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June 15, 2015

New and Improved Data and Statistics

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , , , 5:52 am


The Department of Labor has enhanced its Data & Stats portion of its website by adding a new “Earnings” section. This section features a series of charts and graphs showing the most recent annual earnings averages by selected topics and demographic characteristics. Covered areas include Educational Attainment, Age and Occupations.

Highlights include:

  • Women with an advanced degree earn less than men with bachelor’s degrees.
  • Women with an associate’s degree or some college earn less than male high school graduates.
  • The gender wage gap is greatest between men and women with advanced degrees.
  • Men’s earnings increase with age until 55-64 years of age, while women’s earnings reach their peak at 35-44, and then remain stagnant until dropping for those age 65 and older.
  • Almost 4 in 5 occupations had a wage gap of at least 10%.

They have also updated their “Latest Annual Data” section with the 2014 numbers released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This data includes labor force participation rates, unemployment rates, employment by industry, and educational attainment.

Check it out and let us know what you think!


April 26, 2013

HR Fact Friday: EEOC Updates

Filed under: Hiring & Jobs — Tags: , , 6:00 am


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently held hearings on the quality of its investigations. Issues discussed included better ways for investigators to communicate to the charging parties, whether the EEOC should reveal its initial case classification to an employer (A= likely finding for employee; B= uncertain; C= likely finding for employer), ways to move cases along more quickly (investigators carry a caseload of over 100 open cases each), and how the EEOC conciliation process is hampered by the agency’s unwillingness to explain the basis for its cause findings. The EEOC hopes to implement a new quality control plan for investigations during the year 2014.


Speaking at a recent webinar, an EEOC regional lawyer recently warned employers that they likely will face more claims of pregnancy discrimination. She indicated that such claims often include direct and overt evidence, such as an employer expressly telling an applicant she was not hired because she will be unavailable (i.e. giving birth) soon. The conference also discussed a rise in claims under the ADA from persons having to care for disabled family members and new legal theories being used to assert “caregiver” discrimination claims by employees caring for young children or elderly parents.


October 19, 2012

HR Fact Friday: HR News from Around the States

Filed under: Employment Law,General HR Buzz — Tags: , , 10:47 am

Some Arizona State Employees Now Are “At-Will”

Effective September 29, 2012, select Arizona state government employees became “at-will” employees.  The new law converted new hires, attorneys, supervisors, and other high-level employees to the new employment status.  Peace officers and other employees of the Department of Public Safety for the State of Arizona are excluded from this law.  In recent years, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and Texas have made the conversion to at-will status for their government employees.

Connecticut Has New Medical Marijuana Law

Employers in Connecticut need to make sure they are in compliance with the new medical marijuana law that went into effect October 1, 2012.  The new law affects employers with one or more employees.  According to employers  are “prohibited from refusing to hire, discharging, penalizing, or threatening an employee solely on the basis of his status as a ‘qualifying patient’ or ‘primary caregiver’ under the medical marijuana law.”  Individuals approved to legally imbibe in medical marijuana must have been diagnosed with one of the conditions specified in the law.  Employers still have the right to prohibit or discipline an employee from using intoxicating substances during work hours.

New Jersey Pay Equality Poster and Notice

The governor of New Jersey recently signed into law a bill that prohibits discrimination in pay based upon gender.  Employers with 50 or more employees must post the new notice and distribute a copy to employees, obtaining an acknowledgment of their receipt of said notice.  According to the new law, an employee has the right to be “free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment.”  This new law and its requirements will become effective November 21, 2012; however, the required notice has not yet been made available.


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.


June 20, 2011

Breaking News…Wal-Mart wins in Supreme Court Decision

Breaking News…

The Supreme Court has blocked a sexual discrimination class action lawsuit representing 1.6 million women against Wal-Mart.  The justices agreed that the lawsuit cannot proceed as a class action in its current form.  This reversed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. 

What’s next for the women who filed the lawsuit?  If they choose to proceed, they may pursue their claims on their own which will make it more difficult to reach a favorable financial verdict.  Additionally, this decision by the Supreme Court may make it more difficult for similar lawsuits to proceed as class action.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the court’s conservative majority said there needs to be common elements tying together “literally millions of employent decisions at once.”

But Scalia said that in the lawsuit against the nation’s largest private employer, “That is entirely absent here.”

In a statement, Wal-Mart said, “The court today unanimously rejected class certification and, as the majority made clear, the plaintiffs’ claims were worlds away from showing a companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy.”

Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said “the court has told employers that they can rest easy, knowing that the bigger and more powerful they are, the less likely their employees will be able to join together to secure their rights.”


January 22, 2010

HR Fact Friday: Job Bias Claims Based on Religion & Disability Rise

The number of workers claiming job discrimintion based on disability, religion, or national origin surged to new highs last year, as federal job bias complaints overall stayed at near record levels.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said Wednesday that charges of disability discrimination rose by about 10% to 21,451 claims, the largest increase of any category.  The increase coincided with changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) last year that made it easier for people with epilepsy, diabetes and other treatable conditions to claim they are disabled.

