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Sing all You Want, but Hang Up the Phone First

John Zappe
Dec 27, 2013, 6:31 am ET

Voicemail by errorIf you are one of those unlucky recruiters staffing the office during this hiring interregnum, today’s roundup was written with your entertainment in mind.

Mostly, you can thank GeniusHR for collecting this most amazing list of employee and employer blunders and antics. For some reason, the software vendor chose a fictitious “annual report” as the vehicle for sharing these stories, all of which prove the maxim that no matter how dumb or lame a thing is, someone will do it.

I’ll share two of the more stunningly incredible complaints — anonymized to protect the guilty — that GeniusHR includes in its top 10 list: keep reading…

Are You Losing Hires Because of Fat Bias?

John Zappe
Jun 19, 2013, 5:14 am ET

Fat person - freedigitalIt may not be fair; it’s certainly not nice, and it could even be illegal, but for all that, chunkiness is likely costing you candidates who could be perfect for the job.

That physical attributes influence a person’s career is hardly a new revelation; studies linking weigh, especially obesity, to fewer promotions and lower pay have circulated for years. Other studies have shown that attractive women can face discrimination in hiring, especially if the hiring manager is a woman.

More recently, a study involving human resource professionals demonstrated that even this group, which you might expect would know better, is biased against chubbiness. keep reading…

Survey: Half of All Employers Have Hired Workers With a Record

John Zappe
Sep 27, 2012, 12:31 am ET

A CareerBuilder survey released today says 51 percent of human resources managers report their company has hired workers with a criminal record.

It’s an almost impossible-to-believe finding, given the constant drumbeat by criminal rights organizations over the challenges those with records face in landing jobs. However, in light of the National Employment Law Project estimate that 65 million Americans have some kind of criminal record, it’s not so surprising that many are on payrolls across the country.

The online survey was conducted for CareerBuilder by Harris Interactive, which polled 2,298 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals about the issue. The records here are those that would typically show up on a background check: convictions for both misdemeanors and felonies, but probably not arrests. keep reading…

IT Watchdog Group Says Staffing Firms Discriminate Against Americans

John Zappe
Jul 9, 2012, 8:44 am ET

An IT recruiting watchdog group says some staffing companies are abusing the U.S. visa program, advertising jobs that may not even exist, and limiting applicants to non-citizens.

“The public is led to believe that companies can’t find Americans to fill high-tech jobs when, in fact, they are not searching for Americans — as these ads show,” said Donna Conroy, a founder of Bright Future Jobs and author of “No Americans Need Apply.”

Her report details an analysis of 100 IT ads, posted on tech job board, which all include language referencing various visa programs, and which, Conroy said in an interview, are phrased as “code for foreign workers only.”

The Bright Future Jobs analysis of the ads found 37 percent of them made no mention of IT job terms or skills in the ad title. Instead, they contained only references to visa types, says Conroy’s report. “These 37 ads also repeated these USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) terms in the skills section,” says the report.

The balance of the ads all included visa terms, with many restricting applicants to those with H1-B visas (work visas) or with work permits granted to foreign students attending U.S. colleges and universities. keep reading…

Make Sure Your Recruiting Vendors Aren’t Getting You Into Trouble

John Zappe
May 2, 2012, 9:11 am ET

Last week the EEOC issued an updated policy on the use of arrest and criminal records in hiring decisions.

As employment attorney Ron Chapman explained in a post last week, the enforcement guidance “summarizes the EEOC’s long-held position that employers’ reliance on arrest and conviction records may have a disparate impact on individuals because of their race or national origin.”

“This is an opportune time for employers to reexamine their background-check policies and practices,” Chapman suggests.

Have you? Even if your website and job applications have been wiped clean of references to — or never mentioned — criminal records, you may still have a problem. If you use outside recruiters, do you know what your vendors are doing? keep reading…

Retaliation Is Again Most Common EEOC Charge

John Zappe
Jan 30, 2012, 3:31 pm ET

Complaints of retaliation by employers trumped race for the second consecutive year, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC said total new complaints during fiscal 2011 were just slightly ahead of 2010. Last year it received 99,947 claims compared to 99,922 the year before. It also reported taking in $455.6 million through its administrative program and litigation.

