International Day: Give Thanks and Decrease Turnover

November 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

November is anchored by the Thanksgiving holiday, but it also contains the United Nations’ International Day for Tolerance  making it the perfect time to thank your diverse group of employees, and celebrate their differences.

That’s what Henry Schein’s Indianapolis Distribution Center does every year around this time. “In 2004, in part arising out of a comment from one of our Team Schein members, we held our first ‘International Thanksgiving Day’ with the intent of paying tribute to the exceptionally strong workforce our diversity has provided us,” says Jay Price, director of operations at the distribution center.

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Cell Company to Pay $435,000 for Unequal Wages

November 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

A New York-based company that refurbishes cell phones at its factory in Long Island will pay $435,000 to settle a wage discrimination and retaliation suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency charged that First Wireless Group, Inc., engaged in a pattern or practice of race and/or national origin discrimination against a class of Hispanic workers by paying them less for doing the same job as Asian employees and by firing those who complained about the unlawful pay disparity.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, after a group of former Hispanic employees became aware that Asian employees were being paid $1.50 to $2.00 or more per hour for performing the same work, they circulated a petition asking for equal pay. Rather than looking into the employees’ complaints, the EEOC said, First Wireless responded by firing them and others they believed were involved.

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Categories: Legal News

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

November 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state getting endorsements from 24 state governments to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994.

Here are some facts about American Indians and Alaska Natives from the U.S. Census Bureau. read more…

Categories: Just the Facts

From Stu to Sue: Transgender Issues at Work

October 20, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 2 COMMENTS

Do you have a policy related to employees who’ve had sex changes? If not, you should consider it, says John Putzier.

“Employers are increasingly adopting nondiscrimination policies pertaining to what are now being called GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) workers, who generally have had no legal protection from being fired if they express a nontraditional gender identity on the job,” says Putzier, the author of the bestselling Weirdos in the Workplace: The New Normal–Thriving in the Age of the Individual (Financial Times Prentice Hall Books).

Indeed, as Putzier points out, The Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, now publishes a Corporate Equality Index that rates companies on their policies regarding workers with nontraditional gender identities.

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Categories: Feature

Association Discrimination: New Lawsuit Trend

October 20, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

We’ve all heard of employees having an advantage in corporate America because of “who they know.” Whether that’s true or not, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has noted that there is a trend of employees getting ahead in discrimination lawsuits because of “who they know.”

Most of you know you can’t treat employees differently because of their age, gender, race, religion, disability, or any other protected class under federal and state laws. But what about a situation in which you’re accused of treating an employee differently because you don’t like the fact that he’s associating with someone in one of those classes? Or what if an employee accuses you of discriminating against him because of a relative’s health condition?

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Categories: Diversity Trends

EEOC: ADA Allows You to Discipline the Disabled

October 20, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a comprehensive question-and-answer guide addressing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to a wide variety of performance and conduct issues. According to the new guide, employers can apply the same performance standards to all employees, including those with disabilities. It also points out that the ADA doesn’t affect an employer’s right to hold all employees to basic conduct standards.

“The EEOC continues to receive numerous questions on these topics from employers and from individuals with disabilities,” said Chair Naomi C. Earp. She says that indicates “that there is still a high level of uncertainty about how the ADA affects these fundamental personnel issues. This document will serve a critical need and enhance compliance with the ADA.”

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Categories: Agency Insight

Court Rejects Government Worker’s Age, Gender Suit

October 20, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Jeffery Akers was a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). He sought a promotion but didn’t get it. Instead, a younger woman was given the position. Akers believed that his age and gender prevented him from getting the promotion, so he filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC rejected Akers’ claim because he failed to establish that discrimination played a role in the decision not to promote him. Not satisfied, Akers appealed to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations, which upheld the commission’s determination. Having exhausted his administrative remedies, he then filed suit in the District of Columbia, claiming he was subjected to discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The case was transferred to the federal court in Alexandria, but the federal judge dismissed Akers’ claims.

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Categories: Legal News

Ford Revolutionizes the Workplace

October 20, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

On October 1, 1908, Ford Motor Company introduced the Model T, generally regarded as the first affordable automobile and the car that industry experts say “put America on wheels.” The first Model T, produced for the 1909 model year, was assembled by hand and sold for $850. The demand for the cars was so high that Ford started producing them on an assembly line, which revolutionized the modern workplace by enabling the company to turn out a Model T every 10 seconds.

Here are some facts from the U.S. Census Bureau about the Model T and the American auto industry that it helped create. read more…

Categories: Just the Facts

Tyson Foods: a lesson in religious tolerance, community relations

September 15, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

Tyson Foods is going a long way toward making employees of all religious persuasions happy. At least that’s the case at its plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee. About 700 of the 1,200 employees there came to the United States as political refugees from Somalia, and most of those 700 employees are Muslim.

Recently, the Tyson plant’s union voted to trade a paid Labor Day holiday for Eid al-Fitr, the religious holiday marking the end of Ramadan, a month-long Muslim religious observance.

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Categories: Feature / Ideas for Leaders

Are all religious holidays created equal?

One might think that the paid holidays an employer chooses to offer its employees is a matter for the employer and its employees. However, when Tyson Foods announced that Labor Day would be replaced with Eid al-Fitr as a paid holiday in its Shelbyville, Tennessee, plant, the response from the public was swift and harsh. The change came as a result of negotiations with the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, after which both Tyson and the union agreed that the change would be good for the Shelbyville plant.

After all, Tyson had required its employees to work on Labor Day for the past 23 years, yet so many employees took off work for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr last year that the plant nearly had to shut down that day, according to union representative Randy Hadley. The contract was put to a general vote before it was finalized, and 80 percent of the union employees voted to accept the contract (approximately 1,000 of the Shelbyville plant’s 1,200 workers are unionized).

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Categories: Diversity Trends

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