Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Get Awesome for 2017

The end of the year is always a time of reflection and appreciation of what we’ve accomplished, what triumphs we’ve had and what hurdles we needed to get over to come out on top.  It’s a chance to look back on a year of accomplishments and plan for the year to come.  To be a person who strives to improve upon themselves and be a better person is an awesome way to look at the new year…

Have you thought about how you’ll improve yourself next year both professionally and personally?  Here are a few ideas on how you can “get awesome” for 2017:

Get Healthy
Health always comes first!  Invest in a health monitor, and encourage your coworkers do to lunchtime walks.  Heck, clear out the warehouse and do yoga!  Just get moving!  Look into organic fruit and delivery services for the office.  You can pitch in or order one and keep it available for employees to pick from.  Schedule that annual physical and if the doctor tells you your (insert test result here) is too high (or too low), fix it!  Make sure you get your eight hours of sleep.  Oh, and stop eating fast food…it’s bad for you!

Get Organized
The new year is a perfect time to get organized!  Unclutter your desk, do that filing you’ve been meaning to do, and get rid of anything that you don’t need in your office!  Chuck it or give it away to charity.  A messy office equals a messy mind.  Get organized to get efficient.

Get Productive
Bored at work?  Lacking motivation?  Picasso said, “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working.” Make a vow to uplift yourself when you’re lacking motivation to just start moving.  This applies not only to the workplace but in other areas of your life.  Get up and start that laundry, that work project, that gym session…just get moving!

Get “Paper”
Money. Cash. Coin.  I know you want more of it.  It’s tough to save especially with the financial burdens we all have. Make 2017 a year to find ways to put away more cash.  Increase your tax-deferred 401k contribution by a percent, sign up for an FSA account and use tax-free dollars to pay for your family’s medical expenses.  If budgeting is a struggle there are free handy tools out there like Mint.  Don’t think you have enough money to invest in stocks? Apps like Acorns rounds up your purchases and invests it for you.  I’ve personally used this app and have saved $1000 last year plus a 4% gain.

Get Humble
Often times we get defensive when we’re in argument with another person, both at work and home.  Make 2017 a year to be the one who humbles up in these situations.  It is powerful to be “right”, but it is more powerful to set aside your pride and realize when you are in the wrong (and even more powerful if you aren’t but don’t point out someone else’s “wrong”).   “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” –Confucius

Get Awesome!
You are your number one critic when you should be your number one fan!  Be kinder to yourself, give yourself grace and allow for slip ups and mistakes.  Nobody is perfect and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be either.  Take an inventory of all the things that make you a wonderful, caring, successful person and write it down!  At times when you’re feeling you need a pep talk, read the list back to yourself.   You are where you are for a reason!  You.  Are.  Awesome.

However you decide to start the new year, whether it be toasting champagne, banging pots and pans with your kids, or sleeping (because you know you need it), make sure you start off on the right foot with a positive outlook for 2017!

By: LeiLani Quiray, SPHR
HR Director of VertiSource HR

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Distracting Year-End Reporting Woes

We have finally come to one of the greatest times of the year. This is a time where we can take a step back from our normal, day-to-day distractions and spend time with friends, family, and other loved ones and enjoy the great holiday season. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

It can also, however, be a stressful time as well as we not only make personal preparations for the holiday season, but also as we have to prepare our respective organizations to comply with year-end reporting requirements issued by the federal government along with respective state governments. Taking a step back from our distractions then becomes easier said than done.

Reporting compliance is a necessity. One of a few issues that many organizations throughout the country have had to face is the excruciating pain of paying fines because they transmitted their respective reports later than the required due date(s). And these fines are increasing with each passing year. With an ever-changing world in which we live, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest updates and changes on what, how, and when various reports should be completed.

You don’t want to face this enduring distraction during the holiday season. This article will assist you by providing key suggestions for your organization to consider in order to stay on top of the latest reporting updates and trends.

Establish a report “due date” calendar: Conduct some research into what reporting deadlines are applicable to your organization and create a calendar tailored to those deadlines. Additionally, add to it any steps or processes that must be taken into consideration so that nothing is missed as you and your team work toward meeting reporting deadlines. We may, at times, forget about our calendar. I know that I have on more occasions than I can count. Therefore, create notices that will keep you updated with reminders of when reports are due. Believe me, notices and reminders save lives.

