Quick Hits - August 23, 2023 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - August 23, 2023

Weight discrimination is subtle and real: Weight stigma is rarely talked about at work, but it pervades workplaces everywhere, employees and hiring managers say. Looking back, Michelle Matthews said she often internalized co-workers’ comments about her weight. At one work lunch, a teammate remarked on how much she was eating. A higher-up told her she needed to “show up physically as a leader” after she failed to win a promotion.  It wasn’t until the tech-product design director switched to remote work in 2020 that she grasped how much such slights had colored her office career. Study after study shows heavier people are paid and promoted less than thinner colleagues and are often stereotyped as lazy or undisciplined. In a spring survey of more than 1,000 human-resources executives, 11% said an applicant’s weight had factored into hiring decisions. Half of managers say they prefer interacting with “healthy-weight” employees, according to SHRM. Michigan has weight as a protected class, but the rise of Ozempic, Wegovy, and similar treatments may lead some people to conclude obesity is a choice if losing weight is a matter of taking a drug.  Source:  Wall Street Journal 7/24/23

1 in 5 workers don’t think they will ever retire: Almost 50% of U.S. adults report being able to save some for retirement, according to a new Axios/Ipsos poll.  The poll asked 1,238 people if they felt they were “just getting by right now” and unable to save for retirement and the future.  And 49% of respondents said they disagreed with that statement.  But poll findings also show that one in five U.S. adults don’t think that they will ever retire, with 19% of those respondents saying they simply just don’t want to retire.  However, 70% of those people don’t think they will ever retire for financial reasons.   U.S. adults 55 and older who still haven’t retired are split on whether they will do so at the age they expected to.  Meanwhile, 44% of survey respondents 55 years old and older that are not retired have had to change their retirement plans due to “economic factors out of their control,” poll findings show.   And 52% of those same people plan on moving somewhere with a lower cost of living when they retire.   When it comes to workforce planning, don’t forget the older worker.  Source: The Hill 7/20/23

EEOC updates its ADA guidance to account for AI:  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act pertains to candidates and employees with visual disabilities to highlight steps companies can take to make sure new technologies and artificial intelligence are accessible, according to a news release.   The guidance specifies that employers need to provide reasonable accommodations for any decision-making tools using algorithms or AI, such as for hiring. That can include an alternative testing format that could better assess a worker’s ability to perform the job in question, the EEOC said. Companies also should share information about how the technology evaluates applicants or employees and provide instructions on how to seek an accommodation, according to the guidance.   Source:  HR Dive 7/27/23

Hawaii enacts pay transparency:  SB 1057, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024, will require Hawaii employers with at least 50 employees to disclose an hourly rate or salary range that reasonably reflects the actual expected compensation on job listings. The law does not require disclosure of other components of pay (such as benefits) as other state laws require.  The law excludes internal transfers or promotions within a current employer, as well as public employee positions for which salary, benefits, or other compensation are determined pursuant to collective bargaining. The law does not define expected compensation.  The law does not specify whether the 50-employee threshold refers to nationally or within the state. Generally, the pay transparency laws that are already in effect in many states across the country, including California, Colorado, and soon, New York, apply to employers with as few as one employee within the state and as many as 15 employees. Here, Hawaii appears to be taking a different approach.  Source:  Jackson Lewis 7/13/23

Trader Joe sues union to stop using its logo:  Trader Joe’s has filed a complaint against its union, Trader Joe’s United, claiming trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition stemming from the union’s use of the Trader Joe’s logo on merchandise it sells to raise money. The grocer claims that it did not authorize the union to use its logo on merchandise for purposes of advertisement or sale, and that such use has resulted in a likelihood of consumer confusion and impairment of the distinctiveness of the mark. Trader Joe’s seeks a permanent injunction to stop the unauthorized use of its trademark (Trader Joe’s Company v. Trader Joe’s United, July 13, 2023).  Source: CCH 7/21/23

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