A manager reports to you that one of your workers, Joe, has admitted to a problem with alcohol. Or perhaps there’s an accident in the workplace and the ensuing investigation reveals that Jane is a regular drug user. Or John arrives at the office, once again unfit to do his job because he’s “under the influence.”Read More
Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog
Federal laws prohibit employers from basing employment decisions on a variety of factors, including “sex.” This term is not defined, leaving its interpretation to change and expand with social changes and court decisions. The central entity creating and applying these interpretations is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which administers and enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a variety of subsequent laws. On July 15, EEOC reaffirmed its present interpretation, in an enforcement decision in which the plaintiff claimed he was denied access to a promotion because he’s gay (Baldwin v. Foxx). The EEOC’s order includes a clear summary of the agency’s approach to sex discrimination cases:
When the majority of people hear the word “violence” they think of physical assault. Of course we know that acts of violence go beyond the physical to include any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated, or assaulted. Every year almost two million U.S. workers report having been victimized by acts of workplace violence, yet many cases still go unreported. Workplace violence is a much bigger problem than many people realize, and it can happen anywhere at any time, and everyone is at risk.
In 2007, Congress added a provision to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget, directing DHS to create a program to identify chemicals that might be tempting targets for terrorists, and to require facility that handle sufficiently large quantities of these chemicals of interest to establish security programs subject to DHS oversight (“Section 550”). DHS responded to Section 550 by issuing Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards (CFATS) rules, requiring compliance to begin in 2008.
Although most “workplace violence” incidents are low-level psychological or physical altercations between co-workers, Canadians have just been tragically reminded of the dangers of murders by interlopers. Government buildings are the likeliest targets for terrorism, and financial and retail buildings the likeliest targets for non-political criminals, but all workplaces face at least some of these most severe risks. There’s no way to eliminate these risks, but commonsense workplace security measures can reduce them. This note discusses approaches to evaluating and reinforcing security against external threats – which are important subsets of broader workplace violence prevention efforts.
The best strategies for workplace violence prevention involve updated and enforced company policies; an awareness that real perpetrators don’t necessarily make direct threats to their targets; and the creation of Threat Assessment Teams to manage situations successfully. These four management interventions can help those efforts as well.
When you think of dangerous industries to work in, which ones come to mind? Construction, mining, longshoring, maybe even letter carrying, are obvious, but did healthcare make the list?
Employers in the United States must verify that new hires are eligible to work in the U.S. This responsibility was created by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, which drafted employers—on pain of being prosecuted themselves—into partnership with the federal government to deny job opportunities to unauthorized workers. Employers' compliance responsibilities are based on use of the I-9 Form ("Employment Eligibility Verification") issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As information technology develops, USCIS has expanded electronic reporting and data management tools, the most important of which is called E-Verify. Both I-9's and E-Verify continue to evolve, and have received recent revisions.
Workers throughout the United States and Canada are protected by occupational health and safety laws, administered by federal, and state or provincial worker safety agencies—such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia (WorkSafeBC). Most of these agencies recognize workplace violence as a potential hazard, although regulatory requirements associated with this hazard vary considerably among jurisdictions. Effective November 1, 2013, British Columbia supplements its longstanding workplace violence prevention requirements with requirements for "all reasonable steps to prevent where possible, or otherwise minimize, workplace bullying and harassment." BC provides separate, complementary rules for:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides a wide range of anti-discrimination measures, including prohibitions against employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (or “gender”), and national origin. Title VII is administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and enforced when EEOC or aggrieved employees file lawsuits in federal court.