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Thursday, February 28, 2013

EEO Laws - Civil Rights Act of 1991 (1991 CRA)


Confused yet?  There is a law that was produced in 1991 that clearly defined and undefined different legal actions in the name of Civil Rights.  It has a very muddled history, and I certainly cannot do it justice here in my short post.  As always, feel free to leave a comment or opinion below.  Without further ado, let us now discuss...

EEO Laws - Civil Rights Act of 1991 (1991 CRA)

The 1991 Act provided some changes to the Civil Rights Act, correcting and amending things that had come about since Title VII first went into effect.  The 1991 Act allowed emotional and punitive damages to be sued for under Title VII.  It put in place some caps on damages that could be sought in discrimination trials.  It also allowed parties to receive jury trials and reinterpreted disparate impact in law.

Suits?

Prior to the 1991 CRA, there had been a controversial 1989 case that was decided on by the Supreme Court.  In “Price Waterhouse v Hopkins,” the Supreme Court found that an employee that was unjustly bypassed for promotion due to sexual discrimination could not sue because she would have been bypassed for promotion anyway due to performance.  This upset many individuals, prompting action by Congress.  This act sought to merge portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and borrowed some of the language from the failed Civil Rights Act of 1990.  Congress passed the 1991 Civil Rights Act to add some teeth to Title VII, allowing workers and applicants that felt that they had been discriminated against to sue for more than just backpay, but to allow them to seek out punitive damages and damages due to emotional distress. However, it also placed caps on the amounts that could be sought, attempting to limit the use of discrimination lawsuits.

Ending Affirmative Action?

As a result of some last minute language that was added to the 1991 CRA strictly prohibiting race, gender, ethnic, and religious minority status from being considered in any employment process, the government felt obligated to strip Affirmative Action programs from all federal employment processes.  This was not the intent of adding the language and additional language was added with a new clause, attempting to allow consideration for purposes of affirmative action.

The 1991 CRA has been found difficult by the courts to enforce due to the sometimes vague and contradictory.  Again, I am not doing it justice here.  There is a detailed description and history of it over at http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Ca-Clo/Civil-Rights-Act-of-1991.html  that I highly suggest reading.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.



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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

EEO Laws GINA - Follow-up


An old friend of mine pointed out that the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) did not extend out to supplemental insurance.  I thought that it was an interesting thought, so I am following up on it today.  As always, please feel free to leave a comment or an opinion below.

EEO Laws GINA - Follow-up

We had previously discuss how GINA was established to allow an individual work some protections of their individual genetic code.  Employers cannot discriminate against you when it comes to your genetic predispositions and insurance companies cannot treat you differently based on your genetic code.  Some of you may have supplemental insurance through your employer, such as life insurance, long-term care insurance, or disability insurance.  These insurances are not considered medical insurance, and will not necessarily be covered under GINA. 

You most likely have already added a section to your employee handbook describing GINA for your employees.  As employees may become sensitive to this loophole in GINA, it may be helpful to add a one line notice to your employee handbook about what insurance is covered and is not covered by this law.  You may want to check with your company’s legal counsel regarding any questions here.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

EEO Laws - GINA


Have you ever heard of an employer refusing to hire a new applicant on the basis of their family medical history?  Have you ever heard of an insurer charging someone higher rates based on their predisposition to developing a disease in the future?  Both of these situations may be considered discriminatory and illegal.  Today, we will look at this further.  As always, please feel free to comment below with your own experiences and opinions.

EEO Laws - GINA

Continuing on with our discussion of Equal Employment Opportunity laws, this morning I would like to take a few moments to discuss the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).  According to Congress, the term “Genetic Information” includes results from an individual’s genetic tests, results from genetic tests of an individual’s family members, and the manifestation of any disease in any family member.  This act is exactly how it sounds; it protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on their own Genetic Information.  Organizations with over 15 employees will be subject to this law.

