Dealing with mental disabilities in the workplace

by Jonathan Mook

These days, the news is filled with stories of returning veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental impairments and have problems adjusting to civilian life at home and in the workplace. The issues employers face when dealing with veterans and other employees with mental disorders were put on display by a Virginia case in which an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD sued his employer after he was fired for threatening to harm or kill other employees. The court’s decision provides helpful lessons about handling employees with mental disorders, especially when employees have legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)PTSD word cloud with abstract background

Background

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Looking to hire former service members? Veterans offer advice, encouragement

October 18, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As Veterans Day approaches, the nation looks at ways to honor those who have served in the military. But honors alone don’t get former service members employed once they re-enter the civilian world. So employers need not just an understanding of the legal requirements related to employing or reemploying veterans; they also need to understand the attributes veterans bring and the challenges they face when searching for civilian employment.  Military Veteran Goes to Work

Paul J. Sweeney, an attorney with Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP in Binghamton, New York, logged 29 years of active and reserve service in the Marine Corps, including a deployment to Iraq. He points to important benefits employers enjoy when hiring veterans. “As a general rule, the armed forces sets high standards when recruiting service members,” Sweeney says. “Unlike the general population, more than nine out of 10 of those who enlist in the armed forces have a high school degree. Also, the armed forces screens out those with criminal convictions and drug issues.”

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Prevent, don’t just pardon, manterrupting

by Dinita L. James

As a woman who has been in the workplace for nearly 35 years, I have a lot of experience with being interrupted by men. I also have experienced many times a phenomenon in which I make a point or share an idea in a meeting that does not appear to catch hold, only to hear the same thing stated by a man to widespread agreement a few minutes later.

As it turns out, those minor annoyances have been the subject of more than 30 years of social science research. In 1985, for example, a Harvard researcher collected numerous studies demonstrating that in mixed-sex conversations, women are interrupted far more frequently than men are. Extensive study of the phenomena, however, has not brought them to an end.Business team issue

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Friend or foe: illegal or inappropriate interview questions

by Michelle Dougherty

Asking illegal or inappropriate interview questions is one of the easiest ways for an employer to create a risk for discrimination claims. It isn’t unusual for polite, friendly, personal, non-job-specific conversation to be part of the interview process. However, when conducting an interview, you must always be aware that even indirect or inadvertent questions about a protected characteristic can give rise to a discrimination claim.  Job Interview Questions

Friendly may mean illegal

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EEOC says sexual orientation is protected under Title VII

by Courtney Bru

The last few years have seen a dramatic expansion of rights on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court found unconstitutional the heterosexual definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” in the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). And earlier this year, the Court found same-sex marriage is a fundamental right protected by the federal constitution.  Gay Pride Flags

Another potentially more significant development has received less attention: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently taken the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 affords protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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Policing the profiler: Ageist stereotypes exposed

by Robert Kaiser

There is a common belief in the marketplace that it’s harder to find a job if you are over 50. However, it’s difficult to establish whether that’s true, and there are many advantages to hiring a mature employee. But a recent case decided by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota employers) highlights that certain stereotypes about older workers may persist.  Dont be ageist

Hiring process looks a little shady

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Apps, attitudes pushing employers to walk the walk on social responsibility

September 20, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

More and more employers tout diversity and inclusion efforts in their recruiting strategies, but just putting on a socially responsible face may not be enough to entice today’s high-potential jobseekers. Not only are prospective employees interested in working for employers that are good corporate citizens, they have a plethora of tools available to make sure an employer is truly walking the walk and not just talking the talk on its social justice efforts. Man with Note Pad and Give Concept

For example, websites and phone apps such as GoodGuide and B Corp let consumers and jobseekers alike check out products and organizations on social justice issues. In addition to apps and websites, jobseekers use social media to scrutinize potential employers. With the expanded networking capacity social media provides, jobseekers are empowered to investigate potential employers by interacting with people they know and trust.

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Religious accommodations: Be careful after same-sex marriage ruling

by Brent Siler

Unless you have been hiding under a rock the past few weeks, you know that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states when it issued its Obergefell decision on June 26. Much of the discussion about the ruling has revolved around its effect on people with sincere religious objections to gay marriage and balancing their right to religious freedom and expression with the newly approved constitutional protection of gay marriage.  Dictionary definition of word ideology

The tension between same-sex marriage and the right to religious expression has inspired much debate and controversy. Although you may hope otherwise, you can expect this issue to find its way into private employment settings sooner or later when employees’ sincere religious beliefs come into conflict with different beliefs or workplace policies.

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An EEOC update: Where are we now?

by Christopher J. Pyles

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been celebrating its own birthday this year, marking its 50th anniversary. In August, the EEOC published “American Experiences Versus American Expectations,” a report documenting changes in employee demographics since 1965 and using data through 2013 as an update to a 1977 report titled “Black Experiences Versus Black Expectations.”

The full report, available on the EEOC website, details a number of changes over nine job categories for women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and American Indians/Alaskan Natives. Drawing on decades of data from mandatory EEO-1 filings, “American Experiences Versus American Expectations” reports that participation of women in the “professionals” category, which was 14 percent in 1966, had increased to more than 53 percent by 2013. Moreover, there have been significant percentage increases for African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans in senior-level positions. However, the report also shows that there are still heavy concentrations of minorities in lower-paying positions. The full report may be accessed at www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/reports/american_experiences/index.cfm.

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Managing an injured employee

by Al Vreeland

Few things create more headaches in the HR suite than an employee who is injured on the job and then resists returning to work. HR’s headaches are usually centered at the intersection of state workers’ compensation laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A federal judge in Birmingham dispensed a little relief for one employer’s headache, finding it had done all it could to help an injured employee return to workor at least all it was required to do.  Help! I Fell at Work

The basics

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