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December 18, 2013

Hiring Managers – Train Them!

Often when an employee receives a promotion to a managerial position, they are not always prepared for all the responsibilities that come with it, like managing employees.  Sure, they have knowledge and certain talents, and a solid understanding of the expectations of the job or they wouldn’t have been selected.  But, do they know how to hire skilled, qualified individuals and avoid discrimination?  And, better yet, do they know how to inform an applicant they have been denied the job?  If they don’t, it could cost you $80,000!

In a recent case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled a charge of age discrimination requiring Bay State Milling Company pay $80,185.  The EEOC’s suit charged that Bay State Milling Company discriminated against Gary Legore, a qualified applicant, when the hiring manager for the vacant miller position rejected him because of this age.  The hiring manager informed Legore of the company’s desire to hire a younger individual for the job.  [Italics are mine.]  The company ultimately hired a 22-year-old with less experience than Legore.  Ouch!

An EEOC official stated, “When a company is seeking someone to fill a vacant position, it is important that it looks to an individual’s qualifications and ability to do the job and not to his or her age, which should never be a factor in a company’s decision to hire.”  It is clear the EEOC does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and neither should you!

Training managers to be successful in a new position (or an established one) is imperative.  Giving them practical guidelines for interviewing and conversing with an applicant will help them practice focusing their attention on job-related information and the applicant’s qualifications using an unbiased view.  Hiring managers will appreciate your assistance and value the trust you have placed in them to build a skilled workforce.

Contact HRN for more information about hiring policies and other useful tools for managers.




June 18, 2012

Pregnant and Over 40 – Still Discrimination Issues After All These Years

It’s sometimes difficult to spice up a blog on a rather mundane topic, such as the EEOC.  However, based on recent headline stories, the topic of EEOC is anything but mundane.  Below are some interesting statistics that pertain to two laws enforced by the EEOC.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

I thought all employers would be fully aware that it is illegal to discriminate against women because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, duly titled “The Pregnancy Discrimination Act”.  Apparently not.  The Washington Post recently reported that “nationwide in fiscal 2011, women filed 5,797 complaints with the EEOC alleging pregnancy discrimination at work or in hiring, a 23% increase from fiscal 2005.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there either.  After the baby is born, discrimination continues in the form of the “motherhood wage penalty” of up to 5% per child.

So what can be done?  The EEOC is stepping up their enforcement efforts, which could help raise awareness, along with increased guidance to employers as to how to comply.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The ADEA, in simple terms, prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on an employee’s age.  “Employment decisions” cover a variety of areas inlucindg compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.  The ADEA forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.

I have been reading a lot of news stories highlighting the difficulties “older” workers are having in securing a full-time job.  Even the AARP has a guide titled “Age Discrimination:  What Employers Need to Know”.  The guide seeks to inform employers that older workers are valuable resources to an organization.  In response to the statistics below, we are seeing more publications and articles referring to the benefits of “baby boomers” in the workplace.  Compare the statistics from 2001 to 2011 below:


  FY   2001 FY   2011
Receipts 17,405 23,465
Resolutions 14,672 26,080
Monetary   Benefits (Millions) $53.7 $95.2


By creating awareness of these issues regarding the PDA and ADEA, employers should step back and re-evaluate their processes.  Oftentimes, previous experiences have shaped our perceptions which have unintentionally influenced decisions.  We must work together to change that mindset and avoid further discrimination.  After all, we are in the 21st century; we are too smart to still be dealing with issues that are decades old.



June 11, 2012

What are the Laws the EEOC Enforces?

This month we are blogging about the EEOC.  I don’t think we could have picked a subject that has more media attention than this one.  In one news feed this morning, there were four articles with “EEOC” in the headlines.  One would think with all the attention, the number of cases would be decreasing as we more awareness of discrimination is created.  That, however, doesn’t seem to be the case.  As written in my blog on June 6, the number of cases reported has increased for three years in a row.

