Hate Crimes Reported Nationwide Remain Steady

April 15, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

According to the 2010 Hate Crime Statistics report released by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program late in 2011 the number of hate crimes reported nationwide in 2010 remained fairly steady from the previous year. Participating local law enforcement agencies reported a total of 6,628 incidents — up just slightly from the 6,604 incidents reported in 2009 — involving 7,699 offenses as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or disability. Alabama showed an increase in the number of hate crimes reported — from nine in 2009 to 19 in 2010, but remained well below the average of such crimes reported in other states.

 

Agencies that participated in the Hate Crime Statistics Program in 2010 represented over 285 million inhabitants, or 92.3 percent of the nation’s population, and their jurisdictions covered 49 states and the District of Columbia. For each hate crime offense type reported, law enforcement must indicate at least one bias motivation. A single-bias incident is defined as an incident in which one or more offense types are motivated by the same bias. A multiple-bias incident is defined as an incident in which more than one offense type occurs and at least two offense types are motivated by different biases. read more…

Categories: Just the Facts

Juggling Act: When Work and Special-Needs Parenting Collide

March 18, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

It’s often easy for employers to be understanding when workers occasionally need to duck out of work early for a meeting at school or a trip to a child’s doctor. It happens to nearly every working parent once in a while.

But what about an employee whose child has some kind of special need, a parent whose caregiving responsibilities are seen as especially time-consuming and difficult to juggle with work responsibilities? An employer in that situation may be sympathetic but worried about getting the job done, even nervous about the reliability of the employee.

In addition to those attendance and performance concerns, employers have to be aware of legal hazards. Can an employer’s treatment of employees with special-needs children become a legal hazard? It is possible. read more…

Employers, Beware of Looming “Pattern-or-Practice” Charges

March 18, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Diane Pietraszewski

The vast majority of all equal employment opportunity lawsuits are filed by individual employees or job applicants. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may file cases on behalf of individuals, but it rarely does so because of limited resources. To get more “bang” for its litigation bucks, the EEOC is increasingly turning to “pattern-or-practice” cases. You should respond to any EEOC charges against your company with that in mind, crafting your responses to avoid creating issues that trigger federal court litigation funded by the agency.

EEOC Focus: Systemic Claims

In recent years, the EEOC has shifted much of its focus to systemic claims, otherwise known as pattern-or-practice claims, which target discriminatory patterns, practices, or policies that have a broad impact on certain groups of individuals. In 2005, for example, the EEOC created the Systemic Task Force for the primary purpose of improving its methods and strategies for targeting systemic discrimination. In fact, although the EEOC has recently filed fewer lawsuits on behalf of individual employees, the number of systemic discrimination lawsuits it has initiated has approximately doubled in the past 10 years. In 2010 alone, out of 165 systemic investigations, the agency obtained 29 settlements or conciliation agreements, bringing in approximately $6.7 million. read more…

Categories: Agency Insight

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This Decision May Not Make the Grade

March 18, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Jeanine Poole

It may seem that requiring a high-school diploma for a job is a correct answer. However, a recent “informal discussion letter” from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates that you may need to do more studying before making that choice.

Background

In October 2011, the state of Tennessee wrote the EEOC, asking whether “the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), prohibits the state of Tennessee from requiring students with learning disabilities to take ‘Gateway tests’ or ‘end-of-course assessments’ in order to receive their high-school diplomas.” The EEOC initially responded by referring the state to the Tennessee Department of Education. However, the EEOC then took the opportunity to address one statement in the letter that raised employment-related concerns for the agency under Title I of the ADA. We want to ensure you are aware of the agency’s position on the matter. read more…

March: Women’s History Month

March 18, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

On March 8, 1857, women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. In 1981, 124 years after that historic protest, Congress established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Here are some facts about American women from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • According to the 2010 Census, 157.0 million females lived in the United States at the time. The number of males was 151.8 million. At 85 and older, there were more than twice as many women as men.
  • In 2010, there were about 71.9 million women 16 and older who participated in the labor force. Of those women, 40.6% worked in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 34.2 % of employed males.
  • In 2010, the median annual earnings of women 15 or older who worked year-round was $36,931 , unchanged from 2009. read more…

Categories: Just the Facts

Beauty and the Best

February 19, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Mark I. Schickman

We have eliminated many forms of workplace discrimination and made great strides toward erasing others. Nonetheless, one form of discrimination ― “Beauty Bias,” as coined by Stanford Law Professor Deborah Rhode ― remains alive, well, and possibly inherent in the human condition.

