D&I in Action at the 2014 PLUS Conference

As we all regroup from yet another successful PLUS Conference, I wanted to reflect on one of my favorite moments from this year’s event.  As you all know, we were fortunate enough to have Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson – the renowned astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator – address our group at our Thursday luncheon.  I hope you got to see it.  I have been coming to the PLUS Conference for 17 years now, and I thought it was one of the best presentations we’ve ever had – entertaining, engaging, relevant and extremely thought-provoking.

Even better, at the suggestion of PLUS’s newly formed Diversity & Inclusion Committee, we extended an invitation to UNLV’s Multicultural Program for Engineering to send some of their students to the luncheon, which they eagerly accepted.  I was fortunate enough to be sitting next to some of the UNLV students during Dr. Tyson’s presentation, and I had as much fun watching the students watch Dr. Tyson as I did watching the presentation itself.  They were absolutely hanging on every word, relishing all the little “science-y” inside jokes.  To me, this was just another shining example of all the amazing things that PLUS can do, not only within our own industry but for the community at large.

Our D&I Committee continues to look for new ways to bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront of everything PLUS does.  If you have thoughts or ideas or would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact me or the PLUS staff.

Leib Dodell is a member of the PLUS Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Is It Unlawful to Shun Unemployed Job-Seekers in Recruiting and Hiring? (PLUS Journal Archive)

In this preview of an article from Issue XXIV, Volume 6 of the PLUS Journal (June 2011), author Robert G Chadwick, Jr. looks at how the EEOC views potential discrimination as it relates to the hiring (or not hiring) of unemployed job seekers.

Is It Unlawful to Shun Unemployed Job-Seekers in Recruiting and Hiring?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in April 2011 was 9%, but the rates were significantly higher for certain groups:

  • African Americans – 16.1%
  • Disabled persons – 14.5%
  • Hispanics – 11.8%
  • Women with families – 11.7% (not seasonally adjusted)

Given these statistics, it is not surprising that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has been on the lookout for potentially discriminatory recruiting and hiring practices by employers.  In the past several months, this focus has included employers which shun unemployed job-seekers in favor of employed job-seekers. Amongst the employer practices being scrutinized are (1) ads, job postings and recruiter searches which discourage or bar inquiries from the jobless, and (2) the use of unemployment status as a negative criterion in hiring decisions. 

So what does this attention mean for employers who prefer or restrict recruitment and hiring to candidates who are already employed elsewhere?  Under appropriate circumstances, it could mean potential liability under discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC.

PLUS members can read the entire article on www.plusweb.org.You must log in to the website to view this content.