To build or not to build? That’s the inclusion question

by Brad Federman

Typically, an organization employs inclusion efforts because it notices there’s a morale issue within a certain group or within the organization as a whole, a legal challenge has been filed against the organization, or there has been an effort to organize a union. Unfortunately, many inclusion or diversity efforts fail because they are reactive tactics used to pacify a group or groups. Even much of the discrimination and harassment training that exists is done to stay out of legal trouble or in direct response to a legal issue. What a large number of organizations fail to see is that a reactive effort to respond to workplace issues actually alienates and disenfranchises many employees.   WorkingTogether

Inclusion has become an approach to working with employees who are different or have special needs. Employees don’t want to be treated well because they are different or because the organization is afraid of a union organizing effort. They want to consistently feel respected, included, and valued. You must develop a strong, clear, and productive culture to demonstrate respect, interest, and value in your employees on a consistent basis.

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Categories: Diversity Strategies


Different pay for unequal jobs OK

by Charles S. Plumb

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) prohibits sex-based discrimination in pay and benefits. Employers shouldn’t pay different wages to employees of the opposite sex for substantially equal work. “Substantially equal” work doesn’t mean identical work. It means substantially equal in terms of required skills, effort, and responsibilities.   EqualPay3

An employer can defeat an EPA claim of discriminatory compensation if it shows the difference in wages was on account of seniority, merit, quantity or quality of work, or any factor other than sex. Such was the case for FNGP, an auto parts manufacturer.

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EEOC issues FY 2013 performance report

February 16, 2014 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

On December 16, 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its fiscal year (FY) 2013 performance report, which indicates the agency is as busy as ever. According to the report, the EEOC received a total of 93,727 private-sector charges of discrimination in FY 2013, making it one of the top five fiscal years in terms of new charges filed. In addition, a total of 97,252 charges were resolved, nearly 14,000 fewer than in FY 2012.  Settlement

At the end of September, the EEOC had a pending inventory of 70,781 charges. The average time to investigate and bring charges to resolution was reduced by 21 days, to 267 days per charge. The report also revealed that in FY 2013, the agency obtained a record $372.1 million in monetary relief for victims of private-sector workplace discrimination. That figure represents a $6.7 million increase over the relief recovered in FY 2012, and it’s the highest amount ever obtained in the EEOC’s history. Overall, the agency secured both monetary and nonmonetary benefits for more than 70,522 individuals through administrative enforcement activities, including mediation, settlements, and conciliations.

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Promising or perilous? Exploring the future of Millennials in the workplace

January 19, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

More than a few HR professionals have combed the Internet, consulted their peers, and examined their own experiences as they search for a crystal ball capable of revealing the future of the millennial generation in the workplace. Some HR pros see enormous potential in well-educated, confident, passionate, energetic, and collaborative team players, while others see the youngest employees as high maintenance—workers who are inexperienced but still feel entitled to high salaries, generous perks, and constant feedback.  Millenials

With all that’s been written and discussed about the youngest generation in the workforce, it’s easy to forget that generational groups are made up of individuals and that not all characteristics assigned to a particular group apply to everyone in the group. It’s certainly possible—maybe even common—to find Millennials who don’t fit the stereotype, but stereotypes persist nevertheless. It’s also tempting to think that some of the workplace inequalities affecting older generations are no longer an issue for today’s youngest workers, issues such as equal pay for men and women in the same jobs. A few recent studies shed some light on where Millennials stand in terms of pay and opportunities as well as the stereotypes they face as they take their place in the workforce.

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ENDA may be coming soon—what will its impact really be?

by John R. Merinar, Jr.

A great deal of attention has been focused on the U.S. Senate’s recent passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The House of Representatives has yet to take up the bill, but there’s much speculation that supporters have the votes necessary to secure passage. Often, supporters can be heard using the phrase “fundamentally transform,” made popular by President Barack Obama, to describe the impact of ENDA in the workplace. But, in reality, the legislation may merely be an example of lawmakers catching up with the citizens they represent.  Senate

Behind the curve

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EEOC to update guidance on English-only policies?

by Amanda Shelby

Chief among the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) current priorities are (1) eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring and (2) protecting immigrant, migrant, and other vulnerable workers. It therefore should come as no surprise that the EEOC might be setting its sights on revising its guidance relating to English-only policies since those policies arguably implicate both of its top two priorities. So what does the EEOC’s guidance currently say? What are the agency’s concerns? And what precautions can you take now to minimize your risks in the future?  SpeakEnglish

EEOC’s current guidance

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‘My meds made me do it’: medication side effects and the ADA

by Connor Beatty

Sometimes an employee who isn’t making the grade may blame his lackluster performance on the side effects of certain medication he’s taking. Although managers may express some skepticism about that excuse, there are times when a cause-and-effect relationship might exist. That appears to have been the case for a Maine lawyer whose medication apparently caused him to make a bomb threat. Moreover, a growing number of courts have recognized the side-effects-as-disability legal theory under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Meds


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Rental car company can’t drive off employee’s suit

by Brian J. Kurtz

Is it technically race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if you terminate an Assyrian employee because you think he is an Arab? An Illinois district court recently faced that question.  CarRental

Less than courteous

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Categories: Legal News


Steer clear of holiday season’s discrimination hazards

December 15, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

December is often a time for office parties, gift exchanges, and general holiday cheer in the workplace, but the season also can bring claims of discrimination and harassment if employers aren’t mindful of a religiously diverse workforce.  Happy Holidays

Legal hazards come in many forms. For example, non-Christians may feel discriminated against or harassed by all the attention surrounding Christmas. Also, non-Jewish employees may have resented menorahs displayed in cubicles earlier in the month in observance of Hanukkah. Employees wanting time off for religious observances also can spark resentment since everybody wanting time off may not be able to get it. Other employees may be upset by office celebrations tied to the season.

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Discriminatory practices: pitfalls of the I-9 process

by Anders Lindberg

The I-9 process of verifying an employee’s identity and employment authorization can be, as W.C. Fields put it, “fraught with eminent peril.” Failure to comply with documentation, verification, and discrimination laws can result in stiff fines and penalties. And recent settlement agreements between employers and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicate that the government is paying attention. EmployeeFillsOutForm


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Categories: Flashpoint


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