Category Archives: EEOC

Terminated Illegally (4)? Should I beg or should I bolt

Truth is not defined by others.
Truth is defined by you.

When faced with an employment termination, there are two basic reactions: Begging for your job back or accepting the fact you have no job – leaving the area with dignity (or not). Being in an executive positon for over a decade, I’ve had the displeasure of terminating more than a handful of employees. Though lesser appear to be shocked by the event, most know (at least on the subconscious level) their days are numbered.

Last submission we detailed what happened during David’s firing, today we’re going to return to the shark tank as we look at the final few minutes…

David: “There I was, Bertha held out my final compensation (minus 32 outstanding hours), making it clear my stay was no longer welcomed. I placed the few pieces of paper into my briefcase, thought for a moment, and stated ‘I am going to leave professionally because that is who I am.’”

Danny: “Did you think about apologizing or asking for reconsideration?”

David: “Throughout the 15 minute harpooning, the open wounds Bertha and Mr. Farris poured salt into went too far, too deep, too painful to allow another opportunity. I knew from the moment of walking into the office, a decision was made and rebuttal would be futile. Plus, I knew I was much better a person than the two bottom-feeders circling me.”

Danny: “Were you asked to sign anything? Were you given paperwork?”

David: “Did not sign anything. Was not asked to sign anything; besides,what value is there in a signature of a broken soul? I was given Mr. Farrris’ business card, a copy of my original application of employment, my final check, and a copy (signed by Bertha) of a Notice of Trespass Warning.”

Danny: “Can you summarize what a notice of trespass warning is for those not familiar?”

David: “Sure. The Notice of Trespass Warning given to me detailed how ‘I was NOT (all caps—an intimidation strategy?) authorized, permitted or invited to enter or remain on the property located at…. And went on to further advise that if I trespassed on said property, Chity College intends to pursue criminal charges through the State Attorney’s Office for Trespass. Any previous authorizations for you to enter or remain on the premises are hereby revoked… signed by Bertha.”

Danny: “And you were there for 18 months without incident? Were they afraid you would suddenly turn into a monster?”

David: “I don’t know what they were thinking other than the total annihilation of any resistance. Definitely felt like bolting out but thought twice about it. I wanted to be the professional, not the piece of dirt they were trying to label.”

When it comes to being fired, the tendency to lash back is fairly common. Problem with that: burnt bridges and it proves nothing. One can yell, fight, argue, and call the other names, but for what outcome. Truth is, you still will not have a job, no matter how loud you scream. The other option, walking out proudly, with head high, and dignity your companion, you prove yourself to be the professional in all ways.

David: “They tried to define me… to present their rationalized truth as reality. But their truth was filled by bias, by a sense of ignorance, and by a sense of what they wanted the truth to be. This way their illegal behavior could be justified and perhaps they would be able to sleep at night.”

Danny: “So you walked out professional, respectfully. That shows a great deal about character and who you are as an individual as well as a testament detailing the level of shallowness Bertha and Mr. Farris possess.”

David explained how vulnerable he felt as he stepped out the two front glass doors. A sense of confusion still intoxicated his mind. How could this be happening? What was he going to do next?

Next segment we’ll find out David’s next step and what actions are available.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how I can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

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Career Success: Your Call to Action

We started the New Year with a critical recognition that nothing has to stay the same. With that encouragement, we began to visualize possibilities for the future, allowing imagination to take flight. After reflecting on these and ruling out careers that you will absolutely not pursue, it’s time now to create a plan of action that will get you closer to the career of your dreams.

This next step is called a T-Chart. Mentioned in the first blog of the New Year, this is a great way to begin your plan of action. Here is a very basic example, with the generic plan of getting “a job”. You’ll notice that the left column lists the requirements of accomplishing the task listed at the top, and the right column lists actions that you must take in order to meet those requirements.

Of course, your T-Chart will be much more specific. You should make one of these for each realistic career possibility that you came up with during your brainstorming. You may need to research the essential requirements for each chart you make and the steps you must take to meet those requirements. Don’t forget – This is your future. The only thing standing between you and the career of your dreams is you.

Career Reality: This is the way to identify and reach goals. Putting your thoughts on paper and organizing them will help you see your next steps. Don’t forget also that your attitude is a large deciding factor in how all this works out. Be sure to keep the following in mind as you face the challenge of bringing dreams to life:

Be Willing

Embrace the process. Even if it seems pointless or tedious, trust that it is not. The discipline and organization of thought alone will be worth your time, and will help prepare you for whatever is in your future. A wise person once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t fall into that trap.

