High-dollar EEOC suits – and a new trend
Wal-Mart – $11.7 million in sex discrimination suit – “According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Wal-Mart’s London, Ky., distribution center denied jobs to female applicants from 1998 to February 2005. During that time period, EEOC contends, Wal-Mart regularly hired male entry-level applicants for warehouse positions, but excluded female applicants who were equally or better qualified. The EEOC alleged that Wal-Mart regularly used gender stereotypes in filling entry-level order filler positions. Hiring officials told applicants that order filling positions were not suitable for women, and that they hired mainly 18- to 25-year-old males for order filling positions, EEOC said.”
Sears Roebuck & Co. – $6.2 million under ADA – the award will be distributed to 235 former employees who were denied reasonable accommodations when they tried to return to work after workers’ compensation-related absences.
Male-Male Sexual Harassment Claims on the Rise – EEOC reports that charges by men have doubled since 1992, accounting for 16% of the 12,696 sexual harassment charges filed in the 2009 fiscal year. Cheesecake Factory learned the hard way with a $1.9 million settlement on a case of this nature in 2008.
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act – confused about the changes in regulations and your obligations? Listen to Employee Benefit Advisor’s 19 minute podcast by benefits attorney Cheryl Risley Hughes: Mental health parity rules: Heavy lifting ahead.
Quiz corner

  • Having trouble communicating with your younger workers? Take the Pew Research Center’s how millennial are you? quiz. Compare your answers to nationwide respondents, and see how you stack up against others your age.
  • Now that you know your standing with the millennial crowd, how do you fare with the over 40 set? Take HRHero’s short age discrimination quiz to see how well you handle some potentially litigious situations.

A culture of excellence – How do you create a culture of excellence at your workplace? Jason Daley of Entrepreneur looks at the issue, and finds that the common denominator for success is that the person at the very top has to be the motivator-in-chief. His article offers tips and advice from PKM, Atlanta’s top accounting firm, which boasts a 98% positive rating from employees, 11% turnover rate and awards for being one of America’s psychologically healthiest workplaces. He also cites examples of 10 small to medium-sized companies that are getting it right.
Sign of the times – Even Spider-Man joins the ranks of the unemployed. Maybe somebody out there has an opening for someone with a skill-set like his? He seems pretty talented.
Having fun – Cathy Leibow of Employee Benefit News says that instilling a sense of fun in the workplace builds loyalty and boosts output. She offers some concrete ideas for “fun at work” events. And related to fun, employment law attorney Mark Toth suggests that one of the best ways to avoid needless law disputes it so stay in touch with what your employees are thinking, feeling, and doing. He offers a fun list of potential March Employee Celebrations. (Did you know there was an international Mirth Month?) And if fun is on your agenda, you will want to periodically check in with funsmith Bernie Dekoven’s Deep Fun blog for new ideas. On the other hand, some would suggest that the way to happiness is to work like a dog.
Handy privacy tools – This Guide to Facebook security & privacy settings was developed by The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center to help parents minimize their kids’ problems with Facebook – particularly cyberbullying. Even if you aren’t a parent, it’s good to be aware of some of the pros and cons of the privacy settings. Security experts at Sophos offer a more in-depth guide and recommendations for privacy settings.

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