Showing posts with label Employment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Employment. Show all posts

February 28, 2018

LGBT Workplace Rights Boosted by You Can't Fire" Skydiving While Gay"

 What’s riskier? Jumping out of an airplane with a stranger’s life in your hands? Or admitting to working that you’re gay?

Donald Zarda could have told you. The New York skydiving instructor lost his job in 2010 after mentioning his sexuality. Now, in an important ruling, a federal appeals court has ruled that Zarda’s firing was illegal, and that federal civil rights law bans employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

This is disappointing news, no doubt, to U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte, but encouraging to anyone who believes it’s fundamentally wrong to be able to hire, fire, promote and demote workers solely because of their sexual orientation. 

instead invented by Teads
Pittenger, a Republican, argued in 2014 that employers should be free to fire people because they are gay. He called it one of “the freedoms we enjoy” as Americans. “We don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses,” Pittenger said. He added: “Government intervention is not the best solution for matters of the heart.” 

Congress had disagreed 50 years earlier, passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Its Title VII bars workplace discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The 2nd Circuit court in New York ruled 10-3 on Monday that Title VII also protects gay workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The court had three different rationales: First, that firing people for their sexual orientation is essentially firing them for their sex, which Title VII prohibits. Zarda wouldn’t have been fired for being attracted to men had he been a different gender.

Second, the Supreme Court has ruled that people can’t be fired for failing to live up to their gender’s stereotypes, and the 2nd Circuit said Zarda was.

Finally, courts have long held that a person can’t be fired because of the race of those they associate with, such as firing a black person who associates with white people. The same holds for gender, the court ruled, and Zarda couldn’t be fired for associating with another man.

The New York court is the second federal appeals court (the other is the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, last year) to rule this way. The 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled last year that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation. That disagreement among appeals courts makes it possible the U.S. Supreme Court will settle the matter sooner than later.

We hope it does. And using the 2nd Circuit’s logic, a high court ruling could make sexual orientation a protected class not only for employment but for housing, education and other areas. Polls and the Observer’s reporting have found that despite some people’s contention otherwise, discrimination against gays is not uncommon.

A strong majority of Americans believe employers should not be able to discriminate against LGBT workers. It’s a matter of time before that’s settled law, and Monday’s ruling was another big, welcome step toward that day.

Out in NJ

A federal appeals court in New York ruled that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against their workers based on sexual orientation. The decision is a blow to the Justice Department under President Trump, which had chosen to wade into a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former New York sky diving instructor. The Justice Department had argued last year that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not cover sexual orientation in the workplace.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit becomes the second appeals court to rule that the Civil Rights Law, which prohibits bias in the workplace based on “race, color, religion, sex or national original” should also extend to sexual orientation. An appellate court in Atlanta ruled differently. Jeff Sessions, a Trump appointee, heads the Justice Department and has made his anti-LGBT sentiments no secret.
The Second Circuit ruled 10-3 in the case of Donald Zarda, a sky diving instructor who was fired from Altitude Express in 2010. Zarda had revealed his sexuality to a female client while preparing for a tandem jump as the woman seemed to be uncomfortable with being strapped so tightly to him. Her boyfriend took exception, complaining to the school about the comment, and he was fired. He filed suit on the grounds that Altitude Express violated Title VII and initially had two courts in New York rule against him, including a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit.

April 14, 2015

NYC on it’s Way to Ban Credit Checks for Employment


New York is poised to become one of a handful of places in which it's illegal for employers to review job-seekers' credit history, pending a vote in the City Council today. 
If passed, the bill would not only end the practice of running credit checks on prospective employees, it would also prohibit employers from asking about applicants' credit scores. 
“There’s just no demonstrated correlation between credit history and job performance, or the likelihood to commit fraud or theft,” the bill's sponsor, City Councilman Brad Lander, told the Daily News
Moreover, requiring good credit to be considered for a job presents a vicious Catch-22. As Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union told the Times in January: “People want to pay off loans, but because of their troubles, they can’t even get a job.”
A 2013 Demos report on the use of employment credit checks found that employers posting on Craigslist ran credit checks for jobs at all sorts of levels: maintenance work, telephone tech support, office assistants, delivery drivers, insurance salespeople, home care aides, stockroom supervisors and frozen yogurt servers. 
The New York Public Interest Research Group has endorsed the final version of the bill, issuing a statement saying that "New York City’s credit checks bill does not fall victim to the broad exemptions or loopholes that have undermined efforts to ban employment credit checks elsewhere." The exemptions that have been included will be subject to review by the City’s Commission on Human Rights. 
YPRG's Armando Chapelliquen says, "This is the strongest bill in the country, without a doubt, and the Commission on Human Rights’ report may give us an opportunity to make the bill’s protections even better down the road."
Mayor de Blasio has yet to confirm whether he will support the bill. 
“Credit discrimination is oftentimes an unnecessary obstacle to New Yorkers getting jobs, and we will continue to work with the City Council to help put more New Yorkers on pathways to jobs,” the mayor’s Deputy Press Secretary, Ishanee Parikh, said in a statement.

