Diversity and Inclusion

Last week, a team of Baker McKenzie partners (Andy Boling, Doug Darch, Bill Dugan and Miriam Petrillo) led a lively roundtable in Deerfield, Illinois on the topic of civility in the workplace.

Attorneys from the EEOC (Greg Gochanour, Regional Attorney for Chicago Office) and the NLRB (Paul Hitterman, Regional Attorney for Region 13 of the NLRB) joined us in leading the discussion. Topics included disciplining employees for uncivil workplace behavior, the enforceability of confidentiality restrictions on witnesses during internal investigations and the NLRB’s newly issued test for reviewing employee work rules.

Here, we share a “top 10” list to highlight the principal takeaways from the program.

Continue Reading Top 10 Takeaways For Managing A Diverse Workplace

In the last two weeks, New York state and city legislatures each passed groundbreaking legislation that would require most private employers to provide sexual harassment training to their workforces every year. No other US jurisdiction requires annual harassment training for all employees, making this legislation – if signed into law – the most expansive in the country. (California requires training for supervisors and managers only, see more HERE.)

Continue Reading Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Comes To New York

It’s no secret that a diverse and inclusive workplace has become critical for success. Clients, investors and talent are increasingly attracted to companies with socially responsible values and progressive workplace polices – with good reason. Diversity and inclusion have been linked to innovation, financial results and employee engagement.

Yet many organizations have long struggled to create impactful diversity and inclusion programs, particularly when it comes to increasing diversity at senior levels. While there is no silver bullet to eliminate bias, you can advance your diversity and inclusion program by making it a core component of your corporate culture and implementing practical strategies to update your initiative.

Click here to read the entire article, originally published on Ethisphere.com.

On the heels of the Second Circuit’s decision that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII, advocates for LGBTQ rights scored another victory in federal court. On March 7, 2018, the Sixth Circuit unanimously ruled in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. that discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status violates Title VII’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination.

Continue Reading Another Federal Court Victory For LGBTQ Rights–The Sixth Circuit Follows The Lead Of The Second And The Seventh Circuits

On February 26, 2018, the Second Circuit became the second federal appellate court to rule that sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, following the Seventh Circuit’s April 2017 decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, which reached the same conclusion.

Continue Reading Diverging From The DOJ, The Second Circuit Rules That Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Prohibited By Title VII

Last week the EEOC released its charge statistics from fiscal year 2017, which ran from Oct 1, 2016 through Sept 30, 2017.

  • Retaliation was the most common claim in FY 2017, followed by race discrimination, disability discrimination, sex discrimination (all types, including sexual harassment), age discrimination, national origin discrimination, and religious discrimination.
  • Charges were down a bit in all categories, but monetary relief was up in LGBT cases and, in sexual harassment cases, was at the highest level since 2010. BUT — note that the EEOC’s fiscal year ended before the #MeToo movement began so we predict the 2018 statistics will paint a very different picture.
  • Further, note that the EEOC’s new online portal, launched in November 2017, which makes it incredibly easy for individuals to sign in and file charges.

Continue Reading EEOC FY 2017 Statistics Recap: Retaliation Claims Charge Ahead

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) introduced its voluntary Diversity Assessment Report for Entities Regulated by the SEC. The Report is intended to help SEC-regulated entities conduct self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices, and provides these entities with a template for submitting information about their self-assessments to OMWI. Conducting self-assessments and providing the information to OMWI are voluntary.

The SEC’s Report is in line with the recent demands from US shareholders demanding transparency and accountability when it comes to gender pay and commitments to creating more inclusive and diverse workplaces. We expect diversity and inclusion to remain at the forefront of legal issues facing employers for years to come.

Continue Reading SEC Invites Regulated Entities To Voluntarily Submit Self-Assessments Of Diversity Policies And Practices–Read This Before You Accept

In mid-December, we hosted our Annual California Update in Millbrae, CA. We were so pleased to see many of you in attendance.

Our End-of-Year Newsletter will hit inboxes shortly, but until then – here’s our top 10 New Year’s resolutions for multinationals in 2018:

Continue Reading Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions For California-Based Multinational Employers

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark new law barring California employers — and their agents — from inquiring about applicants’ previous salaries and benefits.

The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Here are 3 steps to take now to prepare:

  1. Remove all salary questions from hiring forms (including job applications, candidate questionnaires and background check forms)
  2. Update interviewing and negotiating policies and procedures
  3. Train recruiting, hiring managers and interviewers on the new law to include instructions regarding the importance of ensuring that candidates are not pressured (even indirectly) to disclose salary history and how to respond to requests for pay scale information

Read more here and reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more details.

The TLDR on the new UK pay gap reporting regs:

New Requirements

  • From April 2017, employers with at least 250 employees (which may include some contractors) in the UK will need to publish details of their gender pay gap on an annual basis.
  • The gender pay gap reflects the difference between what women are paid, on average, compared to what men are paid, looking across the company as a whole.
  • Employers must publish six different metrics, including the differences in hourly pay and bonuses between men and women and the proportion of women in each pay quartile.
  • The information will be publicly available and is likely to be considered by employees, potential job applicants, the media and in some cases by clients / customers.
  • Employers will have until April 4, 2018 to publish their first set of data, but it must be based on a “snapshot” of pay data as at April 5, 2017.

New Challenges

  • CALCULATION – The rules are complex and not always clear. Being compliant may require employers to make judgment calls on tricky issues such as whether particular payments or employees are in scope. Employers need to find practical solutions but also want to ensure their calculation approach and their pay gap figures are in line with their peers.
  • PRESENTATION – The government is encouraging employers to explain the causes of their gender pay gap and what they are doing about it. Employers will need to consider carefully what to include in this narrative to best manage multiple stakeholders.
  • CLOSING THE GAP – The Regulations shine a light on the challenges for employers seeking to close the gender pay gap. Considering existing diversity and inclusion initiatives, and considering how to achieve further progress, is a good first step.
  • CLAIMS & AUDITS – The new requirements may prompt more equal pay claims, either because employees misinterpret the figures or because they expose areas of potential discrimination. Some employers are therefore taking a more in-depth look at the discrimination and equal pay risks within their business.

Multinationals Take Note!

  • Outside of the US, legislation either mandating or encouraging gender pay gap reporting is on an uptick (see e.g. Germany and Switzerland)
  • Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach is not a solution. The legal requirements, types of data involved and comparator groups all vary by jurisdiction which means you may end up with very favorable numbers in one country, and something substantially different in another.

Contact your Baker McKenzie lawyer to prepare an action plan to address key potential risks and meet your compliance obligations globally.