Tag Archives: equal opportunity

Unintended Discrimination against Older Workers in the Workplace

Age discrimination can be tricky in the modern workforce. For instance, you could be discriminating against your older, more experienced employees without even realizing.

And knowing how these cases are viewed by a court of law is important to protect yourself and your organization down the line.  

In an interesting post on The HR Café blog this week, here’s a situation that many managers could easily find themselves facing:  

You’ve got an older employee named Joe on your team. It’s your job to maximize productivity, and his performance has fallen. It seems clear to you that Joe’s age is preventing him from meeting the demands of his job.

 

Can you transfer him to a lower-paying job he can handle?

  

Read the HR Café Blog article

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Women Are Logging More Hours than Men in Their Jobs

“With this economy, women are taking on more of a breadwinner role in the family, and part of this is working more hours,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.  

In a research study, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the work-life changes since 2009 have affected women more than men. For instance:  

  • Women are working more hours overall than they did two years ago, including weekends
  • Employed women spends 7 hours and 26 minutes a day, on average, doing work
  • Women only have their weekend time for doing household activities and socializing  

Women, who have historically worked fewer hours than men, are catching up as the hours men work are decreasing.  

Read the USA Today article

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Could Your Wellness Program Be Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Wellness programs are a great way to boost employee morale and promote the whole work and life balance at an organization. But could financial incentives for a wellness program be a negative issue for employees with disabilities?  

According to a recent court ruling in Broward County, Florida: It is not a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for an employer to require employees to participate in a wellness plan, or face a $20 surcharge on insurance premiums.  

As stated by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, “The wellness program is not a subterfuge; it was not designed to evade the purpose of the ADA. Rather, it is a valid term of a benefits plan that falls within the ambit of the ADA’s safe harbor provision.”  

Related to this case on wellness program incentives in the past, the EEOC has loosely suggested that any wellness program that is mandatory or involves a penalty violates the Act.  

While no guidelines have been issued at this point, employers and HR should be cautious and check with a legal expert about this wellness incentive.  

Read the Tech Republic article

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EEOC Focuses on Today’s Gender Pay Gap Problem

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has already hosted two dozen events in their focused efforts to address the gender pay gap in America. Fortunately for employees who work in federal government, there is a higher level of equal pay in federal jobs versus private sector jobs.  

As reported by Washington Post columnist Joe Davidson, it is the General Schedule that takes the most credit for keeping down gender-based pay disputes.  

“The General Schedule ensures that the vast majority of federal employees — regardless of gender, age, race or other personal characteristics — are rewarded solely based on their performance, knowledge and experience,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.  

According to the data provided by the U.S. General Accountability Office, women who work in federal government jobs make 11 cents less than their male colleagues. The EEOC is concerned also with the wage gap that exists for women of color and women with disabilities.  

Read the Washington Post article

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Disability Law Changes to Impact Small Businesses

According to BusinessWeek, in 2010, there were 25,165 disability discrimination charges filed with the EEOC, up from 21,451 charges in fiscal year 2009. Now starting in May, numerous small businesses will be impacted by a few major amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

The new regulations specify a whole list of impairments that the EEOC recognizes, including: deafness, blindness, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, and major depression. In September 2008, the ADA was officially amended, and now these changes will be enforceable.  

However, instead of placing the burden of providing proof solely on the employee, the revised Act seeks to hold employers responsible. The message is clear that instead of an employer or HR focusing on whether an employee is disabled, they should focus on the potential discrimination and accommodation they can make available.  

For small businesses, this compliance may cost them more money and resources to respond to claims.  

The EEOC estimated that up to 38 million disabled people may be impacted as a result of these changes, plus businesses may end up spending between $60 million to $180 million to provide reasonable accommodation and any legal costs.  

Read the BusinessWeek article  

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What Can Facebook Tell You About a Potential Job Candidate?

Thanks to popular social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Ning, it has become even easier for HR professionals to find and screen potential job candidates without a big recruiting budget.  

On Facebook alone, there are 600 million active users who spend between 6 and 12 hours each month on the site. It has become cheaper and easier for HR to communicate with targeted candidates on a frequent basis. Plus, there are things you’ll learn about a candidate’s work style and personality that you may never learn from a resume, cover letter, or initial interview.  

For example, you may learn about how acts of unprofessionalism (e.g., badmouthing their current employer), political views, personal interests and hobbies, skills, and more. However, there are legal risks that every professional should be aware of.  

According to a recent CIO Magazine article:  

“If a company gets five, 10, 15 or 20 of these EEOC charges filed in a short period of time, it starts to raise some eyebrows. The EEOC will investigate the claims, and if the job seekers get their right to sue letters, that’s when the candidate has the opportunity to hire an attorney and take their own course of legal action.”  

To learn more, read the CIO Magazine article here

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Employees Are Using Technology to Record Acts of Work Discrimination

Did you know that more employees are secretly using technology to record instances of sexual harassment and discrimination in your workplace?  

According to a recent ABC News report, now with cell phones, audio recorders, and other digital devices, employees are collecting evidence to protect themselves at work.  

Labor experts and employment lawyers say that as cell phones and other digital devices have become more common, employees have gotten increasingly savvy about using high-tech tools to record what they consider discriminatory or inappropriate activity at the office, often in secret.  

Joe Bontke, an outreach manager for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Houston, said he estimates that one-third of the people who come to the Houston E.E.O.C. office to file discrimination complaints bring some kind of digital evidence with them, such as audio and video recordings, email messages, text messages and photos.  

Be sure to visit the below link to read the full story and watch the video of a real employee’s experience.  

Read the ABC News article

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