Question and Answer: Diversity ideal, but not always good for business

May 18, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

As president of San Diego training firm Cross-Cultural Communications, Sondra Thiederman has spent the last 25 years helping companies create diversity programs that actually work. Author of the book, Making Diversity Work: Seven Steps for Defeating Bias in the Workplace, Thiederman’s clients include General Motors, Xerox, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Marriott Corp., American Express, and AT&T. We asked her to shed some light on the right and wrong ways to approach corporate diversity.

Q: You’ve spent 25 years helping companies improve diversity. How have you seen corporate diversity evolve in that time?
A: The biggest change has been in how the word “diversity” is defined. It no longer refers, as it once did, to just race and gender differences. It has been broadened, in most corporate settings, to encompass any ways in which individual human beings differ, including such elements as place of birth, personality, and work style.

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Categories: Q&A

Job-bias charges rose nine percent in 2007

May 18, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Each year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) publishes information about the number and type of discrimination charges employees have filed along with the amount of money it has recovered on their behalf. In fiscal year (FY) 2007, 82,792 private-sector discrimination charges were filed with the agency, and it recovered $345 million in monetary relief for job-bias victims.

Race, retaliation, and sex charges were the most frequently filed. Additionally, nearly all major charge categories showed double-digit percentage increases from the prior year – “a rare occurrence,” according to the EEOC. For the first time, retaliation surpassed sex-based charges to become the second highest charge category. Race-based charges have lead the types of charges filed every year since the EEOC opened in 1965.

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Categories: Flashpoint

Razzoo’s to pay $1 million for sex bias against men in settlement with EEOC

May 18, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Razzoo’s, a Dallas/Fort Worth-based restaurant chain, will pay $1 million and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit. Razzoo’s operates 11 Cajun food restaurants throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolis and also has locations in Houston and Concord, North Carolina.

The EEOC said that Razzoo’s refused to hire or promote men to the position of bartender in its restaurants. Razzoo’s management set up and communicated to managers by e-mail a plan for an 80-20 ratio of women to men behind the bar. Before this pretrial settlement, male applicants and servers were expected to testify at trial that managers told them the company wanted mostly “girls” behind the bar. Men who worked as servers at the restaurants were generally denied promotion to bartender because of their gender. The few men who were promoted to bartender weren’t allowed to work lucrative “girls-only” bartending events.

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Categories: Flashpoint / Legal News

Mother’s Day: May 11, 2008: Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau

May 18, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The driving force behind Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis, who organized observances in Grafton, West Virginia, and Philadelphia on May 10, 1908. As the annual celebration became popular around the country, she asked members of Congress to set aside a day to honor mothers. She finally succeeded in 1914, when Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Here are some statistics about U.S. mothers from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • There were an estimated 82.8 million mothers in the United States in 2004.
  • There were 5.6 million stay-at-home moms in 2006.
  • Among mothers with infants in 2004, 55 percent were in the labor force, down from a record high of 59 percent in 1998.
  • There were 751,322 child care centers across the country in 2005. These include more than 73,000 centers employing more than 800,000 workers and another 678,000 self-employed people or other businesses without paid employees. Many mothers turn to these centers to help juggle motherhood and careers.
  • Of women who gave birth for the first time between 2001 and 2003, 67 percent worked during their pregnancy. This compares with 44 percent who gave birth for the first time between 1961 and 1965.
  • Eighty percent of first-time mothers worked one month or less before giving birth.
  • Fifty-five percent of first-time mothers in the early part of this decade were working by the sixth month after they gave birth. In the early 1960s, the corresponding percentage was 14 percent.
  • Of mothers who went back to work within a year of their child’s birth, 83 percent returned to the same employer. Seven in 10 of these women returned to jobs at the same pay, skill level, and hours worked per week.

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Categories: Just the Facts

Economy and talent drought may force widespread diversity

April 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

Surprise, surprise: Leaders of international executive search firm Epsen Fuller have noticed severe deficits in diversity at the executive level. And they know of what they speak: The firm is the U.S. member of IMD International Search and Consulting, the 14th largest executive search firm network in the world. The firm’s own research reveals that only 10 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Among the chief financial officers — a pool for CEO talent — women represent a measly 10 percent in Fortune 1,000 companies. And when it comes to minorities in the top ranks, the numbers dilute even more: Only four percent of minorities are in executive positions.