Communicate with staff and assign/divvy out tasks/responsibilities: Providing reports to both federal and state agencies can be a heavy burden for an individual to bear. Communicate and work with your staff in regards to the reporting deadlines. Establish a sense of urgency among your team to provide accurate and timely reports. Assign and divvy out reporting responsibilities to your team. Train them on the ins and outs of the report(s) that they are assigned. Go as far as to cross-train each of them in the event that an individual is absent from conducting their normal, reporting routine. Building safeguards within the framework of your plan will ensure that when a piece of the process is missing, there is another source to provide support in its absence.  

Don’t procrastinate: Above all, do not delay in implementing these suggestions and others you can think of from beginning to end. Remember that the longer you wait in submitting accurate and timely reports, the more likely it is that your organization will encounter problems, particularly in producing inaccurate reports, repeated attempts to correct information, and late submissions after the required deadline(s) have passed. Organizations can incur heavy fines and penalties associated with many of these items among others. Therefore, take charge. Start now. Be ready.

Don’t procrastinate. Do something about your reporting process now. Research and establish your “due date” calendar. Assign and divvy out tasks and responsibilities to minimize your workload while establishing safeguards to protect the reporting process from any interruption. Help your organization avoid the unnecessary pitfalls and the heavy costs associated with late and inaccurate submissions of your reports. Don’t let it become your enduring distraction from the holiday season.

By: Mark A. McDonald
Human Resources, VertiSource HR 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rethinking Employee Engagement: Turning It Around to Achieve Success


What exactly is employee engagement? How does it differ from employee satisfaction?

Many use the two terms interchangeably as if they were one and the same. Many researchers have studied this topic for several years; however, most, if not all, of their studies were consistent in establishing that there are differences between the two concepts and going as far as to identify the differences between them. Simply put, employee satisfaction deals with the concerns and needs of the employee that essentially keeps them happy and content with respect to their job and/or elements of it (such as compensation, flexible schedules, benefits, etc…). Employee engagement, on the other hand, primarily deals with the level of involvement that employees put into an organization and their duties. It can evoke such feelings as passion to go the extra mile above and beyond what’s normally expected of them from their job/responsibilities.

There is no doubt that both employee satisfaction and employee engagement are essential components for an organization to be successful; however, for the purpose of this article, our focus will be upon employee engagement.

Studies conducted by scholars and practitioners touching on employee engagement indicate that when employee engagement is high, there is higher retention, lower turnover, and higher productivity. One such practitioner, Mike Rickheim, Vice President of Talent Management at Newell Rubbermaid, explained employee engagement in this way:

“[It] is not just a warm, fuzzy thing. It’s about giving people the tools they need to succeed in their careers, which in turn drives the outcomes that we’re seeking in the marketplace. When you look at it through that lens, when people have the tools they need to succeed, feel good about their personal growth opportunities, and receive the appropriate rewards and recognition for their contributions, it’s a win-win proposition” (Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 2013, p. 5).

But where do we begin? How can we help employees become more engaged in their responsibilities? How can we measure or see the impact their engagement is having on the organization? 

Let’s explore these questions together.

It Begins with an Organization’s Leadership/Management

There’s a quote that I really like from Bill Quiseng, a distinguished expert in the area of customer service and leadership. In a post that he wrote on his blog at the beginning of 2014, he stated that:
“The best managers are passionate about what they do. Frankly, if you are not passionate about what you do, you have no right to manage others. That said, be sure to express your passion to your people…Let your people know. Once they see and share your “big picture”, then every step your people take will be in that direction” (Quiseng, 2016, para. 8).
Let that sink in for a moment. Think about it. If you are passionate about your work and your commitment to your respective organization, then arguably your engagement should naturally follow suit. Employees need to see that. Let me repeat that last statement. Employees need to see that.
I am sure that we, at one point or another, have been in a situation or circumstance where we have had a leader/manager who lacked any passion for their work and their commitment to the organization which, consequently, affected his/her engagement in his/her responsibilities. Reflect upon it for a moment. How did you feel during those times when you saw something like this?
You are the example in whom your employees look to for support and guidance. Therefore, if you want your employees to be engaged in their responsibilities and in the organization, then it begins with yourself, as a leader/manager, first.

