If the events of the past few weeks have shown us anything, it's that - like Black lives - words matter. Both spoken and in writing, the language we use has the power to inspire, offend, unite, and divide. Sometimes, the use of seemingly harmless words, or even the absence of words, can be influential.
The current chaos in our lives includes a pandemic that has put over twenty million people out of work and the seemingly unceasing killing of Black people by police. But last week, we saw glimmers of hope for a better future.
In a significant victory for immigrants' rights, the U.S Supreme Court blocked the Trump Administration's attempt to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Court's surprising 5-4 decision found the administration failed to provide legally sufficient reasons for ending the program under the Administrative Procedure Act.
As conversation surrounding racial justice grows nationwide, candid discussions regarding race are coming to a head in the workplace, where employers and employees are pushing one another to be on the right side of the conversation.
The massive protests following the murder of George Floyd have brought together people of all races, ages, and walks of life in a collective movement to address systemic racism and police brutality against Black people. Outten & Golden is profoundly committed to supporting workers participating in Black Lives Matters protests. If you work in California, you should know that your state's employment laws protect you from wrongful termination, retaliation, or other adverse employment actions for political opinions you express or activities you engage in outside of work.
Ban the Box legislation can be an important tool in remedying Black underemployment by removing employers' ability to use criminal history as a proxy for discrimination. However, it only attacks a symptom of the problem created by America's racist history, the insidiousness of which contributes to the devaluation of Black lives and the exclusion of Black men and women from all sectors of the workforce.
As state and local economies reopen, employers across the country are cautiously welcoming employees back to their jobs, fearing a resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak. For returning workers, the workplace will be different from before, including the extent to which their privacy will be protected, especially medical and health information.
In recent weeks, the White House released guidelines for reopening the nation's economy, largely punting to state and local officials to assess whether they are sufficiently prepared to stay ahead of the COVID-19 spread and when to reopen non-essential businesses. In anticipation of bringing employees back to the workplace, the administration has also instructed employers to "develop and implement appropriate policies" to keep workers and patrons safe from contagion. That may be easier said than done.
As the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis continues, many companies have arranged for significant portions of their workforce to perform their jobs remotely. The physical delineation between work and home has been blurred, and videoconferencing tools to virtually connect with coworkers and clients are a fact of work and home life. Unfortunately, giving managers and colleagues glimpses into your private world, images, messages, and even people in the background can lead to discrimination, harassment, and adverse treatment.