What’s gender identity got to do with work?

by Amanda M. Jones

From Bruce Jenner’s announcement that he was transitioning to become a woman named “Caitlyn” to North Carolina’s passage of a so-called bathroom bill requiring schools and public agencies to restrict bathroom use to the facility corresponding to a person’s biological sex at birth, gender identity issues have become the subject of significant policy debate, lawsuits, and mainstream conversation. Gender identity is also increasingly becoming a more prevalent issue in our workplaces.  Gender Identity

Is transgender discrimination in employment illegal?

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Election dynamics in the workplace: Free speech? ‘You’re fired’

by Courtney Bru

None of us were immune from this year’s presidential election dynamics. Disrespect and name-calling have seemed more prevalent than policy discussions. The election was highly polarizing, potentially pitting employee against employee.  PolticalDebate

In the midst of it all, employees were often misinformed about their “free speech rights” in the workplace. A recent instance from Georgia should serve as an example.

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Target to spend millions on single-stall bathrooms

by Ryan Olson

Target recently announced that employees and customers at its stores may use the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Now, amid criticism of its transgender bathroom policy by some customers, the company has said that it will spend $20 million to make single-stall bathrooms available in every store. Target Logo on Shopping Cart

Controversial policy. In an effort to reiterate its inclusive environment and experience, Target announced in April 2016 that its employees and customers may “use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” Target’s new policy was met with mixed results, however. For example, a conservative Christian organization has collected more than 1.4 million signatures from people promising to boycott Target in response to its restroom policy. Nonetheless, other retailers have echoed Target’s bathroom policy.

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Pizza discrimination?! Customer sues Florida Domino’s for employees’ alleged bias

by G. Thomas Harper

A pregnant Moroccan Muslim woman has sued a Domino’s Pizza franchisee in Davenport over the quality of pizza and treatment she received from employees of the restaurant. The customer brought suit in state court in Polk County against the franchisee, Michael P. Jarvis, both as an individual and as the owner of Michael J.’s Pizzeria, Inc., d/b/a Domino’s Pizza, Store Number 3267. Here is what the customer claimed happened.  Pile of Pizza Hut boxes in a Rubbish Bin

Pizza blows up!

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Want to add diversity by hiring veterans? Make sure policies don’t get in the way

November 20, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

This month’s celebration of Veterans Day may have sparked interest among employers to recruit and hire veterans. After all, many employers tout the diversity of thought and skills employees with military experience bring to the workforce. Too often, though, policies and a lack of understanding throw up barriers to bringing veterans on board.  young man with split careers businessman and soldier

State licensing and certification requirements often are responsible for the barriers veterans face, but help may be on the way on those fronts. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released a toolkit to help states knock down hurdles presented by state licensure and third-party certification systems. A DOL blog post explains that the kit includes best practices, tips, and resources to accelerate initiatives from the various states to address gaps in veterans’ licensing and certification.

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Are coworkers out to get paranoid employee?

by J. Steven Massoni

Mental impairments are some of the most challenging disabilities to accommodate. Read on to learn about how one company managed a difficult situation with an employee who suffers from a mental health disorder and how your company should respond in similar circumstances.  Agoraohobia

Imagine this

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EEOC announces new strategic enforcement priorities

by Leslie E. Silverman

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) broke new ground in late 2012 with the release of its first Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) publicly identifying its top enforcement priorities. Since that time, the EEOC’s enforcement and litigation program has largely focused on the priority areas laid out in the SEP:  Book of Compliance

  1. Eliminating barriers for recruiting and hiring;
  2. Protecting vulnerable workers;
  3. Addressing select emerging and developing issues;
  4. Ensuring equal pay protections;
  5. Preserving access to the legal system; and
  6. Preventing systemic harassment.

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DOJ and EEOC release ‘Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement’ report

by Sean D. Lee

On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a joint report aimed at helping law enforcement agencies across the country recruit, hire, and retain diverse workforces.  Police presence at Trump rally

The comprehensive report, “Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement,” presents the findings of a joint research initiative by the DOJ and the EEOC launched in December 2015 to understand the barriers that undermine diversity in law enforcement and highlight “promising practices” to increase diversity. The report arrives amid an intensifying national conversation about race and policing, although it stresses that diversity also includes characteristics like sex, sexual orientation, religion, language ability, and life experience.

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EEOC Richmond office, Mexican Consulate tackle national origin bias

by Jayna Genti

As part of its multiyear Strategic Enforcement Plan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made protecting immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable workers a national priority. Because it has found that “many of these workers are unable or afraid to assert their rights under federal law,” the EEOC has instituted outreach and education, particularly among Hispanic workers, with the goal of making them aware of their rights in the U.S. workforce, regardless of their work authorization status. EEOC-jpg

The most recent outreach efforts of the EEOC occurred last month when the EEOC’s Richmond Local Office and the Consulate of Mexico in Washington, D.C., pledged to work together to tackle discrimination in the workplace and its unique impact on Mexican nationals. Mexican Consul General Juan Carlos Mendoza Sánchez and Reuben Daniels, Jr., director of the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish an ongoing collaborative relationship between the EEOC and the Mexican Consulate.

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Onionheads everywhere rejoice as NY federal court protects their ‘religion’ under Title VII

by Brent E. Siler

The title of this article isn’t a typo or a joke. It’s a literal statement of holding in a recent federal case before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which found that an employer’s conflict-resolution program, which its creator dubbed “Onionhead” or “Harnessing Happiness,” was in fact a religion under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Despite the outrageous-sounding nature of the case, it serves as a reminder that the bar for what constitutes a religion under Title VII is low, and employers that try to force religious belief systems on their employees face real legal risks.  Prayer Group

Sincerity of beliefs is the key

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