Consider the ENGAGE Principle

Now, at this point, a tiny seed has been planted within your employees. Now what? Like any other seed that has life, if it is not cared for, it will never grow. As a matter of fact, it will eventually die. There is only so much that your example as a leader/manager can do. Your employees cannot survive on “borrowed engagement” for very long. Leaders/managers must use and/or develop appropriate tools to not merely sustain that engagement, but to continually increase it.
Here is one tool I suggest you use within your organization that may bring such results. I call it the ENGAGE factor. ENGAGE is an acronym that (inert). It is not a survey or questionnaire. Though these types of data collection methods (and others for that matter) are very useful and important in identifying trends into whether employee engagement is suffering or not, it pales in comparison to the personal interaction between employee and leader/manager.
The results and outcomes for an organization hinge upon this interaction. It’s where leadership/management in action takes place and, subsequently, where the changing face of employee engagement occurs. ENGAGE is centered upon this interaction, focusing on key areas to consider as you strive to work toward a higher level of employee engagement within your respective organization. It is meant to serve as a guide for you as you lead/manage your employees and, ultimately, your respective company to success.

Let’s take a look:

E – Energize: What inspires and motivates your employees to rise up each day to go to work? Are they even excited to go to work? What makes them excited in the first place? I know that one of the potential areas of opportunity that a leader/manager can tap into is their employee’s passion. At some point or another, we have felt what passion is. We can perhaps arguably say that we know how it allows us to think creatively, imagine wonders, and dream big. Passion usually energizes employees to be their best and to perform their best. To inspire employee engagement, however, that passion must not only be focused upon their responsibilities, but in their commitment to the organization as well. Without both of these elements, then employee engagement becomes meaningless.
Understand what they love and care about. Do they love and care about their responsibilities? How do they feel about working for the organization? Listen carefully. Understand them. Jot notes down. You may just need them as a reminder on what you can do as a leader/manager to inspire employee engagement in the organization. This is but the beginning of increasing employee engagement, but trust me: If you can unlock their passion with a particular focus on the above elements, they will eventually become a workforce to be reckoned with.

N – Nurture: As you focus on energizing your employees, remember that you are your employee’s first line of support in their success. Make time for your employees and do all that you can to help them develop professionally and personally. Continually help your employees develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities by providing them the tools and resources they need to succeed. Ask them how you can help them develop. Ask them what tools/resources they are lacking. Eliminate obstacles where and when possible and provide them what they need to be successful. Gather as much information as you can to adequately and continually nurture their development.

G – Goals: As you work to nurture your employee(s) development, consider setting goals with them to chart their course to success. Work with them to identify goals to set and subsequently reach. That’s right. Work with them. Do not merely assign them goals. Help them align those goals with organizational goals and strategy. Concentrate on personal goals that they would like to reach too.
When helping your employee(s) set goals, consider applying the S.M.A.R.T. strategy. Help them set goals that are specific and stretching. Ensure that these goals are meaningful to your employee and work together to develop a process to measure their progress. Together, develop relevant and realistic goals that can completed in a timely manner. Make sure that the goals and measurement(s) are attainable and acceptable to you and your employee(s).

A – Action: What is the purpose of a goal(s) unless we are willing to act upon them? Frankly, it’s rather meaningless. Once the goals have been set, then is the time to take action. Utilize your employee(s) strengths and assign them projects that are tailored to those strengths and that will contribute to their goals. Provide them with the autonomy they need to complete their projects in a way that is meaningful for them. Continually monitor their progress.

G – Growth: Allow your employee to learn from the experience. Have them walk you through how they solved problems or made a process more efficient. Be honest and provide feedback and suggestions. Allow them an opportunity to express their strengths to you during the project and what they felt that they could have done better. Provide your opinion on their strengths and areas where improvement can be made. Work with them on strengthening opportunity areas. Don’t stop there either. Actively look for more opportunities and provide them to your employees so that they can continue their growth. Create the cycle for them for a continuous stream of uninterrupted growth. As you’re proactive in helping your employee(s) growth, they will continue to improve and become better with each passing day.

E – Encourage: Above all things, provide encouragement to your employees. I’m sure that we have all heard the adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me”. Contrary to popular belief, that is not always the case. Generally speaking, employees like to be encouraged for the good and hard work that they do on a daily basis. This helps keep the fire burning within them. If you want to continue to fuel employee engagement, it must be coupled with encouragement; otherwise, their fire will burn out and you may end up losing them.
Recognize their hard work. Encourage them during challenging or difficult times. Praise them for their accomplishments. Compliment them. Keep that fire of encouragement burning and they will become more engaged and give you their very best in their duties and in their commitment to the organization.

