Blog Posts: Workplace Diversity
After a photo of a Burger King sign reading "Now Hiring Must Be Mexican" went viral, Burger King received many angry comments on its Facebook page. Burger King blamed the sign on a disgruntled employee. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) used the occasion to launch a discussion of the pervasiveness of national-origin discrimination in the US.
A new study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University suggests that some employers may use social media to research and discriminate against job applicants. The study results suggest possible discrimination on the basis of applicants' religion, but not on the basis of sexual orientation. The researchers applied to over 4,000 online job openings using dummy résumés and created social-media profiles for each fictional applicant. The postings required either a graduate degree or several years of experience.
Within the last decade, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has seen a surge in the filing of religious discrimination claims. In 2012, the EEOC received about 4,000 complaints, compared to just 2,500 in 2003. Despite the sharp rise in complaints, the number of lawsuits the agency has filed against employers has decreased by 50%. The decline stems from EEOC efforts to resolve complaints before the commencement of legal proceedings by educating employers and reaching mutually agreeable settlements.
The Tanenbaum Center for Religious Understanding — a secular and nonsectarian nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting religious tolerance and combating prejudice — recently issued its report “What American Workers Really Think About Religion: Tanenbaum’s 2013 Survey of American Workers and Religion”. Its findings indicate that in the face of rising religious diversity in the US, employers need to embrace religion as a workplace issue that must be proactively included in business discrimination and harassment policies.
Employers are increasingly recognizing the contributions that people with disabilities can make to their organizations, and many businesses are looking for ways to increase the participation of people with disabilities within their companies. A new public-private initiative is designed to help businesses achieve that goal. At a recent “CEO Summit” on the employment of people with disabilities, top-level business executives got together with government officials to share experiences and best practices for reducing barriers to employment and to raise awareness about the benefits of increasing workforce participation.
An increasing number of large, prominent companies are recognizing the value of encouraging diversity in the workplace, even when that involves taking public stands on controversial issues. Case in point: General Mills recently voiced its opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota that would ban same-sex marriage.
Employers already know that embracing diversity in the workplace can help attract top talent. Now, a new study shows that it may also increase individual workers’ feelings of satisfaction with their jobs.
The operator of a chain of Taco Bells agreed to pay $27,000 to resolve a lawsuit brought by the EEOC, which alleged the company engaged in religious discrimination by firing an employee for refusing to cut his hair.
Forbes commissioned Oxford Economics to measure employee diversity in different countries. Norway topped the list with the most diverse workforce, Other Scandinavian countries also scored very high on the diversity scale: Iceland and Sweden were also in the top ten. The scores largely reflect gender diversity in the workforces of these countries. (The study did not examine ethnic diversity, because not all countries compile that information. If ethnic diversity had been counted, then the U.S. would probably have come in higher than it did at number nine.)
In a January 19, 2012, post on the official Microsoft blog, the Redmond, Wash. software giant announced that it was supporting Washington state legislation that would legalize same-sex civil marriages.