Update on Fair Employment Opportunity Act

by Easter on July 15, 2012

The Fair Employment Opportunity Act was introduced in March by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). This act would prohibit discrimination against the unemployed, many of whom are minorities and/or people over the age of 55.

There are many people who are unemployed, want to work, but cannot get interviews to be considered for a job. There are companies who post in their job listings that they will not consider the unemployed. I would not want to work for any company who discriminates against anyone who lost their job through no fault of their own. Nor would I want to be a customer of any company who will not hire the unemployed.

The Fair Employment Opportunity Act went to congressional committee on July 12. This is the next step before the bill goes to the House. Here is an easy overview of the federal legislative process of how a bill becomes a law.

To see more information about the Fair Employment Opportunity Act, see Rep. Johnson’s website.

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The news story of employers asking job seekers for Facebook passwords created a big buzz last week. Fortunately, the  job candidate whom the story was about, refused to give the information and removed his application from the company.

Facebook responded by warning employers not to ask for users passwords. It’s all about privacy and sharing a password is against Facebook’s terms of service. Facebook is threatening to take action against companies who ask potential candidates for password information.

This story caught the attention of two US Senators who sent letters to the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity asking them to investigate the practice of employers requesting Facebook passwords of potential candidates.

Facebook and employment is a real hot topic. You better believe that companies look to see what a candidate has posted on social media sites. People have the choice of what to make public when they use Facebook. It is absolutely wrong  for companies to invade privacy and ask for passwords.

Companies could put themselves into a real legal mess by asking for a Facebook password. Here’s an example. Let’s say the company asks for the password and the job candidate Sara, gives the information. Her Facebook page reveals that she recently found out she is pregnant. Her birthday is April 4, 1970, so she will soon be 42.

This company decides not to hire her, but hires a 32 year old man. Sara decides to sue, declaring discrimination against her. She is claiming age discrimination,  and discrimination due to her pregnancy. She could be awarded  the job, back pay for the job, and punitive damages. The company could be out of all of those dollars plus attorney fees, all because they asked for Sara’s Facebook password.

Bottom line when it comes to Facebook and employment is:

  • Employers, go ahead and look at what is public on social media sites, but don’t ask for any passwords.
  • Job candidates, clean up your social media and don’t post anything you wouldn’t want the entire world to see.

 

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Countless students graduated from college and have moved back home with their parents because they have student loans to pay and can’t find a job. I have been coaching Ben, who is in such a predicament. He worked a part time job while in school, took out student loans and graduated from college. He was fortunate that his part time job turned into a full time job, even though it paid less than $20,000 per year. At least he has benefits.

Like so many college grads, Ben decided to return to school since the job market has been so soft. He is about to graduate with his MBA and now has over $100,000 in student loans. He asked me with a mixture of worry and fear, “What am I going to do, if I can’t find a job after I finish grad school?”  Part of the answer is to use all your networking skills and tools, stay positive and keep looking for a job.

Some college grads have taken a different course of action and are filing law suits against their colleges claiming exaggerated numbers regarding employment after graduation. It’s a sign of the times of frustration of unemployment after going to school for higher education.  It  also serves as a forecast for many future defaults on student loans.

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Someone said to me the other day, “I have to get a job,” and then he questioned whether it was worth it to look for a job now, in December. Does anyone ever get hired in December? It is a month when businesses are thinking about next year’s budget and they working on the end of this fiscal year, if their fiscal year matches the calendar year.

Yes, the year end is a busy time for business and yes some people do get hired in December. December is an excellent time of year to job search and here’s the main reason why:

  • Many people drop their job searches in December because they let the holidays get in the way.
  • That means less competition for you, the person who is persistent with your job hunting.

People are often in a better mood at the office around the holidays. The extra food and goodies  brought in add to the holiday spirit. It is a great time to make phone calls and get some connections with  Human Resources people. Pick up the phone and contact  companies you have targeted as places you would want to work.

Don’t let any month or holiday get in the way of your job search. Keep at it. For those of you who wake up saying, “I have to get a job,” get ahead of the crowd and keep looking throughout December.

Here’s a link to search for government jobs. It is the United States Office of Personnel Management website.

 

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I Have to Find a Job, but…

by Easter on November 28, 2011

Whenever I hear someone say, “I have to find a job, but” the words that follow are always words of fear and self-doubt. Yes the job market is tough right now and yes there is plenty of competition. If your you let the “but” or the fear paralyze you, then you will still be looking for a job months from now. Look to see what the “but” or fear is telling you.

There are a couple of fears I frequently hear. “I have to find a job, but I don’t have enough experience,” is a common concern. If you know this to be true, then take action. Is it only experience you need, or do you also need more education? If it is just experience, then volunteer somewhere where what you do will relate to the job you are seeking.

I know a woman who wants to work in medical billing. She is currently volunteering at a hospital. If you are in school getting a teaching certificate, improve your chances of getting hired by volunteering at your local Boys and Girls Clubs of America. If you want to work in a veterinarian office, then volunteer at an animal shelter. You can put in just an hour a week of volunteering, so the excuse of not enough time is just an excuse.

Your words of, “I have to find a job, but I don’t have the skills” means you need more education. The woman who is volunteering at the hospital is also signed up to take medical billing classes at a local community college. Many people over 50 are behind in their computer skills and would greatly benefit in getting up to date. Your local community college offers classes to help. I live in Indiana and we have Ivy Tech Community College, which offers many self enrichment classes and programs that can help update your skills.

Pay attention to what concern you have about your job search and do something about it. Volunteer to get experience toward the job you want and take some courses if you need more education. When you take action you can state with confidence, “I have to find a job and I am volunteering and taking a class to improve my skills, so I will get hired.” You are now on the road to landing your job!

