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

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Americans first: Preference for foreign workers can run afoul of federal laws

August 20, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Jacob M. Monty

Making good on promises from earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun cracking down on what it calls discrimination against U.S. workers who are being passed over in favor of temporary foreign workers. The DOJ recently announced a settlement with Carrillo Farm Labor, LLC, a New Mexico onion farm. Following an investigation into allegations by two U.S. citizens that they had been rejected in favor of workers from Mexico, Carrillo agreed to pay $5,000 in fines and comply with ongoing training and reporting requirements. In a separate but related agreement, Carrillo agreed to pay $44,000 in lost wages to five other U.S. workers.  come in we're hiring

Abuse of visa programs as discrimination

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Comments and tweet using variation of ‘n’ word are protected speech

March 19, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Michelle Lee Flores

Actor and writer Marlon Wayans’ use of the term “nigga,” his comments referring to an actor’s “afro” and comparing him to a black character on Family Guy, and his tweet, including a side-by-side photo comparison of the actor and the Family Guy character, were all protected speech, according to a trial court and the California Court of Appeal.  First Amendment

The court of appeal agreed with Wayans that his actions were part of the creative process of improvisation, character development, and writing that resulted in the birth of a character for a film he was starring in, and the tweet was in furtherance of and promotion of the film.

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Pizza discrimination?! Customer sues Florida Domino’s for employees’ alleged bias

December 18, 2016 1 COMMENTS

by G. Thomas Harper

A pregnant Moroccan Muslim woman has sued a Domino’s Pizza franchisee in Davenport over the quality of pizza and treatment she received from employees of the restaurant. The customer brought suit in state court in Polk County against the franchisee, Michael P. Jarvis, both as an individual and as the owner of Michael J.’s Pizzeria, Inc., d/b/a Domino’s Pizza, Store Number 3267. Here is what the customer claimed happened.  Pile of Pizza Hut boxes in a Rubbish Bin

Pizza blows up!

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Preventing discrimination against Muslim and Middle Eastern workers

August 14, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Anna C. Lukeman

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has warned employers to be proactive and take measures against discrimination aimed at those who are or are perceived to be either Muslim or Middle Eastern.  Middle eastern people having a business meeting at office

In her statement to address this issue, EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang said, “America was founded on the principle of religious freedom. As a nation, we must continue to seek the fair treatment of all, even as we grapple with the concerns raised by the recent terrorist attacks. When people come to work and are unfairly harassed or otherwise targeted based on their religion or national origin, it undermines our shared and longstanding values of tolerance and equality for all.”

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At the epicenter of life, death, and work: 4 tough questions for employers after Dallas

July 14, 2016 4 COMMENTS

by Michael P. Maslanka

Dallas has been my home for 32 years. Currently, I live and work downtown. The murders of the five Dallas police officers took place just a few blocks from my home. Neighbors in my building heard the firefight as it unfolded. I am a law professor, and three of my students are police officers. I have thought of them a lot lately.  Dallas at dusk

The public-policy issues on race, guns, and violence are being debated and discussed everywhere from the dinner table to the classroom to legislative arenas. Those issues permeate our workplaces as well. Like the Venn diagrams we learned in high school, which use overlapping circles to show relations between different items, the issues overlap—not by a little, but by a lot. Here are some questions HR, company leaders, and anyone else who is grappling with these issues should ask.

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Biased bias: when protected classifications intersect

June 19, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Connor Beatty

If your company regularly interviews and hires qualified female applicants for all available positions, you may think the company is in a strong position to defend against gender discrimination lawsuits filed by rejected applicants. Similarly, if your company refrains from asking applicants about their age and interviews and hires applicants who happen to be older, you should be able to defend against an age discrimination claim, right? Not so fast.  Bias

Two recent studies found that older female applicants are less likely to be offered a job than older male applicants. What are the legal ramifications of the studies’ findings for employers? If an employee cannot prove that she was discriminated against because of her membership in a protected class, can she nevertheless argue that she was discriminated against because of her membership in a set of protected classes?

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The wrong way to diversify a workforce

May 15, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Lynn M. Mueller

According to the 8th Circuit, three officials of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who were seeking a diverse workforce violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they rejected a white male sergeant in favor of a black female sergeant for a transfer to an equivalent position with materially different working conditions.  Discrimination underlined with red marker

Assistant academy director job opens up

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Recent settlement highlights EEOC’s focus on vulnerable workers

February 14, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Jeffrey D. Slanker and Rob Sniffen

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) highlights several areas in which the agency is increasing its focus, including the protection of vulnerable immigrant and migrant workers. That focus was recently underscored by the agency’s settlement of a case involving allegations of national origin and race discrimination against an Alabama employer that employed Indian workers through the federal H2-B program. EEOC-jpg

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Employees who posed for photo as KKK members lose race bias case

January 17, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Emily Bensinger EdmundsProtest against racism

It should go without saying that dressing up as a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member in modified work clothing at work is unacceptable conduct in the eyes of any employer. As this case from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania shows, three employees who were fired after being photographed dressed in KKK garb couldn’t prevail on a theory of reverse race discrimination.

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