Be Realistic

This is about finding a career that will make you shine. It’s not just about finding the job that will pay you the most for the least amount of work. Don’t give into that fantasy. You are looking for the place where your capabilities and your passions meet. That is true success.

Be Positive

If you start making your T Chart and you see the list of requirements growing, don’t be discouraged. Remember that this is all an adventure that will ultimately lead to a place of fulfillment. We already agreed it wouldn’t be easy, but that doesn’t have to bring you down. See it as the adventure that it is and be excited that this time next week, next month, next year; you will be closer to the goal of your dreams than you ever were before.

Be Persistent

Most importantly, don’t give up. If you can be Willing, Realistic, and Positive, then Persistence will ultimately be a natural side effect. The right career is out there for you. And there is a legitimate process to reaching an ideal position – it’s not just luck. Take these steps and stick with your pursuit of your goals and I promise – you’ll never regret it.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Veterans Clashing Expectation and Reality

Anyone who has served their country is a hero, and should be treated as such.”

Courtesy of APUS
Courtesy of APUS

As Americans, we hear that saying a lot. Our veterans have served our country and deserve to have the red carpet rolled out to them. That’s the expectation many veterans have when leaving the service; everyone and every organization will roll out the red carpet to them.

In reality, the first cultural clash is often relived immediately upon return… rolling the rug is more often the exception. Do those who fought for our freedom deserve red-carpet treatment? Of course each veteran does; no one would argue against that. But that’s why it’s called an expectation.

Bridging civilian and military reality and expectations takes more than a plane ride, a bus ticket home, and a hope that the return will have a fairytale ending. Between two world views that rarely see the same thing, finding common ground is imperative to professional success. More often than not, common ground is defined by contributions.

Contributions come in various forms and phases. Christian HELP and the Central Florida Employment Council teamed with Education Career Services to create and provide free courses open to audiences ranging from high school graduates to entry-level candidates to those who have dedicated much of their lives to ensure freedom breathes on American soil.

Keeping it real, part one

Veterans have done their duty and served our country; now comes the hard part. Most veterans who are separating from the service have not planned on how they will go about taking the next step into civilian life. The decision to leave the military varies depending on the person and the circumstance, but all of them — whether they’re married or single — share in asking themselves, “What’s next?”

As they found out in the first week of boot camp, they all come from different places across the country and from different backgrounds. They all signed on the dotted line for different reasons and brought with them a different story. That was the first week, and they were quickly forced to realize that none of it mattered and that their success in boot camp would be determined by working together.

Being able to depend on their fellow comrades was instilled in them from day one. No matter the situation, there was always someone around that could relate or help them work through a problem. That’s the beauty of being in the military: they’re part of a family that extends across the world. And although their veteran status will always signify this, their physical separation from it is a new challenge.

The courses offered through Christian HELP and the Central Florida Jobs Initiative takes challenge and resolution to a level threaded by realism, empathy, compassion, and progression. Leveraged between expectation and reality, the veteran (as well as all students) is supported by six single-topic books to ensure a maximum learning and “becoming” experience is achieved by all.

Keeping it real, part two

It is not uncommon for a newly separated veteran to expect, “Hey, I just served my country. I deserve the best it can give back to me.” While this thought process is not illogical to someone who has made that sacrifice, it is unreasonable to think that society will cater to it — unfortunately. The quicker the veteran realizes that society doesn’t think it owes them anything, the quicker they can move on and not depend on it.

Yes, it can be a bitter truth, but it’s a truth requiring acceptance. This is the reality of what it is to be a recently separated veteran. They may have traveled across the world, gained priceless experiences, and adopted a surplus of skills to add to their arsenal, but it doesn’t matter in their transition unless they accept that they’re not entitled to a career and will have to work harder than the civilian to attain it.

Transitional reality: Truth can be painful, even rewarding, while ignorance of truth leads to anomie.

Putting on that uniform, whether the military personnel knew it or not, gave them a sense of comfort and security. They belonged to something. They were respected. They knew that no matter what, they would be sheltered, fed, and paid. One of the hardest, if not the hardest, phase they will go through in their transition is embracing a civilian world that may not be as endearing to what they’ve done, as they may have expected.

The military gave them a structure and forced them to abide by it. They did so and received the benefits of it in return. In “the civilian world” it is up to them to create a structure that works best for their needs and to establish themselves in a market where their skills will allow them to receive those same benefits in return. With the right research, resources, and effort, this will all be made possible to them… a strategy embraced and encouraged through Christian HELP… a strategy threaded by empowerment.

