Week in Review

February 23, 2015

IBM study dispels negative myths about Millennial workers
A new IBM study reveals much of the hype about Millennial employees simply isn't true. They aren't, according to the study, the "lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow "workers that many believe them to be. The results found that the fundamental distinction between Millennials and older employees is their digital proficiency, which comes from growing up in a digital world. But, for things like career goals, employee engagement, preferred leadership styles and recognition, the study shows that Millennials share many of the same attitudes as Gen X and Baby Boomer employees.
By 2020, Millennials will be approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. Today's business leaders need to begin planning for this shift by creating a workplace environment that will maximize the Millennial generation's unique strengths. The IBM Institute for Business Value examined five commonly held beliefs about Millennials and busted them like the myths they are:
Myth 1: Millennials' career goals and expectations are different from their elders (i.e. unrealistic). As it turns out, Millennials want financial security and a diverse workplace just as much as their older colleagues.
Myth 2: Millennials need endless praise and think everyone should get a trophy. Millennials' idea of a perfect boss isn't someone who pats them on the back. They're looking for an ethical and fair boss who shares information.
Myth 3: Millennials are digital addicts with no boundaries between work and play. Millennials are less likely than older generations to use their personal social media accounts for business purposes. Millennials enter the workforce with a strong social presence and personal social media strategy. They know what they want to communicate, where they want to share it and how it best suits their audience.
Myth 4: Millennials can't make a decision without crowdsourcing. Millennials value others' input, but are no more likely to seek advice when making work decisions than Gen X.
Myth 5: Millennials are more likely to jump ship if a job doesn't fulfill their passions. Millennials change jobs for the same reasons other generations do, and they are no more likely than older colleagues to leave a job to follow their passion.

Source: IBM.

Health Care Provider resolves EEOC suit over discharged greeter with cognitive disabilities
An Illinois based health care provider has agreed to pay $125,000 to a former employee as part of a two-year consent decree resolving a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of an employee with cognitive disabilities. The hospital violated the ADA by failing to provide the disabled employee, who worked as a greeter, with reasonable accommodations that would have allowed her to do her job and by firing her instead, according to the federal agency's complaint. The former employee suffers from cognitive disabilities and had asked for simple accommodations such as written job instructions that would have allowed her to do her job, the EEOC said in a February 12 release. In addition to monetary relief, the hospital is required to provide training to its managers and other employees about the ADA, implement policies against disability discrimination, and meet record-keeping and reporting requirements for the duration of the decree, among other measures.

American Council of Employees gets a seat at the VW table
On Monday, February 16, Volkswagen Group told employees at its Chattanooga, TN plant that the American Council of Employees (ACE) had met the requirements under the company's Community Organization Engagement (COE) policy for "Level 1" support, meaning that ACE members make up more than 15 percent of those on the current employee roster. The employee organization has earned the right to express its voice in the workplace through access to various employer groups. ACE is the apparent rival of the UAW, which in a high-profile battle a year ago lost its bid to organize the VW plant by a vote of 712-626. In the wake of the election loss, the UAW formed Local 42 with the goal of giving employees a voice in the workplace via the company's German-style labor model. The COE policy gives eligible organizations the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with Volkswagen and its employees. To be eligible for such activity, "an organization must exist for the primary purpose of representing employees and their interests to employers consistent with the National Labor Relations Act" and must also agree to comply with the policy. Volkswagen reserves its right under the policy to define and determine eligibility consistent with the NLRA. However, as a Volkswagen spokesperson made clear to Employment Law Daily, the fact that any group has met the threshold requirements for engaging in dialogue with Volkswagen under the COE policy does not mean it is the exclusive bargaining representative of any group of employees for collective bargaining purposes. The UAW won Level 3 privileges in December 2014, UAW Local 42 submitted a sufficient number of cards that were independently verified to include enough employees to gain "Level 3" support, which means that more than 45 percent of current employees were members of the organization.

According to some media reports, ACE is allegedly a group that may have been backed by business and political interests. However, ACE calls itself "an independent employee council created to ensure that all VW Chattanooga employees have a voice on the Volkswagen Global Works Council." The organization also says that it is a local, not national, group that has no outside

EEOC claims widespread age bias at Darden's restaurants
The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Seasons 52, one of the Darden restaurant brands, asserting that the company violated the ADEA when it engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of age discrimination in hiring hourly employees. Filed on February 12, the complaint alleges that since at least 2010, the restaurant has been discriminating against a class of applicants for numerous positions, such as servers, hosts, and bartenders, by failing to hire them because of their age (40 years and older) when opening new restaurants. Older, unsuccessful applicants across the nation were given varying explanations for their failure to be hired, including "too experienced," the restaurant's desire for a youthful image, looking for "fresh" employees, and telling applicants that Seasons 52 "wasn't looking for old white guys," according to the federal agency.

Darden currently owns and operates 43 Seasons 52 restaurants in 18 states. Thirty five new restaurants have opened since 2010, the EEOC said.