Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is an Important Shield Against Discrimination in the Workplace

Organizations are bound by the EEOC. If they have to be compliant with employment regulations, one of the most important things to do is to adhere to the EEOC.

Equal employment opportunity is a prominent hallmark of Affirmative Action in the US. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) came into being to ensure equal employment opportunity in the US. Such recognition is all the more prominent in this multicultural country, whose organizations attract people from all over the world.

First, What is Equal Employment Opportunity?

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action

It is an employment practice that is guaranteed by a Federal legislation, theEqual Employment Opportunity Act (EEO). Passed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the EEO prohibits an employer employing 15 persons or more from discriminating against any person seeking employment, on the basis of these five factors:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Nationality of origin
  • Religion

Related legislations

A few supplemental statutes have been added to strengthen the provisions of the EEO. These include:

  • Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
  • Age Discrimination Act
  • The Rehabilitation Act
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
  • Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is yet to be passed by Congress

5 attributes for employee assistance program

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a program that an organization implements to ease some of the personal problems faced by its employees. An employee assistance program is largely voluntary, in that it is not mandatory either for organizations to implement it, or for very employee to avail it.

employee assistance program - TrainHR

According to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, here’s what to look for:

  1. 24/7 phone response. Seek out providers that have trained counselors on duty answering a toll-free phone line at all times. Avoid EAPs that require users to navigate an elaborate phone tree before reaching a counselor.
  2. Confidential services. Licensed, professional counselors should deliver assessments and face-to-face counseling sessions in safe, private and confidential offices. Make sure there are enough counselors in your area to deliver timely services in both urgent and nonurgent cases.
  3. Referral support and follow-up. The EAP should assist employees by providing referrals for long-term or specialized care based on assessed needs, recommended treatment and employees’ financial resources. The EAP should provide follow-up and ongoing support for employees.
  4. Crisis intervention. Will EAP counselors come to your facility if there’s an emergency, such as an incident of workplace violence? Good EAPs can provide counseling for traumatized employees. They can also help management coordinate emergency-response plans.
  5. Substance abuse expertise. Given their disproportionately great impact on the workplace, drug and alcohol abuse problems often represent the bulk of EAP cases.

Broad provisions of the National Labor Relations Act

One of the landmark legislations pertaining to labor relations in US history; the National Labor Relations Act was passed by the American Congress as far back as in 1935. It was one of the most prominent Acts passed during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency.  Since it was New York senator Robert Wagner who was instrumental in formulating and promulgating this piece of legislation, it is sometimes also referred eponymously as the Wagner Act.

The highpoints

The outstanding features of this statute are: it

a)     gives private sector employees to organize themselves into trade unions;

b)     gives them the right to engage in collective bargaining to secure better working conditions and other employment terms;

c)      guarantees improved conditions at work, and

d)     gives them the right to take some forms of collective action, which can include the right to strike work if they think it as being necessary.

 

While these points form the nucleus of this statute; the National Labor Relations Act also made way for the creation of the National Labor Relations Board. This board is given oversight of conduct of elections to unions and other employee-oriented bodies.

When members are voted to important positions of this board; the National Labor Relations Act hands labor unions the status of sole representatives of workers. This is the only legal representation of workers, and is the only body with which the employer has to engage on matters concerning collective bargaining.

Who are exempt?

While National Labor Relations Act brings under its panoply virtually all kinds of employees and workers in the private sector; there are some types of employees who are exempt from its provisions. These include:

a)     employees who come under the Railway Labor Act;

b)     those who do domestic work; those engaged in agriculture (those who work for agriculturists);

c)      independent contractors;

d)     those who work for the government at any level –local, State or federal, and

e)     some kinds of close relatives of employees.

References:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/national_labor_relations_act_nlra

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Labor_Relations_Act

 

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Give respect, earn respect

The wise say that life is like entering a room that echoes. Once inside the room, shout a bad word; it repeats after you. If you shout a sweet word; it throws back the same at you! The same holds for respect. The more you respect someone, the more you get back of the same thing. So, how to demonstrate respect at work is dependent on what you want to expect from people in return.

