Roughly 40 percent of expatriate professionals working in Japan say they feel discriminated against at work on account of their nationality or gender, Chisato Tanaka writes for the Japan Times, citing a recent survey by Adecco Ltd.:
Responding to a multiple-answer question on what they do not like about working in Japan, 43 percent cited gender inequality. Around 40 percent said they have trouble with indirect or nonverbal communication with colleagues.
Asked how they see their Japanese colleagues’ performance, 80 percent said their Japanese peers are precise in their work. But 72 percent complained that there were too many pointless meetings. … According to the survey, 47 percent of respondents also felt they are not given equal opportunities compared with their Japanese colleagues.
Nonetheless, the survey found that 77 percent of respondents were satisfied with their current work conditions and 88 percent wanted to keep working in Japan.
Dozens of companies, including a number of household names, have been engaging in potentially discriminatory hiring practices by targeting their job listings on Facebook to users in specific age groups, according to a joint investigation by ProPublica and the New York Times published on Wednesday. The report, along with a new lawsuit challenging the legality of this type of targeting, is sure to reignite the public debate over age discrimination in hiring and may put more pressure on employers in that regard.
Reviewing data collected as part of a separate investigation into political advertising on Facebook, ProPublica reporters Julia Angwin and Ariana Tobin and the Times‘ Noam Scheiber noticed that Verizon, for example, had bought Facebook job ads targeted to users 25 to 36 years old, while UPS ran an ad targeting ages 18 to 24 and State Farm was advertising to Facebook users from 19 to 35 years old. While the ability to reach very specific audiences is one of Facebook’s main differentiators in the advertising market, these findings are raising questions as to whether targeting candidates by parameters such as age could be considered discriminatory under US law.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 makes it illegal to exhibit bias against people over 40 years old and to even be an accomplice to age discrimination, which may be the case for Facebook in these circumstances. Also on Wednesday, the Communications Workers of America filed a class-action complaint in a federal court in San Francisco on behalf of its members and all other Facebook users over 40 who did not get the opportunity to view these job listings, with the CWA’s attorney calling it “illegal and immoral to exclude older workers from receiving a company’s job ads.” Whether the court accepts this lawsuit remains to be seen, but it won’t be the only one.
When confronted with the possibly discriminatory nature of placing such ads, some companies have chosen to make changes to their job marketing strategy. Others, however, defend the practice, arguing that it is similar to placing ads in print publications that reach different age demographics, such as the AARP magazine or Teen Vogue. Some believe it is appropriate to target by age if the ad is for an entry-level job, or insist that these Facebook ads are part of a comprehensive strategy for recruiting candidates of all ages.
The US Supreme Court denied an appeal in a case concerning whether discriminating against LGBT employees on the basis of their sexuality violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination, the Hill reported on Monday. Giving no explanation for its decision, the court refused to hear the case of Jameka Evans, a former security guard at Georgia Regional Hospital, who claims she was harassed and forced out of her job because of her sexual orientation and gender-nonconforming appearance.
Evans, represented by attorneys from the LGBT legal advocacy organization Lambda Legal, had taken her case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but a panel of judges in that court ruled against her in March on the basis of a precedent from 1979. The 11th circuit declined to rehear the case en banc (by the full court), so Lambda Legal petitioned the Supreme Court to resolve it instead. According to the Hill, the organization expressed disappointment in the court’s decision, noting that it leaves unresolved a split decisions among different circuit courts regarding the rights of LGBT Americans in the workplace:
“But this was not a ‘no’ but a ‘not yet,’ and rest assured that Lambda Legal will continue the fight, circuit by circuit as necessary, to establish that the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual orientation discrimination,” Greg Nevins, the group’s employment fairness project director, said in a statement.
According to a recent study by the Perception Institute, one in five black women feel social pressure to straighten their hair for work, and though all women worry about about how their hair is perceived, black women are much more likely to feel anxiety over the issue than white women are. That anxiety is apparently warranted: the Perception Institute also found that, irrespective of race, the majority of the more than 4,000 people who participated in the study demonstrated an implicit bias against black women’s (naturally) textured hair, rating it less professional than smoother hair. As the study concludes, be it overall perceptions of professionalism, first impressions during an interview, or general ideas about health and beauty, “attitudes toward black women’s hair can shape opportunities in these contexts, and innumerable others.”
Bias against black women’s textured hair can play out in a number of ways in the workplace, from everyday cultural slights and comments regarding these women’s hairstyles, to more concrete challenges such as misguided hiring decisions. And while banter in the break room surrounding a black colleague’s new hairstyle may seem like an otherwise innocuous conversation point, it may actually contribute to, or be a symptom of, a workplace culture in which black women are professionally judged over their hair.
