Workplace News

POLL PREDICTS WORKPLACE CHANGES AFTER TERROR ATTACKS

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, employees will be more caring toward one another and won't consider travel as glamorous, and employers will improve workplace security. These are some of the findings of a poll of 5,673 human resource professionals to determine how companies responded to the attacks and how the workplace will change as a result.

The poll was conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, an Alexandria, Va., association of human resource professionals, and eePulse Inc., an Ann Arbor, Mich., technology and research company. The poll, HR Implications of the Attack on America, was released Sept. 25.

Sixty-six percent of survey participants said employees would be more caring toward one another, and 56 percent said employers would heighten security. Fifty-two percent predicted employees would not consider travel as glamorous, and 37 percent said business travel would be curtailed. Thirty-five percent said workers would be more wary of working in high-rise buildings.

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EMPLOYERS ASKED TO STRESS TOLERANCE

Employers and employees should promote tolerance and guard against discrimination based on national origin or religion in the wake of the terrorist attacks last month, said Cari Dominguez, chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"Employers should take time to be alert to instances of harassment or intimidation against Arab-American and Muslim employees. Preventing and prohibiting injustices against our fellow workers is one way to fight back, if only symbolically, against the evil forces that assaulted our workplaces," Sept. 11, Dominguez said.

The EEOC advises employers to do the following:

*Reiterate policies against harassment based on religion, ethnicity and national origin;

*Communicate procedures for addressing workplace discrimination and harassment;

*Urge employees to report any improper conduct;

*Provide training and counseling as appropriate.

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex and retaliation for filing a complaint.

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MILITARY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT LAWS DUSTED OFF

Employers are refreshing their knowledge of military employment laws as the U.S. military calls up National Guard and reserve units as it plans a response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 allows individuals who are absent from work for military duty to retain employment rights for up to five years. The law establishes that re-employment protection does not depend on the timing, frequency, duration or nature of an individual's service.

The law provides that returning employees are given the job they would have attained if they had not been absent, with the same seniority, status and pay. Employers must make reasonable efforts to enable re-employment, such as providing training.

The law also provides for alternative positions if individuals cannot qualify for positions of greater seniority.

Individuals performing military duty for more than 30 days may continue employer-sponsored health care for up to 18 months, but they may be required to pay up to 102 percent of the full premium. For service of less than 31 days, health care coverage must be provided as if the individual had remained employed.

More information is available at www.dol.gov/dol/vets/public/programs/fact/vet97-3.htm and www.dol.gov/elaws/USERRA0.htm.

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