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What is Job Dissatisfaction?

by Easter on October 7, 2011

What is job dissatisfaction? It is an employee’s response to their job that can range from feelings of apathy, to depression and despair, to anger, frustration and resentment. It all means a desire to quit and move on to something better and many employees are there right now.

Douglas Matthews, president and CEO of Right Management, a division of Manpower reported that their survey showed 84% of employees planned to look for a new job this year. That compares to 60% of employees who planned to search for a new job at the beginning of 2010. The survey sited the primary reasons for job dissatisfaction were due to workload increases and pay stagnation.

It is a mistake to think that employees will hang on because there are not many other job openings available. The job market is beginning to improve. The most self motivated employees, who are usually the best performing ones too, will find their way to another job if they are currently unhappy.

The wake-up call for companies is to not let the current economy distract them from being aware of the demands that are placed on their employees. Managers must take a look at the present workload placed on their associates compared to what was required a year or 18 months ago. If the work required has increased and employee wages were frozen or increases were minimal, then your employees are in the red zone. It is the zone of job dissatisfaction. Corporate leaders have the power to make changes and improvements for their employees, or risk turnover.

Employee turnover always costs a company money, including lost revenue and intrinsic costs. Most companies are currently in their 4th fiscal quarter. Plans and decisions that are being made now for fiscal 2012 need to include measures to improve employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and increase revenue.

 

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A man lost his wallet in a public place. He was lucky. It was found by two honest young middle school girls who immediately turned it in to the business office.

When the employees looked into his wallet to find the identity of the owner, they found the man’s social security card. When the man came to claim his wallet, one employee cautioned him about carrying his social security card in his wallet, explaining how easy it would be for him to be a victim of identity theft. He explained that he was carrying his social security card because he was applying for jobs and needed it with him.

First, take the time to memorize your social security number. Second, don’t put your social security number on a job application. You should not feel obligated to provide that information when applying for a job. It does not matter whether you are applying online or on paper. You don’t know who might have access to your information and you don’t want to have someone use your name, address and social security number as their own identity.

If you are asked to complete a job application that requests your social security number, you can write, “will provide upon hire” or you can write dashes and only the last four numbers of your SS number. Employers should eliminate this question on their job applications.

Employers do not need your social security number until they decide to hire you. When you are hired, you and your employer will complete new hire forms, including an I-9. This form is required to be completed to prove you are authorized to work in the US, no matter whether you are hired as a doorman, or the CEO. At this time, you must bring your social security card or birth certificate for your new employer to examine the documents.

Leave your SS card at home, until you are hired. Lost your social security card or have a name change? Here’s the official US government site for the social security administration.

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The unemployment rate in the US has been hanging at  9%  for many months. Many employees have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It is amazing that in this economy there are companies who openly discriminate against the unemployed. Some companies have actually written in their job postings that they will not give as much consideration to unemployed or long term unemployed candidates.

Other companies have stated they will not hire unemployed people. How outrageous is that? It is unthinkable and unconscionable for any company to discriminate against the unemployed. It should be illegal. Kudos to the forward thinking state of New Jersey who passed a law in April that bans discrimination in job postings, whether they are in print or on-line.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) has  introduced two federal bills to stop companies from discriminating against jobless employees. One is called the Fair Employment Opportunity Act. Two days ago he met with other state  representatives, who were all joined by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and USAction, urging support of his bill.

Want to support the bill? Contact your state Representatives and Senators and tell them to support the Fair Employment Opportunity Act. Have you been out of work for more than 6 months? Rep. Hank Johnson wants to hear your story. Take the time to fill out the form. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will find it. Do it for yourself and do it for the other millions of people out of work and still job searching.

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You work for a bad boss. Your friends at work and you are Facebook friends, so you start sharing a few comments about him or her. The boss finds out about your conversations, of course gets angry and decides to discipline you. What can you do? Interesting, the Kiplinger Letter reported that you could report this bad boss to the National Labor Relations Board. Not because he or she is not a good boss, but because social networking comments may be protected speech, just as is talking about work and working conditions in the lunch room or by the water cooler.

There is the start of a big legal mess, so let’s pull in the reins and consider two important points to make, one for the employee and another for the employer:

Employees — Think about it, most bad bosses are not going to be forgiving and overlook the fact that employees are saying negative things about them. Instead they will retaliate and make work life more difficult than it already is for you because remember, this is a bad boss.

  • Think before you speak and think before you write.
  • Don’t say negative things about your supervisor that can be overheard by others who would love the opportunity to pass your words back to the boss.
  • Leave the social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter for sharing about friends and family. If you mention work, don’t write anything negative about your company or your boss. The wrong person will see it, guaranteed.
  • If you feel you need to contact the National Labor Relations board, then it must be a serious problem that you are encountering, such as blatant discrimination. The hair on the back of many corporate necks is raised when an employee contacts a labor board. It often causes you more trouble in the long run.

Employers — First realize that employees will complain about their bosses and work  no matter how great working conditions are at the company. If it is known that a supervisor is considered to be a bad boss, then don’t ignore the problem.

  • Seek development and training to improve his or her management and leadership skills, so a bad boss can become a good boss.
  • Train all supervisors that they cannot discipline employees for a protected activity.
  • Train employees to know how destructive negative talk about the company can be when it is displayed on social networking sites. Vendors and customers will see the comments, which can lead to a negative reputation, lost revenue and can ultimately result in  job cutbacks. Employees need to understand how the negativity affects them.

It is the responsibility of both the employer and employees to keep complaining about work and bosses in check and in perspective to the big picture of the company’s mission.

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How to Interview Part 5

by Easter on August 19, 2011

Want even more tips on how to interview? Sign up for the **FREE** Job Search Methods Revealed Webinar and get an edge over the competition.

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