Employers and GINA

You are not allowed to collect the genetic information of your employees.  It is illegal to seek out that information or to ask about it, with some exceptions.  Exceptions can include limited access for medical and healthcare providers offering services, for those monitoring the workplace for toxic substances, and law enforcement.  Employers are also allowed to offer voluntary health risk assessments to their employees.  Individuals being served or monitored may be required to complete forms providing the company with written authorization.  Employers may inadvertently receive genetic information when requesting medical information for on an employee.    Employers are permitted to seek out limited information as part of FMLA certification.

To protect yourself, be sure to include a notice when requesting information that the medical providers not include any genetic information with the records that are being sent.

If you, the employer, inadvertently come across that genetic information, you must remember to treat that information as completely private.  Be sure to protect that information on a strictly need to know basis.  You cannot use that information in any discriminatory way.  You cannot base any of your employment or insurance decisions on that information.  You cannot prevent or block promotions or pay increases based genetic data; nor can you harass an individual in any way based on genetic information.

Human Resources personnel should be sure to put up the EEO posters in a pubic and visible place; and which include the GINA law.  Remember to notify workers of their genetic information rights in their Employee handbooks.

Complaints

Employees and applicants have the same full range of remedies available to them as with other statuses under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  They have the right of placing a lawsuit against the organization, seeking damages, reinstatement, back pay, etc.  The employee can file with the EEOC, who may give them a notice of a Right to Sue.  The EEOC may also file the civil suit on behalf of the employees.

There are some people that are concerned that genetic data collected by insurance companies during medical testing could be used to discriminate against them.  This Act seeks to prevent that.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

EEO Laws - Rehabilitation Act of 1973


Some of those that are handicapped/handicapable face challenges and obstacles that are so disabling that they need protections and assistance beyond what is provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This is where my post will pick up, as we discuss another EEO Law today.  As always, please feel free to leave a comment or an opinion in the area below.

EEO Laws - Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Designed initially to replace the older and more limited Vocational Rehabilitation Act, the act of 1973 extended services to the disabled to assist them in getting and maintaining employment.  The document states that the purpose of the Rehabilitation Act was to “to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society.”  Qualified individuals with disabilities are protected by the law; those people having significant limitations in walking, seeing, breathing, working, etc. 

Services

Under the Act, the Rehabilitation Services Administration was established.  This organization is in charge of government grants and funding provided for the aid and rehabilitation of those with disabilities.  It is there to support the operations of various programs including independent living centers, service projects, and Randolph-Sheppard vending facilities.  (Side note:  Randolph-Sheppard vending facilities are government cafeteria and vending areas that are maintained by the blind.)

Employment Protections

Under my post on the ADA, we previously discussed how discrimination of the disable is illegal.  The protections offered for employment by the Rehabilitation Act are the same as those for the ADA.  Any disabled employee or applicant will need to meet the qualifications for the job.  Within reason, a disability may be accommodated for, but an employee would still be required to complete their work as assigned.  Those interviewing a disabled individual should match skills to job qualifications; focus on the person’s abilities versus their disabilities.

Accommodation

Similar to the ADA, Federal Agencies, Contractors, and Sub-Contractors are required to provide reasonable accommodation for those that are disabled.  So long as the accommodation does not provide undue hardship for the company, the employing organization is required to provide accommodation for the handicapped/handicapable.

Affirmative Action

The Rehabilitation Act looks specifically at those working directly for the US Government and associated contractors.  In addition to protection from discrimination, it also requires “affirmative action” in favor of the disabled.  Generally speaking any Federal government contractor or subcontractor with construction contracts greater than $10,000+, or non-construction contracts of $50,000+ is subject to the Affirmative Action dictates of the Rehabilitation Act.  This is

Complaints

Individuals may file a complaint against an organization subject to the Rehabilitation Act if they feel that they have been discriminated against.  The person that feels that they have been discriminated against has 180 days from the time of discrimination to file.  There may be exceptions to this time frame is good cause can be shown.  On the DOL website, there is a CC-4 complaint form that can be completed and filed.  You can review those procedures and the form here:  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/pdf/pdfstart.htm   Failures discovered by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs may push through valid complaints, potentially resulting in payments to the discriminated individual and the loss of contracts.

