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Jan 242013

This week’s Safe For Work Video looks at transgender discrimination.

In this video, Chai Feldblum, Dan Vale, and Melissa Brand present a brown-bag seminar on transgender discrimination.

Take a look at the video, and be sure to join us this afternoon at 3PM Eastern for The Proactive Employer Radio Show - we’ll be talking with Timothy Long and Lauri Damrell about the various types and forms of gender discrimination.

Jan 232013

equalworkequalpayPaying Employees Fairly: Examining Compensation Systems for Internal Pay Equity

Friday, March 15 from 1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern

Eventbrite - Paying Employees Fairly: Examining Compensation Systems for Internal Equity

The last three years have brought major changes in the legal and regulatory environment regarding compensation discrimination, and there are even more changes on the horizon. These changes affect the policies and procedures employers need to have in place to combat pay discrimination. The compensation review is a valuable tool in the employer’s risk management arsenal, yet few organziations put this tool to use. Employers can no longer afford to ignore this important tool.

In this webinar, we discuss how employers can manage the risk of pay discrimination claims by conducting a compensation review. Each stage of the compensation review is discussed, from the planning stage through the application of analysis inferences to business processes. Common pitfalls and data issues are discussed, and the importance of proper grouping of employees for comparison purposes is emphasized. Concrete examples drawn from real-life situations are used to illustrate each step in the review process and to highlight the effects of common pitfalls.

Areas covered inlude:

  • Recent changes in compensation discrimination laws and regulations;
  • Compensation challenges presented by the evolving legal and regulatory environment;
  • How a compensation review can assist in mitigating the risk of a compenstion discrimination lawsuit;
  • Successfully planning the compensation review project;
  • Types of compensation that can be examined by a review;
  • Construction of similarly situated employee groupings;
  • Identification of the determinants of compensation;
  • Pay data collection, assembly and cleaning;
  • Common compensation data pitfalls;
  • The use of multiple regression analysis to examine compensation for internal equity;
  • Evaluation of analysis results in terms of statistical significance, practical significance, sample size and explanatory power of the model;
  • Follow up investigations of potential problem areas identified in the analysis;
  • Making adjustments to compensation based on analysis results;
  • The importance of compensation decision documentation.

This program has been submitted to the HR Certification Institute for review.

About Your Presenter: Stephanie R. Thomas, Ph.D., is the CEO of Thomas Econometrics Inc. She is a noted authority on compensation gender equity and the quantitative analysis of discrimination. Dr. Thomas provides consulting services to Fortune 500 companies, major law firms, and government agencies such as the Department of Justice and the FBI. She has testified as an economic and statistical expert on questions of discrimination in employment decisions in federal and state courts throughout the United States.
Eventbrite - Paying Employees Fairly: Examining Compensation Systems for Internal Equity

Jan 212013

timothylonglauridamrellDealing with complex gender discrimination issues in the workplace is very challenging. From pay to promotion to pregnancy, employers are facing risks they may not be prepared to manage. Understanding what these risks are, and knowing what internal processes you should have, and what data and documentation you should maintain is a critical component of reducing these risks and ensuring your workplace is free of gender discrimination.

In this week’s episode of The Proactive Employer, we speak with Timothy Long and Lauri Damrell  about gender discrimination. We’ll discuss why gender discrimination is a family issue, not just a women’s issue. We’ll talk about the growing popularity of multi-million dollar gender discrimination suits and the trends in gender discrimination investigations from regulatory agencies. We’ll discuss specific vulnerabilities for employers in the areas of pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination, and provide some practical suggestions for employers on how to avoid gender discrimination lawsuits, and what to do should an employer find itself involved in complex gender discrimination litigation.

This show will air on Thursday, January 24th at 3 PM Eastern / 12 Noon Pacific on BlogTalkRadio.

The show will be available for on-demand listening at The Proactive Employer website, on BlogTalkRadio and via iTunes following the broadcast.


Dec 042012

Last week’s Safe For Work Video looked at unequal pay through the eyes of Capuchin monkeys (watch the video here). There have been tons of blog posts popping up using this experiment to highlight the gender pay gap.

Kasey Edwards wrote an essay at Daily Life entitled “The Video Every Woman Needs To Watch.” She draws parallels between her own career experiences and the actions of the monkeys refusing to accept lower payment (in the form of cucumbers instead of grapes) for the same work. She said “Im not suggesting I should have walked into my boss’s office and hurled my lunch at him. A little more impulse control than a primate is probably best. But I could have done with some of that monkey’s unfailing self-belief and refusal to accept the scraps out of life.”

Lindy West, writing at, says “[h]owever subconsciously, people think women are kinda dumb. But women don’t have to think that too, do we? Can’t we at least try to demand grapes, even if it’s frightening and ultimately gets is nowhere?”  She noted that the monkey “would never collaborate in its own oppression. That monkey knew that if its monkey-friend got a grape for doing the stupid pebble trick, it deserved a grape too. It’s only fair.” Lindy concludes her post with “I am a monkey now. F&#k your cucumber.”

Can women solve the gender pay gap by “throwing the cucumber”?

When we look at pay differentials by gender, one of the contributing factors is that women, generally speaking, don’t engage in compensation negotiations. Research indicates that men are far more likely to negotiate when it comes to compensation; one study found that 57% of men attempted to negotiate, while only 7% of women attempted to negotiate (details about the study can be found here). So, if “throw the cucumber” means arm yourself with information about market rates for your job and negotiate for what you think you deserve, then by all means throw that cucumber.

But before you do, make sure you’re making a cucumber-to-cucumber comparison, not a cucumber-to-grape comparison. Most real-world situations aren’t as clear-cut as the simple monkey example. If one monkey’s pebble is heavier than the other monkey’s pebble, is the grape a “pay premium” for more physically demanding work? Are the consequences of dropping the pebble the same for both monkeys, or does one have more responsibility than the other?

What if all we can see is the monkey taking the pebble from the researcher at noon and handing it back at 1PM, and we don’t know what the monkeys are doing with the pebbles during that hour? One monkey could simply be sitting there, waiting for the clock to tick so he can hand back the pebble, while the other monkey is performing a geological assay during that hour? Who deserves the grape and who deserves the cucumber?

Before you throw the cucumber, make sure you’re making the right comparison. Otherwise, you could end up looking sillier than a cowboy monkey riding a dog.


Images courtesy of AFP/Getty images and Tim Lepard, owner of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo


Nov 292012

This week’s Safe For Work Video looks at unequal pay through the eyes of Capuchin monkeys.

In this video, Frans de Waal describes an experiment he conducted with Capuchin monkeys to see if they responded to a sense of fairness. He paid the Capuchins in cucumbers and grapes for completing a simple task. When monkeys in neighboring cages were unequally rewarded (one received a cucumber and the other a grape) the Capuchin who was “underpaid” with cucumber rejected the pay, throwing it at the researcher.

There are numerous blog posts popping up using this experiment to highlight the gender pay gap; some posts are encouraging women to “throw the cucumber” and demand equal pay!

Take a look at the video, and next week I’ll post my thoughts on whether this experiment has any parallels for the gender pay gap.