Measure Results

Afterwards, measure the results. Develop a system that can reliably assist you in measuring engagement initially before using the ENGAGE acronym. Then, measure your employee engagement again after implementing ENGAGE. Analyze and review the results. Look for the gaps. What helped or what hindered employee engagement? Did it even change at all? What kind of an impact will it have for the overall company? Do we need to make any further changes and, if so, what further changes should be made?


I would like to share a personal story from my experiences with the last company I had worked for. I was a data analyst and each month, I would work with my managers to set goals and complete projects consistent with those goals. I never had a data analyst position before I accepted this role and I was at a loss on how I was going to contribute to the team and felt very lost when I began my responsibilities.

Management was very supportive and encouraging. They knew that I had an active interest in learning Excel and they assigned projects where I would need to utilize the program often. It was a struggle and challenge in the beginning. Overtime, however, as we continued to work together, I continued to grow and improve upon my skills. During the course of this process, I also learned more about myself, particularly that I not only had a knack for data analysis, but that I also loved it too.
I eventually became very proficient in Excel and after discovering what I loved doing, it made everything so much better. There was nothing more exciting for me than to analyze data and interpret it. I also loved creating tools to make our processes more efficient as well. My managers knew that and adapted accordingly to me. I worked with them to tailor my goals and actions to be consistent with what I loved to do. I had the opportunity to work on my projects in a way that I wanted to do it. I used my imagination and creativity to create and design reports that would provide meaningful data and information while also using it to create tools to improve efficiency.

As I worked on these projects, management continually followed up with me and provided feedback and suggestions for me to consider. I would go over what I had completed, incorporated their ideas, and continued to receive feedback until I had the perfect tool or report that they could use to meet organizational needs. I loved it. They loved it. And they complimented me often for the good work I had done on many of these projects. I felt that I was on top of the world and I was more than willing to continue putting in my best effort for them.

This is but one experience and every experience will be different for each employee; however, the feelings of passion in their responsibilities and commitment to their respective organization as I felt in mine are common factors that can result when employees are engaged in the work that they do and in their organization. The ENGAGE factor is a powerful strategy that can bring such engagement into the workplace.

Interestingly enough, according to a Gallup Poll conducted a couple of months ago, their findings indicated that roughly about 33% of the U.S. workforce is engaged

What do these numbers exactly mean for organizations? Though employee engagement slightly increased from the prior year, it has not shown a remarkable improvement despite the consistent research of the potential impacts that employee engagement can bring to an organization, particularly on such factors as retention, turnover, and productivity as mentioned previously in this article.

You, however, can change that. Are you ready to take your employees and your organization to the next level of employee engagement?

By: Mark A. McDonald
Human Resources, VertiSource HR

Quiseng, B. (2016). Leadership mantra for new managers: connect. inspire. empower. In Leadership. Retrieved from
Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. (2013, September). The impact of employee engagement on performance. In The Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Keys to a Successful Onboarding Process

In recent years, many organizations have begun to recognize the importance of developing an efficient and effective onboarding program for their new employees.  Studies have found correlations that a strong onboarding process usually leads to higher employee retention, lower employee turnover, higher employee engagement, higher job satisfaction, stronger organizational commitment, and higher performance levels. All be told, these factors can arguably contribute to the overall success of the organization.

One of the more challenging aspects, however, is the actual implementation of such a process. Where do we begin? What do we have to do during the process? How will we know if it’s effective?
The following suggestions can serve as a useful and helpful guide as you strive to build a strong and solid onboarding program that can energize your new employees and your organization as a whole:

Pre-Boarding (First Impressions):
·       Send a welcome letter:
There is nothing more exciting than for a new employee to personally receive a welcome letter from the company! A warm, inviting, and personal letter can make a new employee feel welcome. It also provides a great first impression from you that you care about your employee and desire him/her to be successful in his/her professional endeavors with you. It helps set the stage for the beginning of a new and positive relationship between employer and employee.

·       Notify your team:
I’m sure that many of us have experienced that feeling of awkwardness when we walk into a new role and nobody on your team knows who you are. It can be quite discomforting. Take time to email your respective team(s) about the new employee. Introduce your team(s) to who the new employee is, what his/her role will be, and why he/she will be great in the position. Encourage your team to introduce themselves to the new employee and to interact with him/her. It’s important for your current employees to know the new employee and for the new employee to know them as it can go a long way in putting the new employee at ease, allowing him/her to feel included as part of a team, and further allowing the new employee to recognize how important he/she will be to the team.  

