Payday loans

July 26, 2013

ADA Turns 23!

Signed into law July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turns 23 today!    The ADA provides civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities ensuring equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations, public transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

The current text of the ADA includes changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which became effective on January 1, 2009.  Another of the ADA regulations includes its ADA Standards for Accessible Design providing disabled individuals more physical freedom to access buildings, work sites, housing, transportation, and other places previously inaccessible to them.

Employers will find this website especially helpful for guidance on workplace accommodations for disabled employees and applicants, as well as programs to help them affirmatively recruit disabled individuals.

Check out the Disability.gov website that provides comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide.

Source:  www.USA.gov

Share

May 22, 2012

Exploring Affirmative Action: Components and Communication

Filed under: Affirmative Action,Employment Law12:16 pm

This month, HRN’s focus is on bringing you information about affirmative action plans.  Last week, my blog outlined the history of affirmative action and the laws that require them.  Today, we’re continuing the discussion with some information about financial institutions, an overview of the basic components of affirmative action, and effectively communicating your plan to stakeholders.

What about financial institutions?

In practical terms, implementation of a written affirmative action plan applies to many employers.  In addition to those required under the terms above, financial institutions that serve as depositories of federal funds, or are covered under Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are also subject to affirmative action plans.  Prior to January 1, 2012, banks and credit unions were subject to affirmative action if they sold U.S. Savings Bonds, but now the U.S. Treasury Department sells all bonds through its site directly.

So, if a credit union does not serve as a depository for federal funds, is it required to maintain a written affirmative action plan?  According to the OFCCP, the answer is “Yes.”  A government contract has been consistently defined as “Any agreement or agreement modification between any contracting agency and any person for the purchase, sale or use of personal property or nonpersonal services. The term ‘nonpersonal services’ includes, but is not limited to, the following services: utilities, construction, transportation, research, insurance, and fund depository. This definition thus explicitly includes agreements for insurance.” For the full answer, see: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/faqs/emprfaqs.htm#Q5

Components of an Affirmative Action Plan

Organizations are required to complete three affirmative action plans on an annual basis:

  1. A plan for Minorities and Women
  2. A plan for Individuals with Disabilities
  3. A plan for Veterans

The Minorities and Women plan includes narratives along with various statistical analyses, including incumbency vs. estimated availability.  However, the Individuals with Disabilities and Veterans plans do not require statistical analysis, and can be combined into a single narrative report.  The Individuals with Disabilities and Veterans plans are required to include full disclosure to applicants and employees who would like to view them.

Communication

One of the requirements of affirmative action is that organizations design reporting mechanisms that provide their management with an understanding of the company’s plan and placement goals.  Conduct meetings to communicate the annual plan and implementation strategies.  Use staff meetings and the Intranet site to inform employees of affirmative action policies and make sure that all required notices are posted at every work location.  Be proactive and inform executive management of any problems in their areas so that they can be addressed immediately.  Finally, share the organization’s accomplishments with administrators and supervisors as appropriate so they know if placement goals have been achieved.

Look for more as May comes to a close.  Have you signed up for our legal alerts and free Whitepapers?  You can register here: www.hrnonline.com.  Sign up soon, so you won’t miss this month’s edition, all about affirmative action.  You also receive access to our archive, with topics that range from employee development, policies, succession planning, effective interviewing, and much more.

Share

May 10, 2012

Affirmative Action: What it is (and what it isn’t)

Filed under: Affirmative Action9:00 am

In its 50 year history, the term “affirmative action” has evolved, but at the core, remains the same.  In March 1961, President Kennedy enacted Executive Order 10925, which mandated that projects financed with federal funds “take affirmative action” in making hiring decisions without racial bias.  Three years later, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.  In a speech to graduates at Howard University:

“We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.”

Today, affirmative action applies to minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.  Legislation governing affirmative action spans the areas of education, government contracts, and employment.  Most of the controversy surrounding affirmative action is at it relates to higher education.  The Supreme Court decision California Board of Regents v. Bakke held that providing greater opportunities for minorities should not come at the expense of the rights of the majority.

In employment, affirmative action should help organizations to diversify their workforce so that it represents the community at large.

Affirmative action is not:

  • A quota system meant to hire a specific number of minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, or veterans.
  • Intended to incite employers to hire an unqualified individual over a more qualified individual.
  • Meant to tip the scale so that reverse discrimination is created.