January 26, 2014

Love in The Work Place Could Just be OK

 Mention love at the office and minds go to tawdry affairs, lines crossed and calls to human resources.

People see love as a squishy emotion, one that breeds conflict, a distraction. So it has largely been drummed out of the workplace.

That’s a shame. Focus on the pitfalls of romantic love and you’ll miss the importance of love’s broader meaning: kindness; respect; empathy.

With that in mind, and in the words of famed workplace expert Celine Dion, let’s talk about love.

Companies are undoubtedly trending toward more compassionate cultures, but there has been little recognition in professional or academic circles about how central love is to a truly caring work environment.

Sigal Barsade, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Olivia O’Neill, an assistant professor of management at George Mason University, have conducted a study that shows how “a culture of companionate love” is good for employees and clients.

The study defines companionate love as the sense of warmth, affection and the friendly connections that bind us. Barsade said she believes our inability to separate the idea of passionate love from companionate love is the reason love is so often overlooked in the workplace.

“Within the management domain, the word ‘love’ evokes this concept of this soft, fuzzy thing that you really can’t take seriously at work,” she said. “But companionate love is one of the basic emotions of human experience. Given how much time we spend at work, it’s actually ignorant to think it wouldn’t be a part of our work lives.”

The longitudinal study, which will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Administrative Science Quarterly, surveyed patients, their family members, and workers at a long-term health care facility. Employees who felt they worked in a “culture of companionate love” had less absenteeism, were better at teamwork, were more satisfied with their jobs and experienced lower levels of emotional exhaustion. In turn, the facility’s clients and their families were happier with the service they received.

The researchers did a follow-up survey of 3,201 workers in seven industries, just to show that the results weren’t specific to the health care field. Barsade and O’Neill wrote in a recent post on the Harvard Business Review’s website: “People who worked in a culture where they felt free to express affection, tenderness, caring and compassion for one another were more satisfied with their jobs, committed to the organization, and accountable for their performance.”

This all seems rather sensible. So I asked Barsade: Why don’t companies just do this anyway?

She said management literature from the early 1900s to the late 1930s does discuss “the concept of love and caring as part of work.”

“But I think people’s perspective on what kind of emotions mattered at work, if they mattered at all, narrowed in World War II as the focus became more, ‘How do we keep people satisfied?’ ” Barsade said. “Emotion turned into satisfaction, and that changed the focus to wages and how the job is designed. Emotion somehow was either ignored or became illegitimate. We started thinking that people shouldn’t have emotions at work, and if they do, they should be repressed.”

The study cites two examples, one of a workplace with a strong culture of companionate love, the other without. In the first, an employee is quoted as saying: “We are a family. When you walk in the door, you can feel it. Everyone cares for each other regardless of whatever level you are in. We all watch out for each other.”

In the second, a veteran employee of 30 years tells her supervisor that her mother-in-law has died, and the supervisor responds by bluntly saying: “I have staff that handles this. I don’t want to deal with it.”

That’s a sizable difference, and it’s easy to see which workplace is going to have more loyal and motivated workers.

So if your workplace lacks companionate love, how did you improve?

Barsade said some of it can be mandated: “For example, say you’re a manager and you get copied on an email chain between two employees that’s not civil. And you got to them and say: ‘This is not acceptable here. We don’t speak to each other that way.’ I actually think we can be a lot more explicit about what our norms are, about how we interact with one another.”

Of course, a change in culture has to not only be dictated by those in charge, it has to be demonstrated by them as well. Bosses can provide employees with flexibility, pay them well and show them they are trusted and valued. They can also — and here we get into my mantra again — behave like decent human beings.

“Management has to show it too,” Barsade said. “Not just structurally, but through their own facial expressions, body language and behavior. People show love at work because they feel it. It becomes a normative expectation that this is how you behave here.”

This doesn’t mean we spend the day hugging and gently consoling people when they screw up. Rules and ethics can stand on equal footing with a culture of companionate love — we respect and care for each other, and we follow the rules of the company.

I can see some writing this off as too sappy for the hard-knock world of business. If that’s what you think, consider how much better you function when you feel cared for and supported.

Then imagine if that sense of love didn’t have to stay home when you leave for work each day.
Rex Huppke

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