Overall, the EEOC received more than 93,000 discrimination claims during the 2009 fiscal year, a 2% decrease from the record set in 2008, but still the second highest level in the commission’s history.  As in previous years, claims based on race, sex and retaliation were the most frequent.  Since the ADA was enacted in 1990, a series of Supreme Court rulings have generally exempted from its protections those with partial physical disabilites or impairments that can be treated with medication or devices such as hearing aids.

Legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush before he left office directs courts to apply the definition of disability more generously.  Charges of discrimination based on national origin rose by about 5% to 11,134 claims, while religious discrimination claims rose less than 1% to 3,386 claims.  Allegations of race discrimination remained the most frequently filed complaint, accounting for about 36% of all filings last year.

The EEOC said the near-historic level of complaints overall may be due to a number of factors, including economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the work force. Employees also may be more aware of their rights and could be taking advantage of changes at the EEOC to make it easier to file a discrimination charge.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.

Source: Yahoo Finance, Equal opportunity Commission (


December 4, 2009

HR Fact Friday: Women Hold Half of U.S. Jobs

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , , , , 3:35 pm

For the first time in history, half of all U.S. workers are women, and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of U.S. families, according to a report released Oct. 16, 2009 by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and California first lady Maria Shriver.

The report, The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything, was co-authored by, among others, Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Heather Boushey, CAP senior economist; Ann O’Leary, CAP senior fellow; and John Halpin, CAP senior fellow.

Pointing out that in 1967 women made up only one third of all U.S. workers, the report said women’s changing roles affect the country’s major societal institutions. The report concluded that today’s families need more flexible work schedules, comprehensive child care policies, redesigned family and medical leave, and equal pay for women.

Four out of every five families today with children still living at home are not the traditional “male breadwinner” and “female homemaker” combination, according to the report. In fact, women increasingly are becoming their family’s breadwinner or co-breadwinner, it said. The report pointed out that although women hold half of all jobs, they do not make up half of every type of job. Occupations with high concentrations of women include secretaries, administrative assistants, registered nurses, elementary and middle school teachers, cashiers, and retail sales workers.

The report suggested that government address the new economic and social reality by updating the country’s basic labor standards to include family-friendly employee benefits and overhauling anti-discrimination laws so that employers cannot disproportionately exclude women from workplace benefits.

The report pointed out that the United States is the only industrialized country without any requirement that employers provide paid family leave.

Flexible work arrangements, career paths, and leadership styles are needed that better meet the demands of today’s diverse workforce as well as today’s flexible economic environment, the report said. It urged that these new work policies not be perks for only a chosen few.

Source: BNA HR Report, Vol. 27, No. 41 pg 1142


September 14, 2009

The Lady in Red. A Different Kind of Color Discrimination?

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , 2:00 pm

According to USA Today, union representatives for Delta flight attendants have complained that the airline only offers their red dress uniform up to size 18.   Those requiring a larger size (up to size 28) are limited to the navy dress.

Has color discrimination taken on a whole new meaning??? Apparently there are also complaints over the reported fact that flight attendants who wear orthopedic shoes (whatever that means) are required to wear pants rather than a dress or skirt.
Additionally, those desiring to wear those comfortable orthopedic shoes must also get a doctor’s note.


August 10, 2009

Age Discrimination Case Makes Things Easier For Employers

Filed under: Legal Issues — Tags: , , 2:00 pm

In the recently decided case U.S. Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff bringing an age discrimination case must prove that but for his age, the adverse job action at issue would not have happened.   Consequently, it’s no longer enough for a plaintiff to show that age discrimination was just a “motivating factor” or there was a “mixed motive.”  The decision makes it much easier for employers to win age bias cases as they are only liable for discriminatory conduct that actually causes an adverse action.

However, employers may not benefit from this ruling for long.  Congress is already talking about reversing it through legislation.


June 8, 2009

Overtime Violations at the EEOC

Filed under: Employment Law — Tags: , , 1:53 pm

According to the Washington Post, an arbitrator has found that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency tasked with enforcing federal discrimination laws, has been found to have violated federal overtime law.   The case arose out of a grievance filed by the EEOC employees’ union.   In his findings, the arbitrator found nationwide and knowing violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act.  Apparently employees were encouraged (pressured) to work long hours without overtime pay, although there was a practice of offering comp time…which didn’t meet FLSA requirements.   The EEOC, which is handling increasing numbers of discrimination claims and lost 25% of its staff through cuts during the Bush administration, is reviewing the situation.  This case is just one more reminder that nearly every organization, unless it regularly reviews overtime practices, policies, and exempt/nonexempt issues risks FLSA violations.

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