May 2016

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HRA's Video Employer Advice
May 2016

This month we look at "At Will Employment" 
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The Next Generation...Z

Employers, meet Generation Z, the oldest members of whom turn 20 this year. Typically, they are highly skeptical, inclined to fact-check anything and everything. They aren't impressed by someone with a fancy title. Collaboration is a huge part of their work style. Additionally, they have a one-world mindset, their first real conception of a U.S. president is one who is black, and they grew up with unlimited access to technology.
Generation Z members-also known as the Globals-were born after 1999; they grew up during the time of the Lehman Brothers financial crash, the collapse of companies once thought too big to fail, and the implosion of the housing market that left many homeowners in foreclosure.
Typically, they are still experiencing that economic uncertainty,  came of age as sports heroes like Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong fell from grace, and as the shootings at Columbine High School signaled "terrorism at home by our own.
Only 1 in 5 Globals live in a home with both of their parents, and they live in a world where women make up 51% of the workforce. As they have grown up, they have been encouraged to embrace a "fend for yourself" mentality.
This generation will enter the workplace with more years of schooling on their resumes than any previous generation - an average of 16 years of education, vs. an average of about 15 years for Millennials and 12 years for Baby Boomers. That schooling has also come with a higher price-an average of $34,682 in annual college tuition vs. the $23,066 annually that Millennials grew up paying.
Generation Z has an interest in volunteering, and their volunteer and internship experiences will make them more prepared for the workplace. They have studied and traveled abroad more than their predecessors. In the workplace, they are expected to want practical rewards such as gasoline cards, student loan reimbursements and extra time off to recognize their successes.
Generation Z grew up with access to technology that has always put information at their fingertips. This provokes a willingness to question everything, because they can look it up, rather than take what they are told at face value.
As Generations Z starts to enter the workforce, it will be interesting how they shape and impact the workplace.  Stay tuned....
HR Advantage, provides lunch & learns and group training on the topic of Generations in the Workplace. Should you desire to schedule a workshop, please contact Lynette at, or 417-894-3667.

Gender Based Pay Discrimination
A recent case highlighted by the  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  describes a seasoned female employee who learned she was being paid less than newly hired and less experienced men doing the same work. She then told coworkers she planned to file a discrimination case. However, before she filed, word of her plans reached a senior manager. The manager then informed her direct supervisor that the female order selector would be terminated "without making it appear unlawful," according to an EEOC description of the case.

By this attempt at retaliation the e compounded its basic violation of the Equal Pay Act. As a result, the company was required to:
  • Give the female order selector back pay,
  • Provide her with compensatory damages,
  • Pay her attorney fees, and Agree to regularly report to the EEOC concerning its compliance practices.
"Substantially Equal"
Illegal pay discrimination isn't always that blatant, however. For one thing, paying a woman less than a man (or vice versa) for a job that isn't identical can be deemed discriminatory if the two jobs are only "substantially equal," perhaps a subjective standard. "Job content, not job titles, determines whether jobs are substantially equal," says the EEOC.  The agency also states that "all forms of pay" are covered by the Equal Pay Act. That includes not just salary or wages, but overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, other employee benefits, and reimbursement for travel expenses.

Hidden Discrimination
The EEOC is concerned that there's a lot of gender-based pay discrimination occurring that victims are unaware of - and therefore the practice is not confronted. Typically, the discovery of a pay inequality (by the party earning less) happens inadvertently. For example, that person may stumble across a discarded pay stub.  Employers need to be aware that, if they do find their pay practices are discriminatory, the company cannot remedy the imbalance by reducing the pay of the higher paid worker to match that of the lower-paid one.

Employers also should know that an employee who discovers he or she has a pay discrimination case may have up to three years from the time of a willful violation (or two years if not willful) to file a claim with the EEOC.

Going Forward
The EEOC proposed a remedy for hidden discrimination, which, if enacted without changes, will greatly increase the reporting burden on employers. The proposal, made on February 1, applies to employers having at least 100 employees.
The additional reporting would require employers to segment certain workers based on gender, race and ethnicity. The workers in question are those who fall within 12 pay bands for each of the 10 job categories described in the regulations. This information would be added to employee census data supplied annually on a form known as EEO-1.

If adopted as proposed, the rule would apply to EEO-1 forms submitted for the year ending Sept. 30, 2017.

What Should Your Company Do Now?
Whatever the fate of the proposed regulations, a prudent response to this issue is to conduct at least a basic internal review. The focus of such a review should be to ensure that conditions don't exist that could support allegations of pay discrimination.

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Candida Arvizu MS, PHR, SHRM-CP  

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Lynette Weatherford MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP President

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