HR Week in Review

The amount of quality HR-related information available on the web these days is truly staggering...and increasing every day. So how is an HR guru such as yourself supposed to keep up? Well, have no fear - The HR Lawyers' Blog is here to help. In our new Monday feature, "HR Week in Review" we will circumnavigate the web and bring back for you as much HR-related goodness as we can carry. So, in no particular order, here is the HR Week in Review:We begin with a report from the Workplace Prof Blog that the total number of major workplace lockouts and strikes increased in 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of lockouts and strikes increased from 17 in 2004 to 22 in 2005. Also at WPB, a review of a New York Times article that asks "Is the Gender Revolution at Work Over?" For four decades, the number of women entering the workplace grew at a blistering pace, fostering a powerful cultural and economic transformation of American society. But since the mid-1990's, the growth in the percentage of adult women working outside the home has stalled, even slipping somewhat in the last five years and leaving it at a rate well below that of men. Initially viewed by many experts as simply a pause in the longer-term movement of women into the work force, social scientists are now engaged in a heated debate over whether the gender revolution at work may be over. Read more here.

The Fortune Best 100 Companies to Work For is out. Quick, check and see if you're on the list!Strategic HR Lawyer (which is sporting an excellent new web design) has analysis of a judicial decision holding that when an employer has notice that one of its employees is using its work computer to access pornography, it has the obligation to investigate and put a stop to it. Certainly companies have always considered it a best practice to quash this type of behavior. The increasing direction of the courts to hold companies liable for doing so, however, is something new.Future of Work Blog has an excellent entry on something that everyone in the HR world is talking about these days: the talent shortage that is impacting companies around the globe and threatening the health of the economy. In his entry, Jim Ware ties together all the aspects of this issue, from its effects on immigration policy to its obvious (but not easy to achieve) solution: education, and includes links to some excellent source material. This is a definite must-read, in my opinion.

Immigration seemed to be a recurring theme last week. Jottings of an Employer's Lawyer has this article predicting an increase in the "criminalization" in this area for employers who are dependent on immigrants for the continued operation of their businesses. In Jon Coppelman's article, "A Note to Fellow Immigrants" at the Workers' Comp Insider the issue is addressed in a very thorough and personal way. Two important notes from the article: (1) It's neither feasible nor desirable to deport 11+ million undocumented people and their families; and (2) Undocumented workers are an important part of our economy. If they disappeared tomorrow, we would all suffer the consequences.

Susan M. Heathfield of About.com's Guide to Human Resources, has this useful article: Top 10 Ideas About What Employees Want From Work: Employee Motivation. It contains links to a series of interesting articles. One that I found a little too on the nose: "What People Want From Work: Employee Motivation and Positive Morale", the subtitle of which is "Work IS About the Money." Jottings by an Employers' Lawyer, Ross' Employment Blog and Workplace Prof Blog all provide excellent coverage of an opinion out of the 5th Circuit ( IBEW v. Mississippi Power & Light) dealing with the burden of proof in disparate impact cases. Specifically, the issue is who has the burden of proof on the issue of the availability of a less discriminatory alternative employment practice in a disparate impact case. The 5th Circuit joins two other circuits in holding the burden is on the plaintiff. There is currently a split in the circuits, however, as the 8th Circuit has held the opposite.George's Employment Blawg has an article discussing whether Coming to Work Late [is] a Reasonable Accommodation? What follows is a thoughtful discussion of the fact that schedule changes are likely to become increasingly common as requested accommodations for people with disabilities and whether the law should recognize same.

Lastly, the New York Times has a very interesting article titled: "Computer Technology Opens a World of Work to Disabled People." The article is an excellent and inspiring story of how modern technology is allowing individuals with very serious disabilities to become valuable employees to those companies with the good sense to accept them into their ranks.

Well that's it for our trip around the world of work for this week. Hope you found it of some use. Now, it's Monday morning...let's get to work.

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