Released last week, the stats show charges of retaliation by employers against workers who raised discrimination issues accounted for 37.4 percent of the commission’s workload. Complaints alleging just violations of Title VII (discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, and national origin) accounted for 31.4 percent of the complaints.

Retaliation claims are rising faster than any other category of complaint, up 10 points in the last decade. Race discrimination claims, historically the most frequent, were the second-most commonly received complaint by the EEOC. They’ve hovered around 36 percent for years and last year represented 35.4 percent of the total charges. keep reading…

Is Friggatriskaidekaphobia Affecting Your Workplace Today?

John Zappe
Jan 13, 2012, 5:17 am ET

Welcome all you friggatriskaidekaphobians. We feel your pain, even if we don’t share your fear of Friday the 13th.

Most of us, of course, note it just as we might Groundhog Day, except that Friday the 13th, always falling on a Friday (duh!) means the weekend is just hours away. So that makes it a good thing.

Alas, for HR professionals and supervisors with superstitious staffers, when the 13th falls on a Friday, it can mean more absenteeism and less productivity. An estimate in 2004 put the business loss at $800-$900 million. If that estimate still holds up, then the superstition will cost U.S. business almost $3 billion this year, since there are three months when the 13th falls on a Friday: today, then in April and July.

As silly as it may for some, for perhaps as many as 21 million Americans, the day holds special fears. This could mean anything from exercising more care than usual, to a compulsive, even pathological inability to function.

Many date the fear back to antiquity, never mind that the researchers who have looked into friggatriskaidekaphobia find no reference to it before the 1800s. On the other hand, triskaidekaphobia — fear of things 13 — has historical antecedents going back centuries. Today it holds sway today in such subtle ways as omitting the 13th floor of buildings and hospital and hotel rooms, and airline flight numbers.

In Thirteen: the story of the world’s most popular superstitionauthor Nathaniel Lachenmeyer cites a Texas Instruments decision to offer an early retirement plan with a Monday retirement date, rather than the more traditional Friday. Why? Because the Friday would have been the 13th explained the HR department.

There’s not much written about the HR implications of workers with superstitious beliefs about Friday the 13th specifically. An article about the issue in the United Kingdom on HR Review suggests advising fearful workers to obtain treatment. There’s also a four step self-help list in the article.

In the States, it’s a little dicier a situation. keep reading…

Requiring a Diploma May Be Discriminatory

John Zappe
Dec 8, 2011, 5:54 am ET

Requiring a high school diploma as a condition of employment for some jobs could land you in trouble with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

An “informal discussion letter” just posted to the EEOC’s website says that under certain circumstances, requiring a diploma may run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If the requirement screens out persons unable to earn a diploma because of a bonafide disability, the employer has to justify the requirement as job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Doing that for some jobs isn’t going to be easy. Employers almost as a matter of routine include at least a high school degree requirement in every job posting, including for janitors and cleaners. The U.S. Labor Department, however, says, “Most building cleaning workers, except supervisors, do not need any formal education and mainly learn their skills on the job or in informal training sessions sponsored by their employers.” keep reading…

Besides Bad PR, Currently Employed-Only Ads May Get You EEOC Attention

John Zappe
Aug 9, 2011, 5:25 am ET

Is your company among those who reject the unemployed because they are unemployed?

If you are — and a report from the National Employment Law Project suggests the list is longer than you might think — be careful. You’re walking a thin line between legal discrimination, and the kind that just might result in a disparate impact complaint from the EEOC.

At the behest of some 50 members of Congress, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a day-long hearing on the matter several months ago. No formal statement has come out of the hearing, but the attention focused on the issue by the EEOC and Congress is raising concern among the employment bar. Labor lawyers are counseling employers to act carefully, avoiding blanket policies against hiring the unemployed.

Unless you are hiring in New Jersey, it is legal to include language in a job posting discouraging the unemployed from applying. In the Garden State, however, it became illegal on June 1 to discriminate against the unemployed in print or online ads. But everywhere, it’s bad PR to include the kind of wording that turned up in the now-infamous Sony Ericsson job posting.

Legal or not, employment lawyers at Foley & Lardner warned a few months ago that “employers can expect their hiring practices concerning the unemployed to be scrutinized.”

