A Sterling reputation tarnished

by Kylie Crawford TenBrook, Best Western International, Inc.

In April, recordings of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his half-black, half-Mexican girlfriend assistant* surfaced. Among those remarks were the following:

It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?DonaldSterling

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50 ways to list your lover

by Mark I. Schickman

Anyone who has filled out EEO-1 forms knows the challenge of fitting humans into demographic boxes. People’s backgrounds and orientations often defy ready definition, leaving you to your best guess under the circumstances. Facebook has the same problem since checking demographic boxes can be confusing or challenging for users. It has long had the “it’s complicated” box, which acts as shorthand for a relationship status with a difficult definition, but that isn’t specific enough to cover the broad scope of Facebook users’ relationships.  Gender Idenitity Chart

In terms of sexual identity, we started with the term “gay,” moved to “gay and lesbian,” and then to “LGBT,” which added bisexual and transgendered. Then came “Q” and “I.” (Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers about what those letters stand for.) Facebook has now opened the self-description gates wide with more than 50 terms that describe sexual identity. Among the heretofore less frequently used terms are androgynous, pangender, transperson, and gender-fluid.

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Alcohol abuser creates dilemma for employer

by Caren W. Stanley

Q We have an employee in a high-risk, safety-sensitive position who recently admitted to extreme alcohol abuse. We are now concerned that he, his colleagues, and our company are at risk because we can’t depend on his work. We’d like to discharge him, but we’re unsure of the legal risks.  DrinkingAtWork

A Unfortunately, this is a common dilemma faced by many employers. The initial question you must ask yourself is whether you are required to provide the employee leave for treatment. Recall that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination against “qualified individuals with disabilities.” An individual is considered to have a disability if he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

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Rude isn’t racist: Supervisor’s alleged poor treatment doesn’t amount to discrimination

by Carrie Pond

A Kentucky federal court recently dismissed a claim of hostile work environment racial harassment because the employee failed to show the harassment was race-based. Despite allegations that, if believed, demonstrated the employee’s supervisor “treated [her] very badly,” she failed to establish that the treatment was racially motivated.   Racist Supervisor

Facts

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Are microaggressions a new legal threat in the workplace?

May 18, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

An April gathering that brought together President Barack Obama, three former presidents, and civil rights leaders marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a game-changing law that still guards against discrimination in the workplace and other aspects of life. The impetus for the Act was the kind of blatant bigotry responsible for mistreatment of racial and religious minorities as well as women. The Civil Rights Act has made strides against flagrant abuse, but concern over a more subtle kind of bias is now coming to light: damage caused by “microaggressions.”  Microaggression

Microaggressions aren’t like old-style, overt racism and other forms of bigotry. Instead, more understated insultssuch as praising an African-American employee for being articulate or admiring a Latino’s lack of an accentare raising questions. These comments and actions are what a recent college graduate quoted in a March New York Times article called “racism 2.0.”

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Categories: Diversity Trends / Feature / Flashpoint

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Training employees to eliminate unconscious bias

by Matthew A. Lafferman

Everyone has unconscious or subconscious preferences. Generally, we all prefer to associate or socialize with people who share our background and interests. As a consequence, we often aren’t aware of our preferences, identifying our behavior only when it’s pointed out by someone else. Unfortunately, we carry our hidden biases into the workplace, and that’s when problems may arise.   Bias

Employees’ hidden biases

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Bullying in the workplace

by Amy S. Ybarra

Bullying. We’ve all read the headlines. A child shoots another child who bullied him. A child takes her own life because she was bullied. As a result, schools are teaching kids and parents about recognizing the signs of bullying, reporting troubling behavior, and stopping it before it escalates. But bullying is for kids, and employers don’t need to worry about it, right? Wrong.  WorkplaceBullying

Law on bullying

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Trends in religious discrimination and accommodation

by Alka Ramchandani

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been coming down hard on organizations that are failing to accommodate employees for their religious beliefs. What follows are a few tools and concepts you may use to eliminate the potential of being a target for a lawsuit based on religious discrimination or failure to accommodate religious beliefs.  MoreReligiousAccommodations

Clean-shaven mishaps

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Are we evolving on sexual orientation/gender identity issues?

Many states have statutes prohibiting discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Not all states have such prohibition, and since there is no broad federal prohibition on discrimination by private employers based on either category, that leaves local ordinances to address the issue. A look at what is happening in Texas can offer insight into these trends across the country.  Texas!!

Local ordinances across Texas

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Employers urged to make diversity a business strategy, not just an obligation

April 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

As human resources teams strive to attract and retain top talent, they often turn their focus to the strengths that come from having a diverse workforce. But a new study suggests that a focus on diversity alone may come up short if companies aren’t also thinking about inclusion. The recently released Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report shows that most of the organizations participating in the study say their organizations promote diversity, but not nearly so many see the full business benefits of a diverse workforce. The study report states that leading companies are doing more than just building a diverse workforce; they’re building inclusive workplaces, “enabling them to transform diversity programs from a compliance obligation to a business strategy.”  ThoughtDiversity

The Deloitte study included the views of more than 2,500 business and HR leaders in 94 countries. The survey shows that just 20 percent of the companies participating in the study believe that they are fully realizing all the benefits of diversity.

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