At a hearing on April 28, 2021, the EEOC heard from a dozen invited experts on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on civil rights in the workplace. EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said that the testimony of the panelist made clear that while the pandemic continues to have serious impacts on public health and our economy, it has also created a civil rights crisis for many of America’s workers.
How many times have recruiters reviewed resumes with titles that have little to no meaning and based decisions on those titles? Mechanical Engineer, HR Business Partner, and others convey meaning but not depth. And if employers use a job family approach, titles like Staff Engineer, Analyst, Project Manager, and Programmer provide some information at first glance, but again no context as to the work performed.
Today, March 24, 2021 is Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day denotes how far into the new year women must work to be paid what men were paid the previous year. Started by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996, the goal was to raise awareness about the gender wage gap. Although there are various analyses of what the gap is, all agree there is a gap.
On September 22, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) titled “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” The EO arose because various federal agencies had a private diversity-consulting firm conduct a training session last June titled “Difficult Conversations About Race in Troubling Times.”
Given all the events in the past few months, diversity has been a focus for many organizations. More specifically, there have been a number of pledges to have greater diversity. Jaime Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, took a knee with employees to protest racial injustice in law enforcement. There have also been a number of marketing changes by organizations to promote the diversity theme.
Culture fit in a company is just as important, if not more important, as skills fit. We can train on the skills, as long as the basics are there. We cannot change how a new employee fits into our culture.
Thirty years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990. It was a momentous event that was the number-one civil rights event of the decade.
Implicit bias is a growing area of study and a recognized issue in the workplace. An interesting issue that has generated much research is whether certain words commonly used in job postings are discouraging candidates in protected groups, in particular women, from applying for certain jobs.
Before the pandemic and the closing of the economies, the long economic expansion from 2009 to 2020 saw an unemployment rate drop below 4%. This growth created greater opportunities for those marginalized or otherwise not participating in the economy. African Americans and Hispanics, workers stuck in low-paid jobs, and those with disabilities or criminal records, had accelerated pay growth and job opportunities.
As talent acquisition professionals, we are all trained to hire the candidate who best fits the position description and company culture, no matter what race, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sexual preference the candidate is. We know the consequences of not hiring the best skilled candidate because of bias in the workplace. But do we really step up to ensure it does not happen?
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