Respect is reflective

It is a simple, but important fact of life that the more one respects others, the more she gets of the same in return. It is always true that a courteous and polite person is more likely to be respected at work than one who is foul-mouthing others and is abusive and loud. There are some ways by which one can show how to demonstrate respect at work.

Respect for a manager

A manager can show how to demonstrate respect at work by being understanding and supportive of her team. A manager who knows her team’s strengths and works in collaboration with them facilitates a conducive and amiable environment. This is a natural prescription for earning respect. Respect is never demanded or commanded; it is always earned. It goes without saying that a manager who earns the respect of her team is the manager of a very productive team.

Respect for the employee

If this is one of the ways of how to demonstrate respect at work; the employees who report to the manager have ways of showing it, too. They can be polite, punctual, professional and efficient. When do people demonstrate all these qualities? Only when they are respected; which is when they too respect their manager, in turn. Earning and giving respect is thus never one-sided. It is mutual, reciprocal and complimentary.

One may invent false ways of how to demonstrate respect at work; but this is never going to work in the long run. True and sincere respect from peers at work is always done out of one’s own volition, and is what may be termed as something that comes from the heart. It is only when this happens that there will be true meaning in how to demonstrate respect at work.

References:

http://www.littlethingsmatter.com/blog/2010/03/16/to-earn-respect-you-must-show-respect/#comments

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/demonstrating-courtesy-respect-workplace-34529.html

http://www.richmondhill.ca/documents/cc_enews_06_04.pdf

 

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Hiring strategies that demonstrate common sense

Any organization that needs well-suited and professional employees need to put effective hiring strategies in place. It is, after all, hiring strategies that give the organization the people it needs. When well-crafted, effective hiring strategies are in place; the hiring process becomes smooth. The most important benefit of putting sound hiring strategies in place is that they help the organization get the right fit, which is the perfect means to taking it along the growth path.

Many organizations have their own hiring strategies. Some are suited for some kinds of industries, while the same practices may not be appropriate in others. Generally, these are some of the hiring strategies an organization can think of:

Provide the most appropriate job description

The starting point for locating the best candidates is to fill the ad with the best and most realistic description of the role. This is the basis for good hiring strategies, because the candidate’s first point of reference to the new job is the job description. This is the handshake between the candidate and the company. Even small deviations from the actual requirement should be avoided. Making the job description as crisp and near to reality as possible is among the primary hiring strategies an organization can employ.

Avoid jumping to conclusions about candidates:

The HR in many organizations makes the mistake of jumping the gun when it comes to assessing the candidate’s abilities. A glib candidate is likely to be favored by most in the selection process. But HR and senior management have to understand that a good first impression is not everything. It may carry many misconceptions about the candidate, because many have the ability of masking their abilities and achievements with their excellent articulation skills.

Ask for proof of skills and experience

Experienced HR and management professionals have the ability of not getting swayed by such candidates’ sweet talk. What they do is to ask for demonstration of their qualities. They ask for specific situations where the candidate has actually performed as claimed. One of the easiest ways of seeing through such candidates is to ask for specific instances of a sales deal. They can then check with that company if that has been true.

Set their best employees as benchmarks

Another of the effective hiring strategies for organizations is to look upon their best performing employees as the point of reference while hiring new employees. Mature and experienced HR and management ask themselves how the candidate who is being interviewed measures up to the organization’s best employees. They assess the abilities in relation to the skills and abilities of the cream of the organization, and take into consideration factors like how their interview went, what were the sticking points and so on. Wise hiring strategies include methods of assessing whether this candidate has the potential to be among the organization’s best, how soon the present employee who is being interviewed will match up to the organization’s best, and what is needed to take her to that level.