As a whole and consistent with economic reality, transitioning military personnel are hit hard when it comes to finding an appropriate job. Determined by the Veterans Career Confidence Index, 78% of veterans are not confident about finding a job that meets their abilities, meaning less than 22% actually do feel secure. Held by the keyword “confidence,” when asked, the most important skills veterans felt they gained in the military were intangible skills: self-discipline, attention to detail, teamwork, decision making, problem solving, respect, calm under stress, multi-tasking, and willingness to help others.

Four-fifths of employers agree that their company will hire the best talent regardless of veteran status. Many employers refer to several intangible skills veterans bring to the work place, such as, self-discipline, teamwork, attention to detail, and more. The key to transitioning success is clear: effective translation of tangible military skills to business-use gives veterans a leg up. Here resides strategic maneuvering and the essence of an American culture driven to do the “right thing.”

Keeping it real, conclusion

When it comes to doing the right thing for those loyal to our safety, security, and freedom, action begins on the micro-level… at the you and me level. Wishing never to shy away from responsibility while de-clashing expectations and reality, Education Career Services’ newest hire, John, is a recent veteran who also happens to be an outstanding writer. John’s influence and perspective will prove to be beneficial during Central Florida Jobs Initiative efforts as well as for those unable to attend classes but desire the collective books, including the most recent Veteran Transition is the Mission book(s) offered through Education Career Services.

Anyone who has served their country is a hero, and should be treated as such” can no longer be a social-numbing rationalizing mantra designed to justify misplaced stereotypes. From this point forward, the journey from the military world onto the civilian world must be paved with compassion; compassion defining America and all the people proud to be an American.

Christian HELP deployed a six-session workshop designed to connect the unemployed, underemployed, and military personnel to companies seeking quality candidates ready for hire. The complete and intense workshop goes beyond the surface of simply finding a job. As opposed to template classroom sessions and courseware, each participant takes an active role onto a journey so succinctly stated by a recent graduate as: “The most effective career tool I’ve ever been involved with.”

Without hesitation or debate, veterans are saddled by challenges, mostly phantom ones created by civilian unfamiliarity; herein resides the crack gapping veteran expectations and civilian realitya gap needing eviction.

Education Career Services is proud to partner with Christian HELP and the Central Florida Jobs Initiative. For those interested in career management courseware, full length books, or employment-targeted booklets, go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available military and non-military support.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Author, Publisher, Nationally Recognized Speaker
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Education Career Services for civilian and transitioning military career: www.edu-cs.com

Age Discrimination is Alive and Kicking

Securing a job at any age is difficult. For the older unemployed (anyone over 35) the battle to find employment opportunities can be a humbling and a devastating experience. After all, most at that age are accustomed to a lifestyle where financial quakes damage the individual and the family beyond imagination.

Though discrimination based upon race, age, religion and the sorts is illegal, we all know discrimination is alive and kicking in the hiring process. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that’s just the way it is. Taking a realistic look at what old folks are facing as they apply and interview, it’s time to understand the reasons from the other side of the desk.

Let’s take a moment and look through employer eyes to evaluate his or her justification to overtly break established rules of conduct by excluding the most experienced.

* Old folks are often labeled as expensive whereas younger adults work for less. True or not, no matter your age, it’s about value and return on investment which drives the hiring process. For those oldies out there, your greatest advantage over the youngsters is hands-on experience. First-hand knowledge means less training costs, less job confusion, less attrition, and less professional guesswork. First-hand knowledge also means more work diversity, more problem/resolution issues have been tackled, and an increase of confidence.

* Old folks are only looking to work for a few years while youngsters are seeking a career. True or not (and I lean to not true), employee age is not a good indictor to career tenure. Statistically, workers change their careers 4 to 6 times during their life… that number is expected to increase as technology is creating remote-friendly offices and global competition. Old or young, it is up to you to convince employers that you are looking for stability and your loyalty will not be questioned.

* Old folks carry baggage and they are not worth retraining. What are your thoughts: Why do some employers think this way? True or not, many believe that an employee who has been working in the field for 20 years or more is not willing to change with the times. After all, employers can hire a newbie with a clean slate and not have to worry about bad habits. Your goal, young or old, is to confirm the ability to learn new things and the desire to cross-train into other departments. By doing so, you are showing hiring managers a progressive character and work ethic. Taking advantage of professional development opportunities adds huge points in your favor… sitting back over past 20 years doing the same job over and over again (without attempting to learn or progress) takes points away.

To summarize, discrimination is a part of life, and I suspect it will be a constant tag along. Recognizing what drives hiring decisions (to the good or to the not-so-good) allows one to establish a counter attack, effectually introducing your arsenal of value which will sway perceptions to your favor.

