The ADA Turns 25 Yet Disability Discrimination in the Workplace Persists

On July 20, 2015, President Obama celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) in Washington. The historic celebration marked a quarter century of increased statutory protection for disabled employees. Although the ADA has unquestionably reduced incidents of disability discrimination, and has increased employer awareness of their obligation to accommodate disabilities in the workplace, it is far from perfect and contains many complicated facets that are difficult for employers to comply with. Simply stated, disability discrimination in the workplace still occurs, and it is something employers need to watch out for via heightened awareness and training programs.

Roto Rooter to Pay $100,000 to Settle Disability Discrimination Charge

Just a week shy of the ADA’s 25th birthday, Roto Rooter settled a disability discrimination dispute after an investigation revealed that an Iraq War Veteran was denied the ability to return to his job with reasonable accommodation. The EEOC investigation found that it was unacceptable for a military service veteran to be denied reinstatement where it was clear that there were accommodations available that could allow him to resume his job duties.

In addition to paying $100,000 to settle the case, the EEOC has required Roto Rooter to complete vigorous training focused on the ADA, reasonable requests for accommodation, and the duty to report employee requests for reasonable accommodation. All of this could have been prevented had Roto Rooter conducted disability discrimination in the workplace training up front, rather than be forced to do so as a remedial measure.

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace Training Has Multiple Benefits

The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualifying disabilities. Many times managers or HR professionals dismiss requests for accommodation as unreasonable without thinking about them. Consider the situation where an employee returns from back surgery and requests an ergonomic chair that must be ordered from an office supply store. Although many managers dismiss such requests and attempt to remedy the situation with an existing piece of furniture, if the chair can be acquired at a reasonable cost, failing to meet the request (or coming to a consensus accommodation) can be disability discrimination.

Syntrio Is Committed to Helping Employers Comply with the ADA

Syntrio is committed to helping companies of all sizes commit to the utmost ethical standards in all aspects of conducting their business, and therefore provides cost-effective disability discrimination in the workplace courses that are cognizant of the value of time to modern companies.  Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our HR compliance courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your organization!

 

Business Ethics Training Lacking: Cardinals Embroiled in Hacking Scandal

According to a New York Times report, the Saint Louis Cardinals (one of the most successful professional sports teams of the past fifty years) are under FBI investigation for allegedly hacking into the proprietary data of the Houston Astros, another MLB team, in an attempt to steal secret data about the Astros’ trade negotiations and player evaluations. This scandal comes on the heels of the FIFA international corruption scandal and displays the utter lack of regard for business ethics in high-level sports today.

Breaking into Network Brings to Light Data Privacy Issues

According to the Times report, the FBI investigation revealed that Cardinals officials broke into the Astros network and stole information from special databases that had been built by the team. While the information stolen may not seem to be a major security breach to the casual sports fan, in reality the scouting reports and negotiation data provided a major upper hand when left unprotected. Further, the attack calls into question the security of the personal information and data that was stored in the Astros’ network. In any event, if the allegations prove true there was a massive ethics violation that occurred on several levels.

Employees of the Cardinals the Focus of the Investigation

Not surprisingly, lower-level employees of the Cardinals organization are the subject of the investigation, and the Department of Justice is not saying whether the investigation revealed that Cardinals executives knew or instructed the attack. In either case, it is clear that the training system in place at the organizational level was lacking, as Cardinals employees were apparently allowed to hack unfettered into the private data of another team.

Perhaps most disturbing, the FBI believes that the attack was intended to disrupt the operations of a former Cardinals executive who now works for the Astros, which evidences a malicious intent on behalf of the Cardinals as a whole. Finally, the report indicates that the employees may have used a list of passwords from the former executive’s time with the Cardinals to hack into the Astros data.

Many of the Issues Involved in the Attack can be addressed by Training

Although the aforementioned story may sound like fantasy to your business, rogue employees attempting revenge on a former executive by stealing proprietary information is all too common in the private and public sectors. For this reason it is extremely important to train your managers and employees on the consequences of ethical and data breaches and how best to avoid them. Although the MLB situation is public and high-level, similar breaches on a smaller scale can lead to significant civil and criminal penalties in any industry.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses maintain the highest standards of ethical and data privacy compliance by helping companies demonstrate their commitment to compliance with state and federal laws and business ethics standards.  Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our business ethics courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your organization!

 

Supreme Court Decision Evidences Why it is Time to Conduct Interviewing & Hiring Training for Managers

On June 1, 2015 the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., an interview discrimination case brought by a woman who interviewed with the company while dressed in a Sikh turban head scarf. The Supreme Court held that individuals can raise claims of discrimination without proving that a company intentionally avoided hiring people who wear clothing for “faith-based” reasons.

Although the subject of the plaintiff’s religion did not come up during the interview, Abercrombie rejected the plaintiff for employment on the basis of its dress code, which prohibited headwear in its stores. Abercrombie argued that it was only liable to accommodate religious practices if it had actual knowledge of the prospective employee’s religious beliefs. The Court rejected that argument, and held what really matters is the employer’s motivation in rejecting an otherwise qualified applicant.

Interview and Hiring Training Highlights Key Distinctions in the Law

As you are undoubtedly aware, the pre-employment process is filled with legal pitfalls. Further, when a new opinion such as Abercrombie is issued the law becomes that much more complicated. With that in mind, individuals involved in the recruitment, interviewing and hiring process need to be familiar with the law so that they can avoid hiring practices that could be considered discriminatory or invasions of privacy.

Syntrio’s interview and hiring course discusses legal issues related to writing job descriptions, recruitment methods, interviewing, testing, and evaluating candidates as well as issues related to reference and background checks and offers of employment. It is critical for your managers to master the fundamental legal concepts surrounding these areas so that your company is well postured to get off on the right foot with employment law compliance. As the Abercrombie case shows, failing to follow the law prior to hiring an employee can be as disastrous as an employment lawsuit by a current employee.

Pre-Employment Screenings and Interview Questions are Hot-Button Issues

It is no secret that there have been numerous lawsuits filed over pre-employment tests that have an allegedly “disparate” impact on certain classes of people. Further, there is a significant amount of privacy litigation taking place concerning drug testing in the workplace (and the ever changing law concerning de-criminalization of recreational drugs). Finally, the questions managers ask (or fail to ask) during a job interview can place the company at risk of significant damages if a lawsuit is filed.

For all of the foregoing reasons it is critical that your company conduct routine pre-employment training for all managers involved in the recruitment and hiring process. Sytnrio’s interview and hiring training for managers course provides real life examples, and can be custom-tailored to suit the needs of your company or particular industry.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses maintain the highest standards of compliance when creating policies and pre-employment formulas that demonstrate their commitment to compliance with state and federal employment laws.

Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our business ethics courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your organization!