However Thomas Fuller, director of the Americas and general managing partner at Epsen Fuller/IMD, says that might end in the near future — not necessarily for the right reasons, but because necessity is the mother of, er, integration. He says companies are already asking for a more diverse slate of candidates as the baby boomer generation gears for retirement; the trend will continue, he predicts, eventually giving firms little choice but to consider minorities and women for senior positions.

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Categories: Feature

Diversity Metrics: Does measuring diversity actually matter?

April 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

Jennifer Melton is the diversity management consultant for F&H Solutions Group, a national HR consulting firm based in Washington D.C. She has had great success in assisting clients like Turner Broadcasting System and Cox Enterprises in their efforts to develop, implement, and measure the success of diversity initiatives. The last step, Melton says, is vital if you want a diversity program to really work. “Benchmarking is an integral part of the planning process—hence the old adage, ‘what gets measured, gets done’,” she says. We asked her to elaborate.

Q: Why isn’t it enough just to create a diversity program?
A:
It is important to measure what has been accomplished through the implementation of the diversity program and also to identify areas of opportunity for consideration in the future. In the telecommunications industry, for example, we would conduct research of local and national demographical workforce data reported to the EEOC and the FCC and use that as a baseline to determine our annual goals. Whether you utilize industry-related data or simply set your own independent “measuring stick,” a periodic and analytical review of your progress each year will help you to more clearly measure what programs/initiatives are having a positive impact and which ones require some minor tweaking or elimination altogether.

Q: What’s the first step in measuring effectiveness of a diversity initiative?
A:
You must hone in on identifying specific goals and objectives to obtain a definitive outcome. I advise all of my clients to ask themselves the following questions: What are you trying to achieve through these diversity/inclusion efforts? Is the diversity effort in response to an EEOC charge or compliance issue? How will you define success once your diversity/inclusion strategy has been launched?

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Categories: Diversity Metrics

More than 300 counties now “majority-minority”

April 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one in every 10 of the nation’s 3,141 counties has a population that is more than 50 percent minority. The two largest counties passing the threshold are Denver County, Colorado, and East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, with total populations of 566,974 and 429,073, respectively. Three other counties were in Texas (Winkler, Waller, and Wharton), with one each in Montana (Blaine), New Mexico (Colfax), and Virginia (Manassas Park, an independent city and considered a county equivalent).

Los Angeles County, California, had the largest minority population in the country in 2006. At 7 million, or 71 percent of its total, Los Angeles County is home to one in every 14 of the nation’s minority residents. The county’s minority population is higher than the total population of 38 states, with the largest population of Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians, and Alaska Natives in the country. It also has the second largest population of blacks and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.

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Categories: Flashpoint

Cinco de Mayo: Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau

April 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the legendary Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, in which a Mexican force of 4,500 men faced 6,000 well-trained French soldiers. The battle lasted four hours and ended in a victory for the Mexican army under Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza. Along with Mexican Independence Day on Sept. 16, Cinco de Mayo has become a time to celebrate Mexican heritage and culture.

Here are more statistics about U.S. residents of Mexican origin from the U.S. Census Bureau:

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Categories: Just the Facts

Passed over for being white, woman gets $2.1 million

April 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

According to the Kansas City Star, a local jury has awarded more than $2.1 million to Melissa Howard, who said she was passed over for a Kansas City judgeship because she was white. A county assistant prosecutor, she was one of three white women who were finalists for the position but claims that the Kansas City Council didn’t choose her because it wanted a racial minority candidate to replace Walsh.

Jurors awarded Howard $633,333 in actual damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages. According the Kansas City Star, the city is self-insured, and any judgment probably would be paid out of its contingency fund, which will total about $5 million after May 1.

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Categories: Legal News

Generation Gap: Perspective key to dealing with generational divide

March 17, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 3 COMMENTS

Here’s something you’ve probably never heard (or said): “Man, those kids in the younger generation really have their noses to the grindstone; they work much harder than we ever did.”

Fact is, there always has been a divide between generations. Each generation clashes and reacts to the one before it. Consider this analogy: The Internet is to Generation Y what rock ‘n’ roll was to the Boomers. Both are considered by the older generations to be fast and dangerous and therefore scary. Both shapes attitudes, unifies, and gives identity to those involved. Just like the Boomers’ parents couldn’t understand what all that loud music was about, the Boomers now can have a hard time relating to the global community Generation Y has found on the Web.

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