·       Spark enthusiasm:
New employees can and inevitably will see whether you are excited about your work. How you act will most likely “rub off”, if you will, on the employee. If you are disappointed or frustrated, there is a greater chance that the new employee will begin to doubt their decision to join your organization; however, if you are excited, passionate, enthusiastic about your responsibilities, and, most especially, enthusiastic about your new employee, you can spark those same kinds of feelings within him/her. Once that flame is lit, you want to keep the flame of enthusiasm burning within your new employees because it can inspire passion, excitement, engagement, innovation, and motivation which can bring out the very best from them.

·       Utilize a welcoming ritual/tradition:
There are many organizations who use rituals/traditions to help new employees feel welcomed into the organization. One simple, but powerful example is giving your new employees gifts. Utilizing such an approach serves to welcome them to the organization while also expressing your appreciation to them for their willingness to be part of your dynamic team. 

First Day Experience (Making it Special):

·       Tours with Meet and Greet:
If applicable, provide a tour of the building(s) and environment(s) that your new employee will be working in. Familiarize them with their settings and introduce them to the team(s) and people they will be working with. Help them feel comfortable, adjusted, and welcome to their new setting. 

·       Automate, Automate, Automate:
I am sure that most of us have had the distinct honor in our lives to fill out what oftentimes seems to be endless amounts of paperwork by hand. I am sure that we have also experienced the frustration of how time-consuming a process it is as well (probably a good and solid 30-45 minutes, arguably). Instead, automate the process through technology. Using technology to automate the onboarding process provides an easy avenue for employees to digitally record their information and sign their documents. It saves time and can also keep frustrations down to a minimum. 

·       Review the job description:
This is a good time to review and to clearly communicate employee objectives, timelines, roles, and responsibilities. Provide them with examples of the kinds of projects they will be working on. Offer assistance if they need help in their new role or with their responsibilities until they are able to bear their respective projects on their own.

·       Avoid information overload:
Though organizations would love to have new employees learn everything on the first day, it is most likely not going to happen. Condensing a month’s worth of information into one day can be very stressful for new employees and can adversely affect their performance. Therefore, consider the amount of information that a new employee needs and then develop a plan to spread that information out and when they will receive it over a period of time. 

·       Provide resources:
One of the best ways in which a new employee can fail is when they do not have the resources to succeed in the first place. Be sure to know the responsibilities of the position that they will fill and provide them with the resources and tools to help them succeed. Never leave them to fend for their own.

·       Set goals:
Help your new employee(s) set SMART goals with your new employee (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely). Get to know the new employee as you help them set goals. What are their interests? Where do they want to professionally? How about personally? Consider helping them set goals that align with the strategic goals of the overall organization. This is a critical component because it allows employees to see where their respective organization wants to go while also seeing how their job fits into the grand scheme of things. Most importantly, be a positive role model by encouraging and supporting them as they work toward their respective goals.

·       Assign a Mentor:
Mentors can have a profound impact on new employees. They primarily serve as guides and resources in case new employees need help with their responsibilities. There is a much deeper meaning, however, than what that one statement alone implies. More often than not, mentors know what it takes to succeed. They have experience/insights and can share/teach new employee’s sound advice and guidance to help them succeed in their respective role. They may also have good and strong connections with other employees and can point new employees in the right direction for their professional/career goals that they are pursuing and want to achieve. Thus, mentors provide avenues in which new employees can be successful. One of the most important aspects of a mentor, however, is the ability to establish friendships with new employees. Mentors help new employees connect not only with them, but with the company and its values as well. What better way to have a new employee connect with the company and make a friend in the process than to assign a great mentor?

·       Being Available
Continually make yourself (or the mentor) available for your new hire. More often than not, there will likely be days where you may not be available to help them when they need you. Prepare for those days by communicating with them about what your day is going to look like and provide other resources/contacts that he/she can speak with if any questions arise. Do not leave them without some kind of support or resource while you are away.

·       Take them out for lunch/dinner:
Treat your new employee(s) as if they are the very best people in the world. As a matter of fact, they are the best people in your world because they are the next generation of employees who will bring about great changes sparked from their passion. Take them out to dinner and get to know them on a personal level. Understand their passion(s) and excitement. Get to know them and who they are. It’s an opportunity to have sometime outside of the workplace, enjoy a meal, enjoy each other’s company, and, ultimately, a perfect opportunity to connect, solidify friendships, and strengthen the employer-employee-company bond with one another.

