‘Microaggression’: a new form of discrimination?

by Ryann E. Ricchio

Discussions about “microaggression” have become more common in the mainstream media. A simple Google search reveals college websites documenting students’ recently experienced microaggressions and articles analyzing microaggression from major media sources, including National Public Radio and the New York Times. This article provides the definition of microaggression, examines a recent case from a federal court that likely involved microaggression (although the conduct wasn’t described using that particular label), and provides a bottom line for employers.  Boss with employee

What is microaggression?

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Solid job descriptions can ease ADA worries

February 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

Good job descriptions are vital in keeping employers and employees on the same page, but they take on added importance when an employee with a disability needs help being productive. And for employers facing disability discrimination claims, job descriptions that clearly outline the essential and nonessential functions of the job can be crucial.  Job Description

Although the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t require employers to have written job descriptions, they are practical, according to Mary Topliff, a San Francisco attorney specializing in employment law, counseling, training, and compliance. She gave employers tips on job descriptions during a recent Business & Legal Resources webinar and emphasized the importance of carefully considering how the ADA affects job descriptions.

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Which comes first—the Apple or the egg?

by Mark I. Schickman

Gender discrimination has been illegal for barely 50 years. Soon after the nondiscrimination law was passed, companies had to figure out how to address the gender gap and remedy the dearth of women in the workforce—especially in high-level career positions. Providing liberal leave benefits, on-site child care, women’s mentoring programs, and expanded recruitment channels were all typical steps advanced companies would take.  Freezing Eggs

A constant question has been whether a woman can lead both a business and a family. Would she have to choose between a promotional schedule and a biological clock? Or would she opt for a part-time “mommy track”—taking time off to have a child and a reduced schedule to raise it while being relegated to a lower rung on the corporate ladder?

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Avoiding reverse disability discrimination claims

by Andy Rodman

Q As part of my company’s diversity efforts, I would like to reach out to some disability advocate groups to try to fill a few vacant positions. I’m afraid that by doing so, I may be opening up the company to reverse discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Are my fears justified?  Able to Work

A First off, I applaud your company’s diversity efforts, particularly with respect to the disabled — a group that sometimes is forgotten when it comes to outreach efforts. As for your fears, they are justified only to the extent that there is little (or nothing) you can do to stop a rejected nondisabled applicant from filing a failure-to-hire claim based on perceived reverse disability discrimination. Unfortunately, as many companies see from time to time, some disgruntled applicants and employees will sue for almost anything — even if the claims have no legal basis.

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Tribal hiring preference not national origin discrimination

by Nancy Williams

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows employers on or near an Indian reservation to give preferential treatment to Indians living in the vicinity. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that this provision doesn’t permit preference for members of a particular tribe. In the continuing saga of a case that has dragged on for years, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal (whose rulings apply to all Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington employers) recently issued its third decision, finally ruling against the EEOC.  The Right Candidate

Coal company leases have Navajo hiring preference

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Tech giants exploring gender gap within their ranks

January 18, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

What gives? The number of women graduating from college each year passed the number of men marking the same achievement years ago, but women remain underrepresented in the college majors sought by technology employers. That surely accounts for part of the gender gap afflicting tech employers, but corporate culture also is often seen as a culprit.

While it’s still largely a man’s world at the big tech companies in Silicon Valley and beyond, those employers are at least becoming self-conscious about the gender gap in their ranks. Last summer, tech leaders including Yahoo, Facebook, and Google joined the list of tech companies releasing figures showing how they lack diversity.  Gender gap

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Better with age: legal issues with the aging American workforce

by Allison B. Wannop

It is undeniable that the American workforce is getting older or, shall we say, more mature. In The Aging U.S. Workforce, the Stanford Center on Longevity estimates that by 2020, workers 55 and older will make up a quarter of the U.S. labor force, up from 13% in 2000. As the Baby Boomer generation hits retirement age, employers face a host of legal issues. Some landmines are rather obvious. For example, employers cannot terminate an employee simply because of her age.

Other issues are more nuanced. What if an employee is performing poorly because of age-related reasons? Can an employer terminate an older employee whose benefits are expensive? This article provides guidance on some of the issues employers with an aging workforce face.  Age Discrimination is Bad

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New HHS website provides tips for accommodating lactating employees

by Kate DeForest

A lesser-known provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers that are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide a private area for mothers to nurse or express breast milk during the workday. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making the requirement known with a new website from the Office of Women’s Health. The website includes resources for employers that seek to comply with the ACA.

ACA requirements

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Sundown to sundown: when employers must accommodate Sabbath-observing employees

by Gregory L. Silverman

Religious accommodations in the workplace can be challenging for employees and employers to navigate. In our increasingly diverse and religiously pluralistic society, an employee’s religious practices may conflict with practices in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual with respect to the terms of employment because of his or her religion. So when an employee’s weekly observance of the Sabbath prevents him or her from working on a certain day, what is an employer to do? It depends.   Keep the Sabbath Holy

Proving religious discrimination

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Grocer need not accommodate F-bomb in aisle 7

by Kelly Smith-Haley

Most employers know they have to make reasonable accommodations for an otherwise qualified employee with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But you may not know that the task of determining what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation doesn’t fall solely on you. A recent court decision reminds employers and employees that when it comes to reasonable accommodations, the recipe for success includes both parties’ input on what accommodations are appropriate.   F Bomb

Paper or plastic?

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