Getting the most from Gen Y: Research delves into the Millennial mindset

March 17, 2013 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Consider the modern workforce: The up-and-coming Gen Y Millennials sit alongside Gen Xers, baby boomers, and even a few 70-and-older workers who’ve decided to delay retirement or skip it altogether.

Researchers tout an era when four distinct groups inhabit the workplace—those born in 1945 and before, the boomers born from 1946-1964, Generation X born from 1965-1978, and Generation Y born from 1979-1997. Granted the oldest generation makes up a tiny slice of the workforce and many employers won’t have all four age groups represented, but age diversity is a reality that savvy employers can use to their advantage—if they understand what makes people in various stages of life tick. read more…

FMLA leave may be used to care for a disabled adult child

by Edward Sisson

The acting deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Administrator’s Interpretation (AI) No. 2013-1 on January 14 to explain the WHD’s position on who is considered a son or daughter under Section 101(12) of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The administrator concluded that parents who are eligible employees of covered employers are entitled to take FMLA leave to care for an adult child who is disabled or has a serious health condition without regard to the child’s age when the disability began.

FMLA refresher

Under the FMLA, an eligible employee of a covered employer is entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. One of the specified reasons is to care for a son or daughter who is disabled or has a serious health condition.

The FMLA military caregiver provision entitles an eligible employee who is a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty to take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for the servicemember. read more…

EEOC’s use of ‘race raters’ against Kaplan University gets failing grade

by Judith E. Kramer

On January 28, a federal court ruled in favor of Kaplan Higher Learning Education Corp. and Kaplan University in a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC had alleged that Kaplan’s use of credit history reports in making hiring decisions violated certain provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the practice has a disparate impact on black applicants.

Background

The defendant in this case was a group of educational institutions. As the court noted, educational institutions operate in a highly regulated industry. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) provides financial aid to many students enrolled at Kaplan University and Kaplan Higher Learning Education and requires its participants to have in place quality controls that limit access to student and parent information. read more…

Veganism may be a religious belief requiring accommodation

by Rebecca A. Kopp

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has expanded the practices that may be considered protected religious views. The court refused to dismiss a vegan employee’s federal and state religious discrimination claims and permitted the parties to engage in further discovery (the pretrial exchange of evidence relevant to the case).

Facts 

Sakile Chenzira worked as a customer service representative at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for more than a decade. She routinely refused her employer’s requirement that hospital employees receive an annual flu shot. As a practicing vegan, she objected to the flu shot because the vaccine is grown in chicken eggs and vegans do not ingest any animal products or by-products. read more…

The FMLA turns 20

March 17, 2013 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

On February 5, 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) became the first legislation signed into law by President Bill Clinton. On February 5, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Act by publishing new FMLA regulations and holding a special event attended by President Clinton, former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, and others who promoted the 1993 statute.

The agency also released “Family and Medical Leave in 2012,” a report on the law compiled for the DOL that reviewed the status of the FMLA in 2012 and opined on proposals to change the law. The report surveyed 1,812 worksites, some covered and some not, and 2,852 employees, some eligible for FMLA leave and some not. Here are some of the facts from the report: read more…

Keeping the boom going: Baby boomers continue strong hold on workforce

February 17, 2013 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

Today’s workers are likely to celebrate their 65th birthdays with a cake and a short gathering of coworkers in the break room – not with a big retirement party complete with the awarding of a gold watch. Retirement has taken on a new look, and employers must be ready for that trend to continue.

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report in January showing that the workforce participation rate for people 65 and older has been on the rise for the past 20 years but especially during the last decade. The Census Bureau’s new American Community Survey brief says that the percentage of people 65 and older in the labor force increased from 12.1 percent in 1990 to 16.1 percent in 2010. Within the 65 and over population, 65- to 69-year-olds saw the largest increase in labor force participation.

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My wife made me do it

by Mark I. Schickman

People often complain that California employment law is bizarre. My colleagues around the country call our judges “fruits and nuts.” To the contrary, however, while our legislature is farther left than most states’ legislatures and our juries are more profligate than most, our appellate courts are relatively centrist. The award for the most bizarre supreme court employment decision of 2012 goes to Iowa and its dismissal of dental hygienist Melissa Nelson’s sex discrimination claim against her boss, James Knight, DDS. read more…

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Employer faces sex bias case after manager’s comments about choosing work over family

by Rich Voelbel

Work-life balance is a reality that most employers have come to accept. Employees have children, and occasionally, they need to take days off to care for them when they are sick. While managers may not always like the fact that their employees have to miss work, as the case below demonstrates, it’s best to keep remarks about an employee’s children to yourself, especially when they’re directed at only one gender.

Background

Judge David S. Doty of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota recently denied an employer’s request to dismiss an employee’s sex discrimination claim. For four years, Shannon Swider worked in various positions for Hologic, Inc. According to Swider, her manager made comments about her family life and treated her differently than her male counterparts. After she took two days off work, he remarked that her young children were preventing her from performing her job effectively. read more…

Recent EEOC settlements and enforcement actions

by Cynthia Ozger-Pascu 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is continuing its aggressive pursuit of sexual harassment and discrimination claims through systemic enforcement actions.

EEOC settles long-standing sexual harassment suit

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Getting a handle on emotional intelligence can smooth the way for a diverse workplace

January 20, 2013 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Proponents of a diverse workforce understand that an employee group made up of all ages, races, and cultural backgrounds has a lot to offer. In spite of the advantages of diversity, though, employees’ differences can lead to a lack of understanding that holds everybody back. But is there a secret to capitalizing on the strengths diversity brings to the workplace?

An understanding of “emotional intelligence” may be that key to getting past the downsides and realizing the rewards of diversity. Emotional intelligence–how well a person is able to control emotions and understand the emotions of others–is a concept that’s been around for decades. Notably, it’s the subject of a handful of best-selling books by psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman, whose books include Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (published in 2006) and Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence (published in 2011). read more…

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