “enabling them to transform diversity programs from a compliance obligation to a business strategy.”  ThoughtDiversity

The Deloitte study included the views of more than 2,500 business and HR leaders in 94 countries. The survey shows that just 20 percent of the companies participating in the study believe that they are fully realizing all the benefits of diversity.

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Steps to take toward gender equality

by Dinita James

In the mid-1970s, I wore an ERA bracelet in support of ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). I also had a button that displayed only two numbers and a symbol ― 62 ¢.

The 62 cents signified the then-current national average of women’s earnings for every dollar earned by men. Some four decades later, the ERA appears to be a constitutional dead letter, and women earn about 81 cents on the dollar compared with their male peers.  UnequalPay

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Rise in religious bias claims forces analysis of a multitude of sins

by Rodney L. Bean

Claims of religious discrimination are on the upswing, leaving many employers scrambling to avoid liability for failing to properly manage the complicated interplay between faith and work. Of all the classifications protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, religion perhaps presents the most diverse range of issues for employers. From dress and grooming standards to work schedules and holiday parties, religion’s intersection with employment can affect most aspects of your business. With many employers facing religious discrimination charges for the first time and serving as examples for others, the variety of ways religious claims can arise is quickly becoming clear.   ReligiousAccommodation

Religious bias claims are ascending

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Untouchable? Disciplining employees for disability-caused misconduct

by Nikki Hall and Eugene Park

HR professionals regularly implement employee discipline and are adept at navigating the waters of reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. Mingling those two issues, however, can sometimes pull an employer in opposite directions when it’s responding to, for example, a chronically tardy employee suffering debilitating side effects from medication or an employee whose rude or even threatening behavior is due to a psychiatric disability. Adding to this conundrum is the differing and evolving judicial and administrative guidance.  YouAreLate

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Military downsizing presents opportunity, challenge for employers

March 16, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A thread running through a succession of news stories is sending a clear message to employers: The military is shrinking its ranks and the pressure is on civilian employers to hire more veterans.  VeteransAtWork

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced new downsizing plans for the nation’s armed forces in February, explaining that budget cuts are going so deep and coming so quickly that “we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough.”

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