Celebrating Halloween in a Diverse Workplace

Allowing your employees to celebrate Halloween can be a fun experience and a great way to promote motivation and engagement. If you don’t plan ahead, however, you could be in for some scary results.

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Halloween is costumes, and many offices allow employees to dress up for the holiday. Some even encourage it with costume contests. Unfortunately, there’s always the possibility that someone’s poor judgment in costume choice will offend a coworker or customer.

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Categories: Feature

Mandatory Diversity Training Counterproductive

October 18, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

According to a study led by University of Arizona sociologist Alexandra Kalev, mandatory diversity training may do more harm than good while voluntary training designed to advance the company’s business goals pays off in increased diversity in management.

The study examined 31 years of data from 830 midsize to large U.S. workplaces and found that the kind of diversity training used at most organizations was followed by a 7.5 percent drop in the number of women in management, a 10 percent drop in the number of black female managers, and a 12 percent drop in the number of black men in top positions.

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Categories: Ideas for Leaders

Bathroom Etiquette Should Not Influence Hiring

By Robert P. Tinnin, Jr.

Q: This morning I interviewed an applicant for a clerical position in our company. She appeared to be an attractive, personable young woman and was very engaging during the interview. However, I soon learned that “she” is really a “he,” at least anatomically. She told me she is preparing to undergo a sex-change operation but hasn’t yet done so, although she has adopted a female identity. She asked whether, if she were hired, she would be permitted to use the women’s restroom. Frankly, I was a bit taken aback and didn’t know how to respond. I told her I would have to check into the matter. If I hire her, would I have to let her use the women’s restroom? Couldn’t I avoid the issue altogether by simply not hiring her?

A: I would strongly suggest you not attempt to avoid the issue by refusing to hire her. Not hiring her would very likely expose your company to a charge of discrimination — and, potentially, a lawsuit with exposure to damages for emotional distress as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

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Categories: Q&A

Supreme Court Makes Pivotal ADEA Decision

October 18, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Natalie Ramsey

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected the mixed-motive framework for disparate treatment claims filed under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). In reaching this pivotal decision, the Court made it clear that the analysis for age discrimination isn’t subject to the one-size-fits-all mixed-motive analysis applied in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 cases.

Rather, the ADEA’s statutory language calls for a showing that age was “the” motivating factor rather than “a” motivating factor in proving disparate treatment. The ruling is a victory for employers because it requires employees to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that age was the reason for the adverse employment decision, as opposed to simply a reason.

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Categories: Legal News

Hiring Military Veterans Makes Sense

September 20, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

U.S. troops have already begun leaving some Iraqi cities, and we now are about a year away from the target deadline the Obama administration has set for pulling a significant number of combat troops out of that country. The United States has more than 140,000 men and women currently serving in Iraq, all of whom we hope will be returning home and most of whom will someday return to the civilian workforce.

Additionally, there are thousands of employable veterans searching for jobs now. To remind you why military veterans make such good employees, the people at http://www.dol.gov/vets/ have put together a list of the top 10 reasons to hire vets:

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Categories: Feature

Aging Workers Present Golden Opportunities

September 20, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Gary Jiles

A wise employer recognizes that with age comes solid work experience. Thus, it is beneficial to both you and the employee to accommodate the needs of your aging employees. While an older workforce may trigger a few considerations, flexibility and additional training can ensure that your employees (and business) continue to prosper.

Baby Boomers are all grown up and represent a large portion of today’s workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 40 percent of people age 55 and older consider themselves part of the workforce. Before the recession, many companies were becoming increasingly aware of the needs of older workers. However, many initiatives aimed at meeting those needs have been scrapped because of tumultuous financial times. Labor experts now fear that employers are woefully unprepared to meet the needs of the aging labor force.

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Categories: Boomers

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Protection Considered

September 20, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Stephen J. Stine

The categories of persons entitled to legal protection under federal antidiscrimination law have remained the same for almost 20 years. The last major expansion of federal antidiscrimination protection occurred in 1990, when Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect individuals with an actual or perceived disability or a history of a disability.

Now, Congress appears poised to extend federal antidiscrimination law to a whole new level — sexual orientation and gender identity. Let’s look at the proposed legislative measure designed to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and the potential impact on your business if passed.

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Categories: Legal News

AT&T Pays $1.3 Million for Religious Discrimination

September 20, 2009 - by: Celeste Blackburn 0 COMMENTS

On July 31, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas entered a judgment against communications giant AT&T, Inc. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of two male customer service technicians who were suspended and fired for attending a Jehovah’s Witness convention. AT&T paid $1,307,597 to satisfy the judgment.

In October 2007, a jury of nine women and three men awarded Jose Gonzalez and Glenn Owen $296,000 in back pay and $460,000 in compensatory damages for their Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claim. During the four-day trial, the jury heard evidence that both men had submitted written requests to their manager in January 2005 for one day of leave to attend a religious observance scheduled to take place Friday, July15, through Sunday, July17.

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Categories: Legal News

AT&T Pays $1.3 Million for Religious Discrimination

September 20, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

On July 31, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas entered a judgment against communications giant AT&T, Inc. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of two male customer service technicians who were suspended and fired for attending a Jehovah’s Witness convention. AT&T paid $1,307,597 to satisfy the judgment.

In October 2007, a jury of nine women and three men awarded Jose Gonzalez and Glenn Owen $296,000 in back pay and $460,000 in compensatory damages for their Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claim. During the four-day trial, the jury heard evidence that both men had submitted written requests to their manager in January 2005 for one day of leave to attend a religious observance scheduled to take place Friday, July15, through Sunday, July17.

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Categories: Legal News

In Future, Hispanics Will Be Key to Older Workforce

August 16, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

According to the Urban Institute report “50+ Hispanic Workers: A Growing Segment of the U.S. Workforce,” Hispanics make up one of the fastest growing segments of the country’s older population, making them an important demographic for employers. In the report, Richard W. Johnson and Maurcio Soto examined the contributions these workers make to employers and the economy, determining that the overall characteristics of the group should make them very appealing to employers.

Johnson and Soto begin the report by asserting that as Baby Boomers age, the traditional labor pool — made up of workers ages 25-54 — is “stagnating.” The best way to combat that problem, they say, is to look to older workers: “Older adults, whose numbers are soaring, provide a potential solution to employers who seek the experience, knowledge, and skills necessary to get through these tough times. By ensuring that their workforces include experienced and knowledgeable older workers, employers could prevent the loss of key skills and institutional knowledge that could damage their organization’s current and future competitiveness.”

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Categories: Diversity Trends

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