Financially stressed employees pulling down productivity

July 15, 2012 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

A new employee group has begun showing up vividly on employer radar screens. It’s not defined by race, religion, gender, or any of the other familiar legally protected classes. The new group commanding the attention of employers is made up of workers suffering extreme stress brought on by extreme debt.

It’s always been in an employer’s interest to provide help to employees suffering the various stresses of life – health woes, family strife, and certainly financial distress – but the economic trouble of recent years seems to be taking a special toll on productivity.

Young employees saddled with exorbitant student loans are a notable subset of employees stressed over debt. A recent National Public Radio report profiled the case of a 30-year-old woman who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with bachelor’s and nursing degrees and one more thing – $140,000 in student loans. She’s now employed and making more money than her parents (a school bus driver and a teacher), but she expects to be in her 50s before her loans are paid off. read more…

Categories: Feature / Team in Trouble

Disability etiquette: It should be common courtesy

July 15, 2012 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Marcia Akers

The rules of etiquette define those behaviors that are socially acceptable under particular circumstances. It is not a crime of legal consequence if these unwritten, but widely accepted, standards of proper behavior are broken, but anyone not adhering to them may be ridiculed or ostracized. The Disability Rights Movement popularized the expression “disability etiquette” which describes the guidelines for approaching and interacting with people who have disabilities.

People with disabilities are simply that….people. As it is with all people, those who have a disability have emotions, goals, friends, families, abilities, limitations. And, as it is with all people, those who have a disability deal with life as it presents itself in a way that is comfortable and accommodating so far as they are able and to the extent that our society will allow. read more…

EEOC issues new guidance concerning employment of veterans with disabilities

By Diane M. Pietraszewski

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued two pieces of revised guidance focusing on the employment rights of disabled veterans under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). One of the documents, titled “Veterans and the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Employers,” is directed at employers. The other document ― “Understanding Your Employment Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Wounded Veterans” ― is designed to assist veterans.

The guidance reflects changes to the law as a result of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which makes it more likely than not that certain service-connected disabilities ― such as deafness, blindness, missing limbs, major depressive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder ― may be considered disabilities under the ADA. read more…

Categories: Agency Insight

County hammered with $820,000 verdict for not protecting disabled employee

By Michael Futterman and Jaime Touchstone

California’s Fourth Appellate District recently upheld an $820,000 harassment verdict against Orange County for failing to stop or prevent nearly eight months of continuous harassment of a disabled corrections officer by county employees. Let’s take a look at the case.

Disabled corrections officer harassed online and at work

Ralph Espinoza worked for the Orange County Probation Department as a deputy juvenile corrections officer. He was born without fingers on his right hand. He was able to perform most tasks but was self-conscious and often kept his hand in his pocket.

In August 2006, county corrections officers started blogging about work. An anonymous post to one of the blogs stated: “I will give anyone 100 bucks if you get a picture of the claw. Just take your hand out of your pocket already!” Further blog posts referred to the “one handed bandit” and the “rat claw,” coupled with negative comments concerning Espinoza’s job performance. A coworker alerted Espinoza, and he began monitoring the blog. read more…

Categories: Legal News

Dads Deserve a Break: Family-Friendly Policies Aren’t Just for Working Moms

June 16, 2012 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

Dad usually gets a new tie or some other token of appreciation from the kids in observance of Father’s Day. But what he may want more is a little extra support at work.

Working moms are often at the center of discussions about work-life balance – how to get the children to school and still get to work on time, how to juggle kids’ activities with work deadlines, etc. – but dads can find themselves in the same bind.

read more…

EEOC Issues “Arrest and Conviction Records” Guidance

By Richard Lehr

During the past several years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has increased its focus on employers’ use of background check information, particularly arrest and conviction records. On April 25, the EEOC issued its revised “Enforcement Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The original guidance was issued in 1987 and revised in 1990.

The commission has asserted for several years that arrest and conviction records have a discriminatory impact on African American and Hispanic applicants. Perhaps a culmination of the EEOC’s initiative occurred a month ago with a settlement of more than $3 million with PepsiCo. In that case, discrimination was alleged in the application process based on the use of criminal background information in selecting African American applicants. read more…

Categories: Agency Insight


Disability Charges and Enforcement on the Rise

Since the enactment of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) in 2009, commentators have been predicting a rise in disability claims. Statistics recently released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) show that those predictions have come true. In fiscal year 2011, the number of disability discrimination charges filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rose for the second year, totaling more than one quarter of all charges filed.

Through its enforcement, mediation, and litigation programs, the EEOC won $103.4 million for employees and applicants claiming disability discrimination in 2011, compared to $76.1 million in 2010. That represents a nearly 36 percent increase, the highest increase among all types of charges. And what are the impairments most frequently cited as a “disability” under the ADA? Number one is back impairments (no surprise there), followed by orthopedic impairments, depression, anxiety disorder, and diabetes. read more…

EEOC Declares that Title VII Protects Transgender Employees

By Heather Knox

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that interprets and enforces employment discrimination laws, recently considered whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender employees from workplace discrimination. The case involved an employee who claimed she wasn’t hired by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to work at a crime lab, despite being otherwise qualified for the job, after she revealed that she was in the process of transitioning from male to female. Let’s take a closer look at the case.


Mia Macy, a transgender woman, was working as a police detective in Arizona when she decided to relocate to California in December 2010 for family reasons. At the time, she hadn’t yet transitioned from male to female and was still known as a man. When she learned of an open position in an ATF crime lab for which she was qualified, she applied for the job. She was interviewed over the telephone, and the discussion covered her experience, credentials, salary, and benefits. The agency told her the job would be hers so long as she passed the required background check. read more…

Veterans Soldiering On Through Tough Job Market

May 20, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

The recession has been discouraging to job seekers of all stripes – those with advanced degrees as well as those without higher education, those in specialized fields and those looking for just any kind of work. Certainly job seekers transitioning out of the military aren’t immune to the difficulties posed by the tough job market. This article will examine why some veterans are having trouble transitioning from the military to employment and what employers can do to help.

Not Just a Statistic

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued in March shows how recent veterans are faring in their quest to find employment. Veterans who served on active duty any time since September 2001 – a group labeled Gulf War-era II veterans – saw an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent for the year in 2011. That compares to an 8.3 percent 2011 unemployment rate for all veterans (Gulf War-era II vets as well as vets from other time periods). The overall U.S. jobless rate in 2011 was 8.9 percent, according to another BLS report.

A telling statistic in the March BLS report illustrates the difficulty the youngest veterans are having finding work outside the military. Young male veterans (those ages 18-24) who served during Gulf War era II had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent in 2011, much higher than the 17.6 percent jobless rate of young male nonveterans in 2011. read more…

Clash of the Sash: Miss Universe and Transgender Bias

May 20, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

By Kylie Crawford TenBrook

Recently, Jenna Talackova was disqualified from the Miss Universe contest for allegedly lying about her gender on her entry form. Talackova, who was born with male genitalia but underwent a sex-change operation, indicated on the form that she is female. (Seriously, if an operation can make someone look like that, I’m in.) Amid much media criticism, Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe Organization, changed his tune and announced that the organization was changing its policy from requiring contestants to be “naturally born women.” Now, the contest includes all women.

This story highlights the recent attention given to discrimination against transgendered and transsexual individuals. Because discrimination is a workplace concern, it’s important to understand the extent to which transgendered and transsexual individuals are protected in the workplace. read more…

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