So what exactly does the EEOC enforce?  In most cases, it is nothing new.  In fact, most of them have been in force for years and, in some cases, decades.  The most recent law is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).  Below are the other laws enforced by the EEOC:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (Amendment to Title VII in 1978)
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
  • Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Stay tuned to future blogs as we explore each of the laws above, including what the EEOC’s requirements regarding compliance include.


May 21, 2012

New EEOC Website to Check State Charges

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems our government is coming out with more on-line tools providing valuable information.  The most recent one is from the EEOC who unveiled a website last week where you can research your state’s charge data for fiscal years 2009-2011.  This data provides a look at EEOC charge receipts, broken down by the basis of discrimination, as well as the percent of total state and national charges.

For example, my state of Kansas had 873 charges for FY 2011, up from 739 in FY 2010.  The highest percentage was in the category of retaliation (40.2%), followed by race (34.7%), sex (32.3%), disability (27.8%) and age (22.9%).  GINA had the fewest charges filed (0.5%).  Overall, the state of Kansas makes up 0.9% of the US total charges.

If you are an employer, it may be useful to know what types of charges are being filed in your state, along with where they fall within the makeup of U.S. charges.  When browsing through the various states, I found some interesting trends that are noteworthy to be aware of.

You can click here to link to the website to check out your state’s total charges.




December 7, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – RFOA – What Does Age Have to do With It?

Most likely you are familiar with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).  The ADEA prohibits age-based employment discrimination against individuals who are 40 or older.  This law provides protection to job applicants as well as employees.  Recently, the EEOC has passed a new regulation requiring that an employment practice that adversely impacts older workers must be justified by a “reasonable factor other than age” (RFOA).

Once again, we have one of those ambiguous words that needs further definition.   What does the proposed rule say about “reasonable”?

The proposed rule explains that a “reasonable” factor is one that is objectively reasonable when viewed from the position of a reasonable employer under like circumstances, both in its design and in the way it is administered.

So what can an employer do to prove that an RFOA exists?  Following are factors that may be assessed:

  • Whether the employment practice and the manner of its implementation are common business practices
  • The extent to which the factor is related to the employer’s stated goal
  • The extent to which the employer took steps to define the factor accurately and to apply the factor fairly and accurately (e.g., training, guidance, instruction of managers)
  • The extent to which the employer took steps to assess the adverse impact of its employment practice on older workers
  • The severity of the harm to individuals within the protected age group, in terms of both the degree of injury and the numbers of persons adversely affected
  • The extent to which the employer took preventive or corrective steps to minimize the severity of the harm, in light of the burden of undertaking such steps
  • Whether other options were available and the reasons the employer selected the option it did

That’s quite a list!  For further reading and definitions, you may go to the EEOC’s website.


July 27, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – ADEA

Filed under: Age Discrimination,Compliance,General HR Buzz — Tags: 9:34 am

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.  The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local governments.  It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations, as well as the federal government. 

The ADEA only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states do have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination.

It is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favor an older worker over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older.  Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40.

Age Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Age Discrimination & Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age.

Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person’s age. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Age Discrimination & Employment Policies/Practices

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age.


March 16, 2011

Weekly Wednesday HR Acronym – ADEA

What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ( ADEA )?

The ADEA prohibits companies with at least 20 employees from considering age in employment decisions for persons aged 40 or older.  Employment decisions include hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, and training unless a specific exception to the law applies.  One of the main provisions of the Act is that employers, with very few exceptions, can no longer force an employee to retire. 

States may have their own laws that affect these decisions as well so it is advised you review your state’s statutes for more information.

For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site at


November 25, 2008

When Is a Yawn Just a Yawn?

Filed under: Age Discrimination2:58 pm

A Verizon employee alleged that he was denied a promotion because of age discrimination. As evidence, he noted that during an interview the hiring manager yawned demonstrating that the decision had already been made to give the position to a younger person.

The company contended that the employee had been repeatedly denied promotions because others were better suited and he didn’t express himself with confidence.

The larger issue just might be: how did this get to court and who could take the “yawn evidence” seriously? Additionally, could it just be the hiring manager was just plain bored?
[Arroyo-Audifred. Verizon Wireless Inc., 1st Circuit Court of Appeals]