Executive Order 11246 requires contractors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a contract of $50,000 or more to develop and carry out a written affirmative action plan for minorities.  Executive Order 11375 defines the same criteria as it relates to women.  Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 covers individuals with disabilities under the same requirements; Section 402 of The Vietnam-Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 and The Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998 requires the same for disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam War, and any other Veterans who have served active duty.  The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is responsible for enforcing these laws.

This month, we will continue to discuss affirmative action.  Look for much more in our newsletter, coming next week.

HRN can help with your affirmative action plans.  Contact me for more information.

Read more: Affirmative Action Timeline — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/affirmativetimeline1.html#ixzz1uTMuAm9a

Share

November 10, 2011

Increasing ROI by Making the Pledge: Think Beyond the Label

Placing high value on diversity in the workplace is an undeniable best practice in any company.  Most businesses know that tax credits exist – both federal and state – for companies who hire people with disabilities.  Until recently, however, it was a challenge to determine the monetary value of those tax incentives.  An online resource, called Hire Gauge, was launched in September in an effort to show the true incentive in hiring people with disabilities.

Think Beyond the Label is a public-private partnership that advocates to increase employment for people with disabilities.  Users launch the free tool from their site and input their state and basic company information.  Based on answers to a short questionnaire, businesses can quickly see the aggregate tax credits and incentives they could receive for each new hire with a disability.

Consider this example company with more than 30 employees in the California IT industry (more than $1 million in revenue annually): Federal Worker Opportunities Credit, Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction, savings of hiring through a vocational rehabilitation program, and credit for hiring a veteran with a service-connected disability (VA reimbursement).  The company is eligible for about $49,300 in total savings.  That figure is almost enough to pay the employee’s first year salary ($60,000).  If you”re concerned about the cost of making accommodations, research shows you shouldn”t be.  Over half of all accommodations cost less than $500 to implement, and most are no-cost.

When the questionnaire is completed, you can share your results on Twitter, Facebook, or by email to spread the word.  There are also informative state-specific links for more information.  The biggest benefit to this resource is seeing all of the numbers added up together.  Users can also find resources such as best practices for sourcing qualified workers and a tax incentives tip sheet.

Join me, and make the pledge to think beyond the label.

 

Share

October 26, 2011

OFCCP: Do Financial Institutions Still Need Affirmative Action Plans??

Filed under: Affirmative Action,Compliance,General HR Buzz — Tags: 11:01 am

You may have already heard that beginning January 1, 2012, financial institutions will no longer sell U.S. savings bonds.  In order to buy savings bonds, you will need to do so through the U.S. Treasury Department’s website:  http://treasurydirect.gov.

So what does that have to do with affirmative action obligations?  Well, if you are a bank or a credit union, you may have maintained an Affirmative Action plan based on the fact that you issue U.S. savings bonds, one of the criteria under Executive Order 11246.  The Executive Order identifies the criteria that subjects financial institutions to federal affirmative action requirements:

  • The institution is issuing and paying agents for U.S. savings bonds and notes in any amounts (no longer applicable after January 1, 2012)
  • The institution serves as a depository of government funds in any amount
  • The institution holds a prime or subcontract with the federal government of at least $50,000

So, if financial institutions are no longer issuing U.S. savings bonds, then are they relieved of their obligation to maintain an affirmative action plan?  Well, in plain language the answer is probably “no.”  The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) takes the position that financial institutions participating in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Association (NCUA) programs are still subject to the agency’s jurisdiction.

As for next steps, financial institutions should review whether they must continue to prepare written affirmative action plans.  The OFCCP’s opinion is that financial institutions that serve as a depository of government funds in any amounts, participate in FDIC or NCUA programs, or hold a federal contract or subcontract of at least $50,000 should continue to prepare affirmative action plans even after Jan. 1, 2012.  You may want to consult your Legal Counsel to review your specific situation.

If you do need to complete an Affirmative Action Plan, you probably already know that implementation and maintenance of an affirmative action plan can be an administrative behemoth.  Let the consultants at HRN help!  We can create an affirmative action plan, tailored to your organization.  Contact us today for more information.

Share

September 8, 2011

Affirmative Action Obligations and Savings Bonds…

You may have already heard that beginning January 1, 2012, financial institutions will no longer sell U.S. savings bonds.  In order to buy savings bonds, you will need to do so through the U.S. Treasury Department’s website:  http://treasurydirect.gov.

So what does that have to do with affirmative action obligations?  Well, if you are a bank or a credit union, you may have maintained an Affirmative Action plan based on the fact that you issue U.S. savings bonds, one of the criteria under Executive Order 11246.  The Executive Order identifies the criteria that subjects financial institutions to federal affirmative action requirements:

  • The institution is issuing and paying agents for U.S. savings bonds and notes in any amounts
  • The institution serves as a depository of government funds in any amount
  • The institution holds a prime or subcontract with the federal government of at least $50,000.

So, if financial institutions are no longer issuing U.S. savings bonds, then are they relieved of their obligation to maintain an affirmative action plan?  Well, in plain language the answer is probably “no”.  The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) takes the position that financial institutions participating in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Association (NCUA) programs are still subject to the agency’s jurisdiction. 

As for next steps, financial institutions should review whether they must continue to prepare written affirmative action plans.  The OFCCP’s opinion is that financial institutions that serve as a depository of government funds in any amounts, participate in FDIC or NCUA programs, or hold a federal contract or subcontract of at least $50,000 should continue to prepare affirmative action plans even after Jan. 1, 2012.

Source:  SHRM

Share

August 17, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – ENDA

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is not a new acronym.  In fact, it has been included in some form of the bills considered by Congress in every session since 1994 except in the 109th Congress (January 3, 2005 to January 3, 2007).  So what is ENDA?  Simply stated, it is a proposed federal law that would prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace.  The bill is closely modeled on existing civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 15 states and D.C. also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.  Although these laws provide important protections, according to a 2002 General Accounting Office (GAO) report, relatively few complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation have been filed in these states.

Although there isn’t currently a federal law in place, as of March 2011 87% of the Fortune 500 companies had implemented non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and 46% had policies that include gender identity.

Currently the bill was introduced in the 112th Congress on April 6, 2011 in the House, and on April 13, 2011 in the Senate.  With the current makeup of the House and Senate, politicians are predicting that the proposed ENDA may pass.  Stay tuned for further updates.

Share

July 6, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – WIN

This is a brand new acronym, introduced on June 23, 2011, and occurred right on the heels of the Supreme Court’s Wal-Mart employment discrimination case.   Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) have introduced the Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs (Women WIN Jobs) Act.

The purpose of “The Women Win Jobs Act” would be to provide women with help entering higher-paying job fields.  Currently, women represent half of our nation’s workforce, yet only are employed in 25 of 504 occupational categories, most of which are among the lowest paid except for teaching and nursing.  “Non-traditional” jobs, which employ the fewest women, actually pay 20% to 30% more than predominantly female fields.

The Women WIN Jobs Act would create a new federal grant program to help recruit, prepare, place and retain women in high-demand, high-wage nontraditional jobs.  For a fact sheet, relating to the bill, please click on the following link:

http://polis.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Fact_Sheet_-_Women_WIN_Jobs_Act.pdf

Share

May 18, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – AA and AAP

Filed under: Affirmative Action,Employment Law — Tags: 10:47 am

Affirmative Action (AA) is the set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  Affirmative action in the workplace covers such actions as hiring, firing, promotion, transfers, and training for protected groups of people.

Under Executive Order 11246, each non-construction federal contractor/subcontractor with 50 or more employees is required to develop and maintain a written Affirmative Action Program (AAP) if it:

  • Has a Federal contract or subcontract of $50,000 or more;
  • Has government bills of lading which in any 12-month period total, or can reasonably be expected to total, $50,000 or more;
  • Serves as a depository of Federal funds; or
  • Is a financial institution that is an issuing and paying agent for U.S. savings bonds and savings notes.

A typical AAP takes an organization, on average, 180 hours to complete and thereafter 70-80 hours each year to update in-house.

HRN has AAP professionals with access to tools and resources that simplify data collection and significantly reduce the time and cost of preparing and maintaining AAP’s.  Contact us if you would like more information!

Share

December 6, 2010

OFCCP Files Complaint Against Discrimination Repeat Offender

Filed under: Affirmative Action — Tags: 10:00 am

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has filed another complaint against Minneapolis-based Nash Finch Company for systematically discriminating against female applicants.  This is not new territory for Nash Finch, which has already settled discrimination cases in the past decade at 3 of its other US facilities.  The company is the second-largest publicly traded wholesale food distributor.  It contracts with the federal government to provide goods and services to more than 200 military bases. 

The OFCCP is seeking remedies including lost wages, benefits, interest, job offers to some of the qualified candidates, and retroactive seniority.  Most notably, the agency is asking the judge to cancel all Nash Finch’s existing federal contracts.

You can read the OFCCP’s news release here:

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20101644.htm

Share
Older Posts »