 References:

http://www.rgba.com/article_hiringstrategy_.htm

http://www.hiringstrategies.com/products/profile_xt.htm

http://www.marketingpower.com/Careers/Pages/Hiringtipsandstrategies.aspx

 

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Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are important aspect of HR’s work

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are a vital component of an organization’s employee-oriented plans. In a broad sense, Employee Assistance Programs can be said to be any program that assists employees in carrying out their work.

A simple way of understanding EAP is that it is any program or initiative from the management that aids and facilitates employees in some or another way. An Employee Assistance Program can also be implemented outside the workplace if it has a connection with the employee’s working behavior.

What kinds of items are covered in Employee Assistance Programs? 

We need to understand the origins of Employee Assistance Programs to get a grasp of what kind of issues EAPs cover. It started at the height of the drug-related situation in the West in the early 1970’s, when employees were getting addicted in large numbers. Employee Assistance Programs began as a means to bring employees back into the working environment by offering them counseling and other ways out of their habit.

Today, the most common issues covered typically include anger management, anxiety, depression, marital discord and physical conditions. Employee Assistance Programs can also consist of provision for day care for employees’ children or parents. EAP can mean allowing employees to bring such relatives to work or helping them find the right location for this.

Other kinds of Employee Assistance Programs

While the items mentioned above are some of the most common types of EAPs; there is no hard and fast rule that every employee has to have the same, uniform set of programs. Some employers also provide related services like legal assistance for employees fighting divorce cases or other legal issues like property disputes. Some other employers also offer financial assistance in the form of soft education loans for children of employees.

Distinction between Employee Assistance Programs and other benefits

There is often a distinction between Employee Assistance Programs and other kinds of benefits. For instance, an organization that offers Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) may be offering one kind of benefit, but it does not qualify as an Employee Assistance Program, because it is a perk that offers direct financial aid, while an Employee Assistance Program is essentially something of a facility that smoothens the physical aspect of an employee’s working atmosphere.

References:

http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/employee-assistance-program

http://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/genlbenefits/employeeassistance.html

 

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Discrimination in recruitment – A cardinal sin

Discrimination in recruitment is major malaise in many organizations. Despite a slew or legislation banning it, discrimination in recruitment is a fact of life. It is something that happens at a very subtle layer, and is very difficult to establish and prove. This makes prosecution for discrimination in recruitment all the more difficult.

What is termed as discrimination?

In the broadest sense, any recruitment that puts unreasonable and unrelated filters on the parameters for selection is said to be discriminatory. It is understandable if the organization’s management decides that only people with some years of experience may apply. But if it requires the candidate to have passed a particular examination from only a particular educational board, it effectively puts out other candidates who may be just as good, but may not have passed that particular board exam at a disadvantage.

This is an indirect form of discrimination in recruitment, because passing only from a particular board could be possible only in some countries or some educational streams. This kind of filter qualifies for discrimination in recruitment, because the employer is indirectly asking only for particular candidates.

What is the way out?

Discrimination in recruitment is illegal.  No employer can discriminate against someone simply out of prejudice. Most nations have legislations that make it illegal for an employer to practice discrimination against someone belonging to a particular race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

If an organization has to show that it is free of discrimination in recruitment; it should take some active steps. It can think of:

  • Setting out the recruitment policy in writing and implementing it
  • Keeping the same selection criteria such as qualification uniform throughout the recruitment process and not change it for candidates belonging to different groups
  • Keeping the recruitment policy transparent and open for all employees and governmental agencies to access
  • Training HR staff and other employees about discrimination in recruitment.

An experiment

Sending out an anonymous CV is one of the steps some employment seekers have tried. Many organizations have ways of determining the race or color or religion of a person by the name. Some candidates have sent out more employer-related names at times to neutralize this factor, and have often met with considerable success. This works fine with organizations that are known to practice discrimination in recruitment, but could also lead to potential difficulties if there are laws that prohibit candidates from applying in aliases.

References:

http://bookboon.com/blog/2012/09/avoid-discrimination-when-recruiting/

http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/recruit/background/equality/avoid/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/work-blog/2013/apr/11/can-anonymous-cvs-help-beat-job-discrimination

 

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