If you have specific situations or questions needing resolve, forward and our team of career professionals will address.

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Hiring on the Square? Beware: EEOC IS Watching

On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), by a four to one vote, enacted regulations that directly affect company hiring policies and practices. Hiring managers not in the know or playing on a discriminatory field, you best listen up. For individuals with an arrest or conviction, the following information and tools are dedicated to you.

As of recent, companies instituting a “blanket ban” elimination policy that targets potential employees who happen to have an arrest or conviction in their background, those days of instant slicing are numbered.

Fact: New EEOC regulations no longer allow companies to automatically eliminate candidates on the basis of an arrest.

This single act affects an estimated 65 million United States adults (not to mention their families) who are saddled by a criminal record. Before getting overly emotional (as the pendulum swings), companies still make their own decisions when it comes to hiring. When it comes to considering ex-felons, company policy and agents must now consider business necessity.

Fairly easy to follow and defined by the EEOC, employers are obligated to examine three factors in making an employment decision:

1.  The nature and gravity of the offense
2.  The time that has passed since the conviction and/or sentenced completion
3.  The nature of the job held or sought

For individuals with a career barrier, these new rulings are aimed to give you an opportunity to explain a report of criminal activity before being rejected. Knowing identity and information errors occur, an opportunity to explain could resolve hesitation before it gets out of control.

Wondering if there is bite to the EEOC bark? Ask Pepsi Co. Due to discriminatory hiring practices, Pepsi Co. recently settled litigation and agreed to pay 300 African American males a total of $3.13 million.

By way of specifics, Pepsi’s old policy screened out applicants who had been arrested but never convicted, applicants convicted for minor offenses, and applicants convicted decades earlier. The EEOC found that Pepsi’s policy violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits any form of employment discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, and other protected categories.

The EEOC based its finding of a Title VII violation on the fact that African Americans are more likely to be barred by Pepsi’s old policy than other demographic groups. According to the FBI’s annual crime report, African Americans represent 28.3 percent of all arrests in the United States—yet only 12.9 percent of the U.S. population.

By way of summary, highlights of the EEOC’s new criminal record guidance is as follows:

  • Firing existing employees with no performance or safety issues because a new employer taking over a business learns of a record when conducting background checks of the workforce;
  • The three “business necessity” factors (age of the offense, seriousness of the offense, and the relationship to the job) contained in the EEOC’s 1987 convictions policy;
  • On line applications that kick people out when they indicate that they have a criminal record are no longer an acceptable hiring practice;
  • The conclusion that across-the-board exclusions usually violate Title VII; and
  • The prohibition against considering arrests that have not led to convictions

Does this mean companies must hire individuals possessing an arrest or conviction? Title VII does not regulate the acquisition of criminal history information. However, another federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (FCRA), does establish several procedures for employers to follow when they obtain criminal history information from third-party consumer reporting agencies.

Let’s review the landscape by detailing a few statistics as to why this ruling is significant:

  • One in 29 adults between the ages of 20 and 34 in the U.S. is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure jumps to 1 in 9
  • Nationwide, 13 percent of black men have lost the right to vote, a rate that is seven times the national average
  • One in every 99 U.S. adults are behind bars
  • Fifty percent of all ex-offenders are unemployed
  • The U.S. prison population is currently 2.3 million individuals
  • 1 in 35 citizens have been arrested, convicted, and/or imprisoned

Making fair employment decisions based upon a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities just lost an elimination loophole.

Heed the EEOC warning: Companies not on the square and relying on a blanket ban to discriminate against qualified ex-felons may find themselves with more than a slap on the hand.

On a professional note, I recently conducted workshops at two national conferences (NACE and APSCU) where we discussed “guiding students with career barriers.” Few career directors in the audience were aware of the EEOC changes, which was surprising. Fortunately many at the conference have been empowered by knowledge and are better equipped to inform and assist companies to modify their hiring procedures.

For those not in attendance, ignorance of EEOC regulations is not a defense.

Individuals with an arrest or criminal background, there is hope as well as many resources you can use to better equip and sell yourself as well as enhance the chances of gaining and succeeding in an interview. One such tool is found through a “letter of explanation.”

A letter of explanation is a single-page account defining the circumstances surrounding a specific incident. This powerful asset (when written properly) desensitizes interviewer objections by outlining personal/professional growth. For more information on this topic and our career-barrier focused booklet designed to assist ex-felons gain employment as well as information regarding our diverse career courseware library dedicated to career success, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon (search Danny at ECS).

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs