Quick Hits - August 16, 2023 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - August 16, 2023

EEOC Commissioners up to a full complement: Kalpana Kotagal was sworn in as EEOC Commissioner last week.  Kotagal, a democrat, was nominated by President Biden on April 1, 2022, and was confirmed on July 14, 2023, to serve as Commissioner, for a term expiring July 1, 2027. Kotagal joins EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows, Vice Chair Jocelyn Samuels, and Commissioners Keith E. Sonderling and Andrea R. Lucas on the presidentially appointed, bipartisan Commission. Kotagal’s swearing in restores the Commission to its full complement.  Prior to her appointment to the EEOC, Kotagal was a partner at Cohen Milstein, a member of the firm’s Civil Rights & Employment practice group, and chair of the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee. Kotagal is a highly acclaimed litigator who has represented women and other marginalized people in employment and civil rights litigation involving issues related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as wage and hour issues and the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act.  Next up is Chair Burrows renomination.  Her term ends in December.  Source:  EEOC

New grads worried about career growth with AI in workplace: The proliferation of new technologies like generative artificial intelligence is making recent graduates uneasy, a new study released Thursday found. A third of the 1,000 people who graduated in the past year said they are second-guessing their career choice, while roughly half reported questioning their workforce preparedness and feeling threatened by AI, according to the 2023 Employability Report by Cengage Group, a global education technology company.  Additionally, more than half (52%) of graduates say competition from AI has them questioning how prepared they are for the workforce. Their fears aren’t entirely unfounded. More than half of the 1,000 hiring managers surveyed said some entry-level jobs, teams, and skills could be replaced by AI, and more than two-thirds said many workers will need to learn new skills in the next three to five years to keep up with emerging technology.  Nearly 3 in 5 grads (58%) believe closer alignment between employers and learning institutions would help them develop important workplace skills. Source: Cengage Group 7/20/23

Etiquette classes are becoming standard for many employers: To tame down unprofessional – and potentially downright strange – behavior, business executives are offering etiquette classes for employees. A July survey of more than 1,000 leaders by ResumeBuilder.com found that 45% of companies are already offering classes, while another 18% intend to start by 2024.  Leaders say the classes are working. Those who already offer lessons in professionalism reported that the classes have been highly (65%) or somewhat (34%) successful, the survey found. Companies’ reasons for requiring the classes vary from employees wearing too casual of clothing to not being able to make polite conversation – talking about politics or religion at work – to being unable to write professional emails. Of the leaders surveyed by ResumeBuilder.com, 10% said the training would be required for Gen Z and recent graduates, while 60% said classes would be mandatory for all workers. If you’re looking to ad etiquette classes to your organization, please view ASE’s course catalog.  Source:  HR Dive 7/25/23

Senate introduces bill to limit AI in hiring process:  A bill introduced in the Senate would restrict employers' use of artificial intelligence tools to make hiring and firing decisions, and the legislation has support from organized labor as scrutiny of AI programs in the workplace has increased.  The No Robot Bosses Act, which Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, introduced Thursday, would bar employers from using automated programs alone to make employment decisions and require them to implement training on the systems. The law would also require employers to have humans oversee automated programs and regularly test and validate the programs for bias and discrimination, according to a summary of the legislation. The law would also require employers to disclose their use of the programs and information about how they work and would create a Technology and Worker Protection Division within the U.S. Department of Labor that would oversee the use of decision-making systems in the workplace.  Source:  Law360 7/21/23

Relocation expenses making a comeback: Companies are bringing back relocation benefits.  Job postings in the U.S. that mention relocation benefits were up nearly 75% as of February, the latest month available, when compared with the prior year, according to the hiring platform Indeed.com. On ZipRecruiter, job ads that tout relocation money have doubled to 3.8 million, after falling under two million in 2020.  The push shows that companies, big and small, believe employees do better work in offices and are willing to pay for workers to move. For many executives, costs borne now to get people back on site will pay dividends in the future. Relocation assistance can range from a lump sum of a few thousand dollars to full-service packages that cover packing and shipping household belongings and cars, to several months of paid rent in corporate housing.  The cost of moving a new hire at the moment ranges, on average, from $19,000 for a renter to $72,000 for a homeowner, according to ARC Relocation, which works with companies to relocate employees. Existing workers who move for new internal roles tend to be more costly—from $24,000 for a renter to $97,000 for a homeowner—depending on the seniority of the employee.  Source:  Wall Street Journal 4/17/23

Another reason to scale back remote work – legal liability:  A New Jersey federal court recently concluded that nonresidents who work remotely for a state company can sue under New Jersey's anti-discrimination code, a decision experts said reflects the increasingly complex legal landscape around telework.  Attorneys who advise employers said this recent decision is out of step with existing standards, as it's been largely accepted that a worker's employment claims are covered by the laws in the state where they reside and work, not where the company is situated.  The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which contains some of the nation's strongest workplace protections, covers pay bias allegations brought by a New Hampshire-based remote employee against New Jersey-headquartered drug company Zoetis, a federal judge concluded on July 14. While the court proclaimed that the state's anti-discrimination code can apply to out-of-towners, it also made clear it needs to be a case-by-case analysis, noting the complexities presented by the increasing acceptance of remote work. Source:  Law360 7/24/23

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