All employers, especially those that have federal contracts, should ensure that they are in compliance with the Rehabilitation Act.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Status Update

I am sorry that I have not been around as much lately.  Between overflow from work, family illness (including my own), car issues, pet issues, homework for my class, and a whole host of other concerns, this blog has not been my top priority.  Hopefully, some of those other concerns are quieting down a little bit so I can bring you HR content more frequently again.  I am getting back into it, and will be back tomorrow with my next post on EEO Laws.  This one will be about the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Hope to talk to you then!  Please feel free to post any comments below.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blog Temporarily On Hold

I am temporarily placing my blog on hold for the next week or two.  Due to an unexpectedly persistent cold, along with work projects, and other things, my other priorities require my greater attention at the moment.  I expect to be back for my next post by February 20th.

In the meantime, please feel free to post any comments below.


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans. 





Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Follow-up Note on Fun Modes of Transportation

I will return tomorrow with a post on EEO Laws again.  For now, I just wanted to provide you with a quick follow-up to my Casual Friday post on Fun Modes of Transportation at Work .  After my post, I had gotten some additional research back.  The one other thing that you might want to check before installing a slide or zipline in your workplace are your local zoning codes.  Check to see what kinds of permits and inspections are required in the process of building your fun but safe workplace enhancement.  For those local to Phoenixville, here is a link to our zoning codes:  http://www.phoenixville.org/_Departments/CodesAndZoning/ApplicationsAndPermits.html .  Be sure to check out your own local codes and ordinances.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Casual Friday: Fun Modes of Transportation at Work

Google has slides in their offices!  Cowabunga!
Do you have a slide in your office?  How about a fireman’s pole?  Maybe you have a rollercoaster between cubicles?  Welcome to another installment of "Casual Friday," my humorous look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business.  Today I want to talk about fun modes of transportation at work. Please take a moment at the end of my post to comment on any of the amusing modes of transportation in your own workplaces.

Fun Modes of Transportation at Work

What are you doing to engage your employees and excite visitors?  Do you have a slide in your work?  One unique office in the UK has a twisty one that zips workers from the third floor of their building to the ground floor in only 7 seconds.  The slide, built into the Electric Works building in 2009, features 87 feet of steel and plastic.  According to the designer, Toby Hyam, “'We know that it will be a novelty at first, and we don't know whether it will wear off, but if you are having a meeting with a client and people are whizzing past, it will be memorable.”

Management does not need to offer your employees giant slides, Ferris Wheels, or pneumatic tubes to get around - but if you can offer your workers something to make their experience unique - why wouldn’t you?  Understandably, there would need to be necessary risk management, but a fun mode of transportation could be a great perk to offer your employees; draw in the most creative talent.  You can think of it as a fabulous recruiting tool!  Consider that many of Google’s offices feature slides within the building, and they are known for the high caliber of their talent.

Keep it Safe

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does have something to say about these alternative modes of transportation.  For example, OSHA has made the opinion that “Where operations necessitate regular travel between levels a safe means of access must be provided. You should be aware that OSHA does not view fire poles as an approved means of access from one floor level to another.”  While I am sure that this extends to other modes of transport, such as slides, I am researching to find any specific regulations that would cover it.  The one that would clearly seem to come into play is OSHA’s General Duty Clause, which states, “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”  So in other words, keep it safe.  Post warning signs around the fun mode of transportation to help minimize your liability.

How Far Can You Go?

So long as you keep it safe and legal, the sky’s the limit when it comes to finding ways to engage your employees in adding fun modes of transportation.  The folks over in the Scribd offices set up an indoor zipline.  What are you doing reading this?  Go do something fun!

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn