When words used in a disciplinary report suggest implicit bias

September 17, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Barbara J. Koenig

Implicit bias is an unconscious preference for or an aversion to a person or a group of people. In other words, we may have an attitude toward others or stereotype them without conscious knowledge of what we’re doing. If we act in accordance with our implicit bias, we may be discriminating against a person or a group of people without even being aware of our bias. Two recent cases illustrate the fact that HR managers need to educate supervisors on implicit bias and how a seemingly straightforward description of an employee or a workplace incident can suggest racial animus and unconscious discrimination.  Bias

Seemingly innocent words suggest bias

read more…

Don’t let Confederate flags lead to interoffice civil war

August 14, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Connor Beatty

While enjoying a scenic drive along the Maine coast recently, I was startled to come across a giant Confederate flag prominently displayed in a house’s front yard. Less than a week later, a client contacted our firm to ask for advice in responding to an employee’s claim that a vehicle with a Confederate flag bumper sticker in the parking lot made her uncomfortable. While the timing of the occurrences may have been a coincidence, the events are a reminder that the Southern symbol can appear at any workplace, including workplaces in one of the northernmost states in the country. For many, the Confederate flag is an offensive image, and addressing the symbol at work can be tricky. Employers in other states have been sued for ordering employees to remove Confederate flags, while other employers have been taken to court for failing to order workers to remove the flags.  Confederate flag flying

No right to display Confederate flags at work

read more…

When a good employee makes a bad mistake

January 17, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Mark I. Schickman

Brian Williams was NBC’s news superstar, appearing on programs ranging from 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show. He was a beloved regular on the talk show circuit. Since 2004, he was heir to a line of NBC news chiefs flowing from Chet Huntley and David Brinkley through John Chancellor to Tom Brokaw.  Fixing Mistakes

But, next to good looks and a good voice, perhaps an anchor’s most essential job qualification is credibility–being the most trusted news source in America. If people don’t believe you, they’re not going to look to you for the news. So Williams’ world collapsed in early February when questions surfaced about an embellished version of a war story in which he claimed to be riding in a helicopter that was “hit by ground fire.” He made similar comments about surviving “a close call in the skies over Iraq,” “com[ing] under fire,” and “look[ing] down the tube of an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade launcher].”

read more…

Grocer need not accommodate F-bomb in aisle 7

January 18, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Kelly Smith-Haley

Most employers know they have to make reasonable accommodations for an otherwise qualified employee with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But you may not know that the task of determining what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation doesn’t fall solely on you. A recent court decision reminds employers and employees that when it comes to reasonable accommodations, the recipe for success includes both parties’ input on what accommodations are appropriate.   F Bomb

Paper or plastic?

read more…