High-potential employees, or HIPOs, are supposed to be an organization’s future. However, correctly identifying which employees have the most potential is often a difficult task, due to ambiguity surrounding the term HIPO and the fact that most managers don’t seem to believe their organizations’ criteria for high potential are accurate. Moreover, HIPO selection is easily “politicized”: In a recent Harvard Business Review post, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Abhijit Bhaduri discussed six ways managers often play politics in identifying, promoting, and developing HIPOs, namely the politics of intuition, self-interest, avoidance, favoritism, ageism, and gender:
In short, the politics of potential can prevent organizations from upgrading their leadership talent and make data-driven decisions an anomaly rather than the norm. Too many times we have seen the CEO’s favorite candidate be put through a formal assessment simply as a way of confirming a decision that has already been made in advance, not for merit.
Our research at CEB, now Gartner, has touched on all of these political dynamics, and fortunately we’ve found some straightforward and practical solutions to the problems identified here. Organizations using best practices are ensuring their HIPOs are managed as enterprise assets and not held captive to the whims of a manager. Here are some real-world examples of how organizations are overcoming the six political barriers Chamorro-Premuzic and Bhaduri identify (and CEB Corporate Leadership Council members can click through the below links for more information on our research):
The politics of intuition occurs when managers “follow their gut” when nominating HIPOs based on their own judgement of employee performance and future capability. Instead, all managers within an organization should have standardized, clear, and business-relevant criteria to identify HIPOs. CEB recommends evaluating employees for potential against three key characteristics: Ability, aspiration, and engagement. Critically, managers need to be involved in validating the details of these criteria to ensure that HIPO they are not an abstract HR concept. Our recent study on high-potential employees shared a real-world practice Black Hills Corporation uses to align HIPO identification to changing business needs, in order to identify the best HIPOs to fill emerging leadership opportunities.
A new survey from CareerBuilder points to a mismatch between candidates and employers in salary negotiations—namely, that candidates often don’t think there is one:
[The survey] found that the majority of workers (56 percent) do not negotiate for better pay when they are offered a job. Those who avoid it say they don’t attempt it because they don’t feel comfortable asking for more money (51 percent), they are afraid the employer will decide not to hire them (47 percent), or they don’t want to appear greedy (36 percent).
While most job candidates avoid negotiating, the majority of employers are expecting a counteroffer. Fifty-three percent of employers say they are willing to negotiate salaries on initial job offers for entry-level workers, and 52 percent say when they first extend a job offer to an employee, they typically offer a lower salary than they’re willing to pay so there is room to negotiate. But how much money is being left on the table? More than a quarter of employers who offer a lower salary (26 percent) say their initial offer is $5,000 or more less than what they’re willing to offer.
The survey, conducted earlier this year by Harris Poll among 2,300 employers and 3,400 full-time employees, also dug up some demographic data to inform the debate over the role of the “negotiation gap” in gender and other pay gaps. It found that employees over 35 were slightly more likely to negotiate (45 percent) than the younger crowd (42 percent), and that 47 percent of men negotiated as opposed to 42 percent of women. These differences are meaningful, but CareerBuilder’s broader takeaway is that regardless of their demographics, a slight majority of candidates are just not negotiating at all. The exception is in sectors like IT, sales, and financial services, where over 50 percent of employees said they negotiated their salaries.
Reflecting concerns over the country’s progress toward gender equality, the National Women’s Law Center, a Washington-based advocacy group for women’s rights, has announced the formation of a new legal network dedicated to helping women and girls who are victims of sex discrimination. The NWLC has recruited more than 70 attorneys in 15 states so far, and aims to have attorneys affiliating with the network in every state, the Associated Press reports:
Fatima Goss Graves, president of the [NWLC] … said the initiative was prompted by growing concerns that protections against sex discrimination were being weakened under the Trump administration. “We’ve seen a surge of gender-based hostility and harassment across the nation,” said Goss Graves, who decried “escalating federal rollbacks to critical protections in education, the workplace, and health care.” …
Creation of the new legal network was welcomed by Lenora Lapidus, who heads the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project. “Bringing in more attorneys to really focus on these cases is a good idea,” she said. “We become like a tide that can push change more rapidly.”
The announcement comes in the wake of several high-profile sexual harassment scandals and gender discrimination lawsuits, which have called attention to how vulnerable women still are to mistreatment in the American workplace. Rewire’s Bryce Covert takes a closer look at what the network is already doing, and what it hopes to accomplish: