The Rule Is ‘English only’! Capice?

June 19, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Lauren M. Cooper

A much-debated issue is whether you may lawfully require employees to speak only English in the workplace. The simple answer is yes. This article will address the circumstances in which you may legally enforce an English-only policy and the potential legal risks that follow.

Status Quo Ante

Employers increasingly ask employees to refrain from speaking languages other than English in the workplace to promote productivity and efficiency and preserve workplace harmony. Certainly, a policy that targets only a particular language or national origin, such as a “non- Spanish” policy, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on national origin. But what about rules requiring employees to speak English while on the job? read more…

Is Obesity a Disability? Jury’s Still Out, but It’s a Serious Matter

June 19, 2011 - by: admin 1 COMMENTS

Even though there’s no definitive rule on whether obesity is a disability under the amended, more employee-friendly Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you should be careful about how you treat overweight and obese employees. One in every three Americans age 20 and up was obese between 2007 and 2008, and about the same percentage was overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One state, Nevada, was considering legislation this year to outlaw discrimination based on physical characteristics, including weight, and survey research published in the journal Obesity and reported in the Orlando Sentinel indicated support for laws against discrimination based on weight.

The U.S. district court in New Orleans has been asked to rule on a recent lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming a woman was illegally fired because of obesity in violation of the ADA. The employer has denied liability, and a trial is set for March 2012. The new ADA doesn’t explicitly say obesity is a disability, but it relaxes the definition for an impairment that substantially affects a major life activity, the cornerstone of ADA protection. That makes it easier for an employee to establish she is disabled and entitled to the Act’s protections ― a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job and protection from adverse workplace decisions based on bias. read more…

Survey Says: While Conditions Are Improving, There’s Still Work to Be Done

June 19, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

The American workforce is ever changing, with women now accounting for about half the work force as well as increased racial and ethnic diversity. Recently, CareerBuilder conducted a survey of  more than 1,300 workers from diverse segments — African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, women, workers with disabilities and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) workers — to find out how these employees are fairing compared to Caucasian males who are not LGBT, and not disabled. Here are some of the findings from the survey:

  • Women and Hispanic workers were twice as likely to hold an administrative or clerical entry-level job as non-diverse workers. African American workers were nearly twice as likely. read more…

Categories: Just the Facts

How to Match Millennials with Mentors: Part 1

May 15, 2011 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Allison Burgess Duke

As a college professor, I am asked constantly how to deal with the work ethic (or lack thereof) and the entitled attitudes of Millennials, the newest generation entering the workplace. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are those individuals born after 1980 ― the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. In less than five years, Millennials will make up almost half the workforce.

The Millenial Workforce

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Categories: Feature

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NQRs Are Ready to Work

May 15, 2011 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

By Mark I. Schickman

The HR world certainly has more than its share of acronyms, having to deal with the EEOC in order to comply with the ADA. And for an employee on leave, the interplay among the FMLA, PDA, and WC are crucial. But there’s a new acronym you need to learn because it describes a sensitive part of your workforce, the NQRs. No, not a “national quality reviewer” or “nuclear quadruple resonance,” but “not quite retired” ― people who retired and left the workforce but have been forced to change their plans and reenter the job market.

A recent report found 433,000 people over the age of 65 who were retired and are now back in the job hunt. They aren’t looking for new careers. They don’t want to manage employees or run departments. They aren’t vying for promotions, perks, or travel. They want to work as little as necessary to get medical insurance. Their food and mortgage are already budgeted, but their savings won’t cover their green fees or vacation plans, so they look for enough extra income to cover that. They probably have more education and a better house than you do, but they are cash-poor: excluding pension and retirement plans, their average bank account is about $30,000 ― not enough for the retirement lifestyle they thought they’d be enjoying.

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Bias In the Friendly Skies

May 15, 2011 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Many employers have had more than their fair share of discrimination allegations. Continental Airlines was accused of race, color, national origin, religious, and disability discrimination in one lawsuit. Let’s take a look at how it did more than its fair share of trying to work with the employee before eventually terminating him.

Losing Control

Meet Alfred Toronka, a black airline employee from Sierra Leone and a Seventh-day Adventist who also expressed a belief in voodoo. He was hired by Continental Airlines in 1997 to work as a material specialist in its technical operations department; driving was one of his essential job functions. He was terminated in 2008. read more…

More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees

May 15, 2011 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau,  37 percent of working women and 35 percent of working men had attained a bachelor’s degree or more as of 2010.  However, when looking at all adults 25 and older, the report showed that  29.6 percent of women and 30.3 percent of men had at least a bachelor’s degree.

The report uses tabulations from the Educational Attainment in the United States: 2010 to “not only examine gender differences in attainment but also provide the most detailed information on years of school completed ever presented by the Census Bureau.” Here are some more facts from the report: read more…

Categories: Just the Facts


Boomers (and Their Employers) Face Work/Life Challenges

April 17, 2011 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Modern medicine continues to increase life spans in the United States. Just as an example, the death rate for heart disease has dropped 60 percent in the last 50 years. The death rate for stroke has dropped even more, by 70 percent. And deaths from cancer have decreased 10 percent just in the last 15 years.

That all means that more people are living well into their 80s and even 90s. One consequence of that fact is that baby boomers — defined as anyone born between 1946 and 1964 — are increasingly likely to face the prospect of caring for their elderly parents. It’s the new “work/life balance” — rather than balancing work with the need to care for their young children, many are struggling to balance the demands of the workplace with the need to care for their ailing parents.

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High Salary + RIF = Age Discrimination Claim

April 17, 2011 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Robert P. Tinnin, Jr.

Q As a result of the economic downturn, we must lay off approximately half of our workforce. In considering whom we should select, it occurs to me that we could save the most money by laying off higher-salaried, nonmanagement employees. However, our higher-salaried employees tend to have the most seniority and therefore are among the older employees in our workforce. Do we have a problem if we use this strategy?

Free HRHero White Paper: Downsizing: Getting It Right from Termination to Engaging the Survivors

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Requiring a “Young and Vigorous Workforce” Isn’t Always a Violation of the ADEA

April 17, 2011 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Law enforcement officers fall into a different category where age discrimination is concerned. Age actually is a reason to deny hiring a police officer.


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Categories: Legal News

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