Babson College proves it takes diversity seriously

July 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

As of last year, Babson College in Newton, Massachusetts, had two diversity managers, an assistant dean charged with increasing campus-wide inclusion, and a few HR professionals focused on diversity. But the college’s senior leaders decided that wasn’t enough. In March, they appointed Elizabeth Thornton to be Babson’s first chief diversity officer (CDO).

“The senior leadership felt that the college needed one person to be part of the president’s cabinet to develop an overarching comprehensive and fully integrated strategy to help Babson be in the forefront of this issue of preparing students to be effective transcultural leaders in a global marketplace,” Thornton explains.

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Categories: Diversity Strategies

The path to diversity: through a computer?

July 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Could software solve your diversity problems? The National Science Foundation thinks so. The federal agency awarded a $450,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to the Boulder, Colorado, tech firm OptTek Systems, which plans to build a software application that can improve an organization’s ability to strategically plan and manage its workforce.

Issues such as limited talent or an aging workforce “are changes companies are going to have to contend with so they can plan out how their workforce is going to evolve and better strategize how to meet their financial goals,” says OptTek chief development officer Jay April. He says the benefits of the software, called OptForce, include integration of strategic business planning with workforce planning, cost-effective achievement of diversity goals, and increased confidence in forecasting business performance.

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Categories: Ideas for Leaders

Wal-Mart to pay $300,000 to rejected applicant to settle disability discrimination lawsuit

July 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., had agreed to pay $300,000 to a Hardin, Missouri, man to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. In addition, Wal-Mart agreed to provide training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to managers at its Richmond store, notify job applicants about the settlement, and inform several Kansas City-area job service agencies that the company seeks to employ qualified individuals with disabilities. The parties expect the court to approve the settlement.

Steve Bradley has cerebral palsy and uses crutches or a wheelchair for mobility. He applied for employment with Wal-Mart when it was engaged in mass hiring for a new Supercenter in Richmond in 2001. He applied for any available position but was questioned in his interview about his ability to work using his wheelchair and was told he was “best suited” for a greeter position. Ultimately, the company refused to hire him. Afterward, he filed a disability discrimination charge, and the EEOC filed suit on his behalf in federal court in Kansas City.

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Categories: Legal News

Americans with Disabilities Act: Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau

July 21, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), guaranteeing equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. Here are some statistics about America’s disabled population from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • There are 41.3 million people who have some level of disability. They represent 15 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population age five and older.

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Categories: Data Points / Just the Facts

Harrah’s chief diversity officer redefines inclusion

June 16, 2008 - by: Celeste Duke 1 COMMENTS

Traditionally, companies have thought that diversity is all about race and gender. Nowhere is that more the case than in the hospitality industry, which, in many jurisdictions, is held to certain legal standards.

But Fred Keeton didn’t want to just meet those standards. As Harrah’s Entertainment’s chief diversity officer, he has spent the past three years attempting to revolutionize the concept of diversity and, in the process, demonstrate to senior management that inclusion is the key to business survival. “So many professionals are caught up in the old way of thinking about diversity,” he says. “They have not even taken their definition of inclusion beyond the politically correct attachment solely to identity.”

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Categories: Feature

Harrah’s chief diversity officer redefines inclusion

June 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

Traditionally, companies have thought that diversity is all about race and gender. Nowhere is that more the case than in the hospitality industry, which, in many jurisdictions, is held to certain legal standards.

But Fred Keeton didn’t want to just meet those standards. As Harrah’s Entertainment’s chief diversity officer, he has spent the past three years attempting to revolutionize the concept of diversity and, in the process, demonstrate to senior management that inclusion is the key to business survival. “So many professionals are caught up in the old way of thinking about diversity,” he says. “They have not even taken their definition of inclusion beyond the politically correct attachment solely to identity.”

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Categories: Feature

Recruiting GLBT employees makes sense

June 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) professionals are being increasingly targeted by corporate America — as both employees and customers. According to new research, the industry doing the best job of it is the financial services sector. In the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) most recent annual Corporate Equality Index, 32 employers in the financial services industry received a perfect score of 100 percent, the most of any other industry.

Daryl Herrschaft, director of the study, says financial services firms like JP Morgan Chase and Capital One ranked so well for both humane and business reasons. “The GLBT community is estimated to have $680 billion in purchasing power,” he said in a release. “Not only does being good on these issues allow companies to tap into that market, it also creates a more productive workplace and improves recruitment and retention.”

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Categories: Seeking Talent

Do domestic partner benefits make sense for you?

June 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 1 COMMENTS

So you read the previous article and want to make your company more friendly to your gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) employees (and therefore the GLBT community). A good first step is offering domestic partner benefits as a recruiting tool. Simply put, domestic partner benefits are benefits offered to an employee’s unmarried partner, regardless of sexual orientation. Besides being an effective recruiting tool, domestic partner benefits also send a message that all employees are valued equally.

The average benefits plan can amount to nearly one-quarter of an employee’s total compensation package, with roughly half of that devoted to health insurance. For most GLBT employees, the portion of those benefit plans that covers a traditional employee’s dependents is unavailable, creating significant disparity in compensation and the inferred value of that employee’s contributions to the company.

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Categories: Keeping Talent

A study of older Americans: Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau

June 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

Senior citizens — those 65 and older — aren’t just sitting around in their rocking chairs. More and more, they are making up a vital part of the workforce. Here are some statistics about Americans age 65 and older from the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • There were 37.3 million people 65 and older in the United States on July 1, 2006. This age group accounted for 12 percent of the total population. Between 2005 and 2006, this age group increased by 473,000 people.

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Categories: Just the Facts

NY corrections department must pay $1 million for discrimination in settlement with EEOC

June 16, 2008 - by: Diversity Insight 0 COMMENTS

The New York State Department of Correctional Services will pay almost $1 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The department was accused of providing inferior benefits to female employees on maternity leave.

Both male and female employees with work-related injuries were given up to six months of paid workers’ compensation leave. However, pregnant employees on such leave were involuntarily switched to maternity leave at or around the time they gave birth. The EEOC said that practice resulted in lesser benefits for those women due to their sex and thus violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA).

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Categories: Legal News

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