Same-Sex Benefits: A Growing Issue under Obama

July 19, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Same-sex marriage and benefits for same-sex partners are issues that appear to be gaining momentum.  A number of state legislatures and state supreme courts have recently addressed these issues and same-sex marriage is now legal in six states.  President Barack Obama also recently extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, promising that the extension was “a historic step towards the changes we seek.”

The Presidential Memorandum

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Categories: Diversity Trends

New Supreme Court Ruling Rocks the Title VII World

July 19, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its 2008-2009 term in dramatic fashion when it released its decision in a highly anticipated and controversial reverse discrimination case. Although the case had been in the media since it reached the Supreme Court, it became even more intensely scrutinized once President Barack Obama chose Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee. (Sotomayor was part of the three-judge panel that affirmed the opinion of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case before the Supreme Court.)

In a nutshell, the city of New Haven, Connecticut, threw out the results of a written exam used to promote firefighters because it worried that not enough minorities had passed the test. A group of white firefighters and one Hispanic firefighter who passed the test sued the city, claiming that throwing out the test results discriminated against them because of their race. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in the firefighters’ favor. Let’s explore the impact of this important ruling.

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Categories: Legal News

DOL Issues Ruling on Affirmative Action

July 19, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

On May 29, the Administrative Review Board (ARB) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an important decision on the scope of coverage of the nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions of Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA).

Background

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Categories: Agency Insight

The Role of Diversity in Fall of Chrysler

By Sarah McAdams

Embracing diversity and inclusiveness is not only the right thing to do — it also, of course, makes good business sense.

When we think about organizational diversity, we usually first consider the individual level. We want to make sure, for instance, that your gay/Mormon/Asian/disabled/female worker feels that her ability to work productively is not being hampered any discrimination by her coworkers or managers. And then we think of the topic on the corporate level — how the organization’s overall diversity might help attract new employees, customers, partners, and clients. But we also must consider diversity on the industry level, says Michael Schell, CEO and president of RW3 LLC.

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Categories: Feature

DOL Offers Disabled Job Candidate Database

June 14, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The Department of Labor (DOL) has made available to employers a free database of nearly 2,000 job candidates with disabilities seeking employment in a wide variety of fields. The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities compiled the database by sending recruiters to college campuses across the country to interview eligible undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as recent graduates.

“Historically, people with disabilities consistently have experienced difficulties finding employment regardless of the economic climate,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Providing an internship or first job to someone with a disability can provide a real jumpstart in launching a successful career. The Workforce Recruitment Program offers top talent while enabling college students and recent graduates the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience.”

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Categories: Agency Insight

Mr. Mom: A Personal Encounter with Stereotypes

June 14, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Just in time for Father’s Day, employment law attorney Barbara Goodwin reflects on what are considered the “traditional” family roles and reminds employers not to make the mistake of stereotyping men and women and their caregiving responsibilities.

I’m a working mother. I had my first child about 10 days after graduating from law school and have been parenting while working ever since. My husband, on the other hand, is a full-time stay-at-home parent. We’re lucky that we’ve been able to manage to have one of us stay home with the kids, and given the timing, it just worked out best for that person to be him.

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Categories: Flashpoint

He Doesn’t Talk Like Us

June 14, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

By Charlie S. Plumb

As the diversity of our workforce expands, it isn’t unusual for companies to have employees with different cultural backgrounds. In some cases, that may mean your employees speak different languages or sometimes have difficulty communicating. Remember, however, that expressing your concern about an employee’s language capabilities can sometimes lead to an accusation of national origin or race discrimination.

Employee Encouraged to Take English Class

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Categories: Legal News

Integrate Diversity into Other Initiatives

May 17, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Diversity consultant and founder of QUEST Diversity Initiatives LLC Natalie Holder-Winfield, wants to make something clear: “When I say ‘diverse,’ I don’t mean it as a stand-in or as another word for ‘minority.’ When I refer to a diverse workforce, I really do mean people of all different ideas, thoughts, cultures, backgrounds, and sexual orientation — that to me makes up a diverse workforce.”

The High Costs of Ignoring Diversity

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Why Minority Employees Leave Companies

May 17, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

We recently ran across a May 2008 posting from the now-defunct New York Times “Shifting Careers” blog. The topic is still relevant today — exactly a year later.

Author Marci Alboher interviewed Natalie Holder-Winfield, an employment lawyer turned diversity consultant, about her book, Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce.  Alboher wrote that the book “is a well-researched and eye-opening account of why minority employees flee workplaces even when employers have so-called diversity programs in place.”

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Categories: Ideas for Leaders

Mexican Worker Warned to “Speak American” Gets Trial

May 17, 2009 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Marcial Avila worked for Jostens, Inc., a yearbook publisher, in its Topeka, Kansas, facility from 1995 until September 2003. His duties included counting yearbooks, packing them into boxes, and printing and affixing shipping labels. He is a legal resident of the United States but was born in Mexico and spoke Spanish as his primary language.

In February 2003, Avila’s supervisor, Jim Keeffe, issued him a warning for boxing 900 calendars without drilling a top hole in them as required. A few months later, in May, Avila received another warning, this time for failing to do quality checks on a shipment, kicking boxes, and glaring at a coworker. Avila disputed the allegations in the warning, so a meeting was held with Avila, his interpreter, Keeffe, a Jostens employee relations representative, and a union rep. During the meeting, Keeffe told Avila’s interpreter to be quiet and told Avila to “speak American.”

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Categories: Legal News

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