When babies are shown pictures of adults, they usually reach for the most attractive faces. That bias continues through life. A 1994 study showed that nine percent of working men described by observers as “homely” received nine percent less than average earnings, while 32 percent of the most “handsome” men earned five percent above the average. The most attractive women earned four percent more than average, and the least attractive earned five percent less than average. A study of law school graduates showed that after 15 years of practice, good looks added over $10,000 per year in income.

read more…

A New Genre of Discrimination? Smokers Need Not Apply

February 19, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 6 COMMENTS

By Susan Hartmus Hiser

Q: Our company is considering implementing a policy that would make individuals who smoke ineligible for employment. In doing so, we would save a substantial amount of money on our insurance premiums. Can we do this? If so, how do we monitor employees who claim they have quit smoking?

A: Many industries are implementing or considering “no-smokers” policies. Basically, the premise is that insurance companies are lowering their premiums for companies that have policies prohibiting employees from smoking. However, these are not your typical “no-smoking- in-the-workplace” policies. These policies prohibit employees from smoking ― period, regardless of whether they’re on the job. In addition to lowering health insurance premiums, many employers argue that hiring smokers increases production costs because of smoke breaks and high absenteeism from smoking-related illnesses. read more…

Categories: Q&A

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Firing Someone for Not Acting Enough Like a Man Is Discrimination

February 19, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

By Donna Eich Brooks

The headline of this article was worded very specifically. You may have seen write-ups on a recent opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (the federal appeals court for Alabama, Florida, and Georgia) that announced some seismic shift in the law like “Transgendered persons protected from discrimination” or “Getting a sex change is now protected.” Racy headlines are good for drawing attention. But in this case, it’s important to focus on what the decision really stands for: You are on dangerous ground when you start trying to mandate how femininely or masculinely someone should act.

To Everything There Is a Season . . .

Vandiver Elizabeth Glenn (although her name changes throughout her story, we’ll refer to her as “Glenn”) was born a biological male named Glenn Morrison. From the time he hit puberty, Glenn felt he was a woman, and in 2005, he was diagnosed with gender identity disorder. That same year, he started taking steps to transition from male to female under medical supervision. read more…

New Tax Credits Available for Hiring Veterans

February 19, 2012 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By H. Mark Adams and B. Trevor Wilson

Employers now have a powerful new incentive for hiring recently discharged and other unemployed veterans. Under the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, enacted by Congress this past November, employers may receive significant income work opportunity tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans, including:

  • 40 percent of the employee’s first year’s wages, up to $6,000 (i.e., a tax credit of up to $2,400) for each veteran hired who receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits;
  • 40 percent of first-year wages, up to $6,000 (i.e., a tax credit of up to $2,400) for each veteran hired who was unemployed for a period of at least four weeks but less than six months during the year ending on the hire date;
  • 40 percent of first-year wages, up to $12,000 (i.e., a tax credit of up to $4,800) for each veteran hired who has a service- connected disability and is hired not more than one year after being discharged or released from active duty; read more…

Employing People with Disabilities: What Does New Proposed Rule Mean?

January 15, 2012 - by: admin 2 COMMENTS

By Tammy Binford

Government statistics show that unemployment among people with disabilities is far higher than unemployment for people without disabilities. Year-end figures for 2011 are not yet available, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has figures revealing that the 2010 unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 14.8 percent. That’s more than one and a half times higher than the rate for people without disabilities, which was 9.4 percent.

What may be more startling than the unemployment rate is the number of people with disabilities who aren’t even in the labor force at all. According to data published in December by the BLS, 79.2 percent of working-age individuals with disabilities are outside the labor force, compared to 30.5 percent of those without disabilities.

Now the federal government is trying to take steps to narrow the employment gap between those with and without disabilities by proposing that federal contractors and subcontractors set a hiring goal of having seven percent of their workforces be made up of people with disabilities. read more…

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