Quick Hits - May 18, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - May 18, 2022

ASE Quick HitsThe American public is against racial preferences:  A new Pew Research Center report found that 74% think race and ethnicity should not be considered in admissions decisions. For gender, 82% think it shouldn’t be considered. The results extend to every racial group and to Democrats as well as Republicans. The findings come as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear two cases, probably in October, on the future of affirmative action in admissions. Pew asked, “Here are some factors colleges and universities may consider when making decisions about student admissions. Do you think each of the following should be a major factor, minor factor, or not a factor in college admissions?” Respondents most supported the use of high school grades, with 61% saying they should be a major factor and 32% a minor factor. (When Pew last did this survey three years ago, the results were similar, except that 67% said grades should be a major factor and 26% said they should be a minor factor). The proportions who believe that race and ethnicity shouldn’t be considered were: 79% for White adults, 59% for African American, 68% for Hispanics, and 63% for Asians.  Source: Inside Higher Ed 5/2/22

Birthday celebration goes extremely wrong: The saga began in August 2019 when Kevin Berling told his office manager that he did not want to celebrate his birthday because it would trigger a panic attack. The company has a practice of having birthday celebrations at the office for employees, says the lawsuit, which was filed in 2019. When the company, Gravity Diagnostics, ignored Berling's request and had a surprise lunchtime celebration for him on Aug. 7, 2019, he got upset. He quickly left and finished the rest of his lunch in his car and then texted his manager, upset that the company failed to accommodate his request. A day after the celebration, Berling was called into a meeting where he "was confronted and criticized" for his reaction, according to the lawsuit.  He was then fired.  The jury found that Berling suffered an "adverse employment action" because of his anxiety disability, court documents show. On March 31, a jury awarded him $450,000.  Although the company had a long-standing tradition for birthday celebrations, it violated the platinum rule for diversity:  Treat others as they wish to be treated.  As such, the company walked down the liability trail, hit an ADA rut, and it cost them.  Source:  CNBC 4/16/22

Federal contractors new ID system in E-Verify:  The federal government is switching from a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) numbers to identify federal contractors to a new numbering system to identify federal contractors for E-Verify purposes. All federal contractors must obtain a new Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number and update that number in E-Verify.  The UEI is a 12-character, alphanumeric value that is now the official identifier for federal contractors doing business with the federal government, including using E-Verify. The UEI is created by the government in its System for Award Management at SAM.gov. The government indicates that this will streamline the entity identification and validation process since contractors will no longer need to go to a third-party website to obtain their identifier.  If a contractor is currently registered in SAM.gov, the UEI has already been assigned and is viewable on the website. Those who are new to SAM.gov can register their entity or get a UEI by signing into SAM.gov. Once the UEI is obtained, contractors should log into their E-Verify accounts and click on the “View Company Profile” to update their information. The UEI field will be available during the E-Verify initial enrollment process later this year.   Source: CCH 5/2/22

Let’s talk about salary: Talking about how much money you make is generally seen as taboo. Yet many younger workers are doing just that, according to a Bankrate.com survey. Some 42% of Gen Z workers, ages 18-25, and 40% of millennial employees, ages 26-41, have shared their salary information with a coworker or other professional contact, the survey found. The poll was conducted by YouGov Plc, February 16-18 among 2,449 adults, and of those 1,416 were either employed or looking for work. Individual conversations, conducted outside the workplace, can help you know where you stand compared to your coworkers, Foster said. So can research on websites like Glassdoor or Payscale. Yet advocates believe that companies have a role to play and should be open about pay ranges. The hope is that pay transparency will bring about pay equity, which is essentially equal pay for work of equal or comparable value. 63% of employees prefer to work at a company that discloses pay information over one that does not, a survey by Glassdoor found. However, only 19% of employees said their company discloses salary ranges internally among all employees, according to the survey.  Source:  CNBC 4/27/22

New law requires notice to employees on electronic monitoring: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill S2628 into law on Nov. 8, 2021, and it took effect on May 7, 2022.  The new law requires every private-sector employer to provide notice of its electronic monitoring practices to all employees upon hiring and in a "conspicuous place." The new law applies to all private employers within the state, regardless of size or entity type, and governs surveillance of employee internet usage and communications, including phone calls, text messages and emails. The notice, in written or electronic form, must advise employees that any and all telephone conversations, email communications and internet access or usage may be subject to monitoring "at any and all times and by any lawful means." The new law only covers processes that target the activity or communications of a particular employee, and excludes activities designed to manage the type or volume of incoming or outgoing email, telephone voice mail or internet usage, or performed solely for the purpose of system maintenance or security. Source: Holland & Knight 5/4/22

Considering everyone is moving here, it has the best return to office rate:  Companies nationwide are struggling to get employees back in the office, but not in Austin, Texas.  These days, the city’s workforce is putting in more face time at offices than those in any other major U.S. metro area. Austin offices are 59% occupied—and cracked the 60% threshold last month—according to data from Kastle Systems, an office-security firm that records workers’ comings and goings by measuring badge swipes into skyscrapers and corporate campuses.  And this report doesn’t include government employees, which would make the numbers even higher.  While Austin has cracked the code on luring workers back in, its success has less to do with office perks such as ping-pong tables and free meals than some employers might hope. The city’s hiring boom over the past decade has drawn young professionals who work in tech-adjacent roles, such as sales, marketing, and business development. Finance professionals and tech’s corporate workers might be more likely than coders to find themselves in an office. Source:  Wall Street Journal 5/2/22

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