Quick Hits - November 30, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - November 30, 2022

Who’d expect religious discrimination raising its head: Kanye West (who now goes by Ye) and his latest headline-making commentary may be the most public example of the insidious nature of antisemitism — which could be more widespread in recruiting than assumed, data released Nov. 22 by ResumeBuilder shows. One in 4 hiring managers said in a survey that they are less likely to move forward with Jewish applicants, due in part to a belief that Jews have too much “power and control.” Additionally, 1 in 6 hiring managers said leadership told them not to hire Jewish applicants, while one-third said antisemitism is common in their workplace. Just under one-third (29%) said antisemitism is “acceptable” at their company. Notably, some industries had higher instances of reported antisemitic views. While 23% of hiring managers overall said that their industry should have fewer Jews, 38% of managers in finance and 34% in technology said the same.  ResumeBuilder polled 1,131 hiring managers and recruiters for its report. Respondents were found via employment status demographic criteria and a screening question, the firms said; to take the survey respondents had to be employed and work as a hiring manager or recruiter.  Given everything, employers should consider workplace training and reinforcing policies to tame this issue otherwise it could get out of hand. Consider ASE’s course, Creating A Detailed Diversity Program & Measuring Its Effectiveness. Source:  HR Dive 11/23/22

Worried about COVID? About 25% of the workforce still is: One in four U.S. workers say they are worried about contracting COVID-19 at their workplace, according to a new Gallup survey. The new poll found that 26% of employed adults surveyed said they were “very” or “moderately” concerned about COVID-19 exposure at their workplace, marking a decrease of 7% points from the 33% of respondents who said the same in a similar survey conducted in July. 33% of female respondents said they are worried about catching COVID-19 at their workplace in the new poll, while 21% of male respondents said they are.  Smaller differences were found among age groups, with 29% of respondents who are 18 to 34 years of age saying they are worried about catching COVID-19 at their workplace, while 26% of respondents ages 35 to 55 and 22% of those ages 55 or older expressed the same concern.  A higher proportion of white-collar workers than blue-collar workers said they were worried, at 25% and 19% respectively. Source:  Yahoo News 11/22/22

With marijuana legal in more states, employers need to harmonize policies: There are now 21 U.S. states and territories where recreational marijuana is legal, including Michigan. Approximately 48% of the U.S. population lives in a state where cannabis is fully legalized. More than 75% live in a state where the drug is legal for medical use. That translates into more than 155 million Americans, and by extension employees, who will live in states where marijuana is legal. Jonathan Ash, a partner and practice lead at Fox Rothschild LLP’s Labor & Employment Department in Princeton, says that, given this expansion, employers across the country should revisit their drug and alcohol policies to determine whether they comply with any new laws or updates. “Employers should consider removing marijuana from any pre-employment drug screening or if there is a positive test for marijuana, do not use that against a prospective employee,” Ash says, adding that HR leaders should check on their state’s requirements for detecting usage of marijuana in the workplace. Employers will also have to continue to rely upon the tangible evidence of impairment to address marijuana use in the workplace until testing technology catches up with the new wave of legislation.  Source: Human Resource Executive 11/21/22

The top five handbook policies needing updates in 2023: If there’s ever a time to rethink your handbook, it’s now, according to Diverse & Engaged CEO Dee C. Marshall. “The pandemic sparked an awakening among people,” Marshall said in an interview. “They re-evaluated workplace norms and decided many no longer work for them.”  The first policy is appearance – from work clothes to professional hair (given the CROWN Act, for example, bans race-based hair discrimination in the workplace). Second, work arrangements.  With the shift to hybrid work, organizations must set clear expectations around communication and performance. Three is technology.  Policies outlining technology rules should accompany a handbook’s section on remote and hybrid work. Multi-factor authentication made it much more possible for employees to use their own devices, and the company will have to decide whether or not to reimburse workers for their work-related tech expenses. Fourth, sick leave policies.  With so many jurisdictions requiring sick leave, harmonizing the policy with the rules in the states worked is important.  Michigan is a prime example if the original sick leave law comes back to play in February.  Finally, Marijuana use and testing.  Marijuana may still be illegal under federal law, but many states are adding protections for workers.  For assistance with your handbook, contact Michael Burns. Source:  HR Dive 11/21/22

Are you getting picky again with job applicants? Robert Half's survey of more than 2,300 senior managers in the United States revealed a desire to acquire a certain type of employee: one with specific skills who can contribute right away but also one who is interested in being a part of the solution for the long haul. Senior managers were asked to identify "resume red flags." Not surprisingly, 74% identified "insufficient skills for the position" as something that gives them pause, but even more mentioned frequent job hopping (77%) and vague descriptions of past jobs (76%) as causes for concern.  Two-thirds said they prefer hiring "specialists with deep subject matter expertise" over those with a more general skill set. In the same survey, 44% of all senior executives said they plan to hire in specific areas to drive growth over the next 12 to 18 months.  The numbers suggest that employers are focused on a rebalancing of sorts: getting not only the right number of employees but also the right employees for their specific situation.  Source:  Journal of Accountancy 11/16/22

ESG funds can be included in 401K plans: A new final rule promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor allows employers to consider climate change and other environmental, social and governance effects when selecting 401(k) investments and exercising shareholder rights, such as proxy voting. However, employers must put the financial interests of employees first and cannot sacrifice potential returns for these goals. Currently, 13% of 401(k) plans offer socially responsible investment options to employees, according to data that Vanguard Group publishes on the 401(k) plans it administers. Demand for such investments in 401(k) plans is likely to grow, especially from younger workers, industry observers said.  Globally, these funds collectively held some $2.2 trillion as of September 30, according to Morningstar. U.S. sustainable funds held $272 billion. Source:  Wall Street Journal 11/22/22


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