With an unemployment rate (in June) of 16.2 percent, twice that of whites, blacks could well be disproportionately impacted by a blanket “no unemployed” policy. Thus, said the Foley & Lardner lawyers, “The issue also seems ripe for a disparate impact test case, perhaps even one brought by the EEOC itself against an employer.” keep reading…

OFCCP Wants More Data For Compliance; Seeks to Strengthen Veteran Recruitment

John Zappe
Jun 13, 2011, 1:15 am ET

Two proposals from the Federal Office of Contract Compliance Programs, now open for public comment, seek to require federal contractors and their subs to do more to hire veterans and to provide more information and data in the event of a compliance audit.

So far, neither of the proposals seems to have caused much of a stir, despite nearly unanimous mentions in the various analyses of the additional paperwork and increased obligations on federal contractors.

Littler Mendelson, one of the largest employment law firms in the country, says the OFFCCP focus on veterans “significantly expands the obligations of federal contractors and subcontractors.”

Another firm, McGuireWoods, referred to the proposal for additional data as both “burdensome” and “stealthy.” The firm notes in its analysis, “The agency (OFCCP) does not understand the private sector or have any apparent concern about the burdens and confidentiality issues these proposals place on contractors.”

The OFCCP itself estimated it would take 103.2 hours and cost $135,000 to collect and provide all the data that could be requested in the so-called “Scheduling Letter” — the notice of compliance audit — should the changes it wants be adopted. (The OFCCP has to get permission from the Office of Management and Budget for changes to the document and data provisions.)

Complying with the veterans rules is estimated to cost each contractor $396 a year and take 10.7 hours a year. keep reading…

Post a Job This Week? Your Hire Has Probably Already Applied

John Zappe
Jun 8, 2011, 5:55 am ET

The early bird catches the worm. Mom and Grammy knew that, as did the English four centuries ago. Hardly a surprise, then, that a study of 6,600 hires finds that the sooner a candidate responds to a job posting, the better their chance of getting hired.

This confirmation of what most of us intuitively suspected comes from StartWire, a job search networking collaboration service launched six months ago by Chris Forman, formerly of AIRS, and his partner Tim McKegney, also an AIRS alum.

As part of the research and testing for StartWire, Forman collected hiring information from employers across 10 industries. Cumulatively, the companies shared data on 6,600 hires. From that emerged the correlation between speed of response and hiring.

What Forman and StartWire found was that almost 50 percent of the hires the companies made had applied within the first week a job was posted; 27 percent of the hires applied within two days. And three-quarters of those hired had applied within the first three weeks.

Forman says it sort of a “duh” revelation, but since he’s never seen a study that examined the matter, he decided it might be interesting. In the aggregate, the conventional wisdom about applying early improving a candidate’s chances is correct, he notes. On a job-by-job basis though, it might not be so. keep reading…

Get Ready Hiring Managers: Here Comes the EEOC, and It’s Mad!

Dr. Wendell Williams
Jan 12, 2011, 11:36 am ET

In case you were enjoying yourself over the holidays instead of reading my critically-acclaimed (OK, criticized) articles, my objective is to bring best practices to the HR forefront. Experience shows organizations that make informed hiring and promotion decisions (e.g., based on objective job-related tools) tend to have happier employees, are more successful, and reduce their potential for unfair hiring practice challenges.

That said, in case you might have missed Hiring the Kind of Salespeople You Only Dream About, I found John Zappe’s EEOC article a great companion. That is, if your organization routinely uses credit checking when hiring salespeople, you might want to know how the present Washington administration treats employers who don’t do their hiring homework. keep reading…

Cheat Sheet on Employment Discrimination and New Media

Elaine Rigoli
Sep 10, 2009, 12:24 pm ET

FL09_MastheadSo, there you are, innocently researching a potentially awesome new candidate when you stumble upon her personal blog that goes beyond mere TMI and causes your cheeks to turn crimson. Or, perhaps your eyes are still bug-eyed after reading about some “interesting” history in a candidate’s criminal background check. Or you receive a video resume and your knee-jerk reaction is that the person is simply u-g-l-y with no alibi.

Whatever the case, if you have ever felt as though you might be running into legal issues, the U.S. EEOC’s Assistant Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff says to listen up to the following basic rules:

keep reading…