First Month and Onward (Keeping the Flame Burning):

·       Follow Up:
One of the most important roles that you can fill for your new employee is to continually follow up with them. See how they are doing. Ask questions to gauge what they like/dislike about their position. Assess challenges that he/she is faced with and offer advice. Remember this lesson: continually follow up with him/her to fill in the gaps that he/she may feel is missing. Don’t let it go unfilled; otherwise, your new employee might be bound to slip away from you and your company.

·       Continue to set goals:
Generally speaking, new employees (and most employees for that matter) want to continue their growth and development. They do not merely want to stop where they are at after accomplishing one or a few goals. They want to move forward and ahead. Continue to set goals and make plans to help them reach those goals. Where do they want to go? How will they get there? What objectives should be set to help them reach their goal(s)? Gather their input and then work with them in charting their course to personal and professional success.

·       Continue to be Available:
At this point, the new employee may start to feel comfortable in his/her new role; however, more often than not, they may still need occasional guidance and direction. Continue to make yourself (or the mentor) available for your new hire. Again, if you are not available, direct your new employee(s) to someone who can assist in your absence. Even if it has been a month or longer since their first day of employment, never leave your new employee to fend for his or herself. Keep your door open to them and never shut it from them.

Afterwards, consider and evaluate the effectiveness of your program:

·       Elicit feedback:
Feedback can be a powerful catalyst to inspire change. It is also, however, a cyclical loop that continues to work wonders. The main idea is to learn from your new employees. Administer surveys or ask questions. Discover what they liked/disliked about the program. Look at what they would have liked to have seen or experienced. Work with management and others involved in the process to make needed changes. Continually elicit feedback to understand how you can make the process better for all who are involved in the onboarding process.

·       Gauge effectiveness with metrics and reporting:
In addition to feedback, also create metrics and reporting measures to gauge the effectiveness of your onboarding process. The feedback you receive can be converted into usable data that can help quantify how effective your onboarding process is. Look at the numbers and see where your onboarding process is strong while looking for areas of improvement.

You might be happily surprised with the results of an efficient, effective, and engaging program as you concentrate on treating your new employees as the most important people in this world. That’s because they are the most important people, along with your current employees as well. Be proactive. Test the process. Analyze the information. Makes changes where needed. Test again. See and experience results.

By: Mark A. McDonald
Human Resources, VertiSource HR 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Landmark EEOC Ruling Furthers LGBT Rights in the U.S.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is now enforcing a groundbreaking development under the Title VII Civil Rights Act: they are prohibiting sex discrimination and forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Over the past few years, through litigation, investigation, hearings and appeals, the EEOC has taken the position that existing sex discrimination provisions in Title VII protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) applicants and employees against employment discrimination. These federal protections apply regardless of any contrary state and local laws.

The EEOC isn’t adding a protected class (i.e. race, religion, national origin, disability, etc.) under this decision but rather interpreting and recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity to fall under unlawful sex discrimination; the protected class itself is “sex.”

The following are examples of LGBT-related sex discrimination claims (from the EEOC’s publication, What You Should Know About EEOC and the Enforcement Protections of LGBT Workers):
  • Failing to hire an applicant because she is a transgender woman.
  • Firing an employee because he is planning or has made a gender transition.
  • Denying an employee equal access to a common restroom corresponding to the employee's gender identity.
  • Harassing an employee because of a gender transition, such as by intentionally and persistently failing to use the name and gender pronoun that correspond to the gender identity with which the employee identifies, and which the employee has communicated to management and employees.
  • Denying an employee a promotion because he is gay or straight.
  • Discriminating in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, such as providing a lower salary to an employee because of sexual orientation, or denying spousal health insurance benefits to a female employee because her legal spouse is a woman, while providing spousal health insurance to a male employee whose legal spouse is a woman.
  • Harassing an employee because of his or her sexual orientation, for example, by derogatory terms, sexually oriented comments, or disparaging remarks for associating with a person of the same or opposite sex.
  • Discriminating against or harassing an employee because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, in combination with another unlawful reason, for example, on the basis of transgender status and race, or sexual orientation and disability.
The EEOC has created the following resource to assist employers in preventing discrimination in the workplace via Preventing Employment Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender Employees.”

VertiSource HR is committed to creating a workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination. For more information, contact

By: LeiLani Quiray, SPHR
HR Director of VertiSource HR