Questions that if you’re a transgender job applicant, you may have

Gavel On Rainbow Flag

Last time, we provided some resources to help transgender students look for jobs once they’ve graduated. Still, if you’re transgender, you know that there will be questions you have either during the interview process or the hiring stage regarding your workplace rights.

For example, right off the bat, you may be wondering whether or not you should include your preferred name on your job application.

According to Jillian T. Weiss, the executive director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, using your birth name on a job application is not a legal necessity.

Weiss does say, however, that if an applicant is asked to provide any previous names that they have gone by, on the application, it is likely that the employer will be initiating a background check. In this case, it may be beneficial to be open and honest about your gender identity as omitting the information may be seen as a misrepresentation of yourself.

Depending on whether or not you wish to receive employee health insurance, once you’ve been hired by a company or organization, know that you will have to specify the gender you wish the insurance company to identify you as.

According to Mary Beth Barritt of the University of Vermont, depending on your specified gender preference, you may be ineligible for insurance coverage for certain gender-specific treatments.

But, don’t worry.

According to HIPAA law, a law that regulates the sharing of health information between individuals and their healthcare providers, a patient’s gender identity cannot be disclosed to an employer without the individual’s consent.

With HIPAA law in mind, you may be wondering whether there are other workplace protections in place for transgender employees. The answer is that… it’s complicated.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on their sex, race, color, national origin and religion. However, Title VII does not explicitly provide legal protections for individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, in recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, has fought to expand this protection.

In 2011, the EEOC brought to the 11th Circuit Court United States Court of Appeals a case of a transgender female who alleged unlawful discrimination by her employer, the Georgia General Assembly (GCA).

In her claim, the plaintiff, a transgender female, stated that she had been unfairly terminated from her position at the GCA because she had gone through a gender transition while employed there.

Referencing a Supreme Court decision from 1989, in which, a woman was denied a promotion at work because her supervisor felt that she “did not act as a woman should act”, the Court of Appeals decided that a human being is classified as transgender based on “the perception that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes [and gender-behavioral norms]”. Since, according to the Cornell Law School, The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, dictates that, “individuals must be treated in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances”, the EEOC concluded the plaintiff was unlawfully terminated.

In recent years, at least two other cases appealed by the EEOC and tried by the Court of Appeals have come to the same conclusion.

First, in 2004, when Jimmie L. Smith had his employment terminated after he “began to express a more feminine appearance [at work]” and notified his employer he would be transitioning from male to female. The second occurred in 2016, when Jennifer Chavez, a transgender female, was immediately terminated from Credit Nation LLC. for, “sleeping on company time”, although; she had had no previous infractions and company policy dictated measures that worked to correct employee behavior before termination was considered.

The EEOC doesn’t just qualify sex discrimination as unlawful termination, though. According to the EEOC’s official website their definition also includes:

The fact remains that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and The Equal Protections Clause are up for interpretation by state governments. Despite this, 92% of “CEI rated employers”, provide gender identity protections for transgender individuals, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

Society has a long way to go, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to work regardless race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity but that doesn’t mean we won’t get there.

References:

Price waterhouse v. hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989)., 1989).

Smith v. city of salem, 378 F.3d 566 (6th cir. 2004), 2004).

Glenn V. brumby 663 F.3d 1312 (11th cir. 2011)., 2011).

Chavez v. credit nation auto sales, LLC., 2016 WL 158820 (11th cir. jan. 14, 2016)., 2016).

Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm

Barritt, B. M. (2010). FAQ’s for transgender job seekers. Retrieved from https://www.ou.edu/career/pdfs/FAQtransjobseekers.pdf

Fidas, D., & Cooper, L. (2017). Corporate equality index 2017. (). Washington, D.C.: Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2017). What you should know about EEOC and the enforcement protections for LGBT workers (examples of LGBT-related sex discrimination claims).. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/enforcement_protections_lgbt_workers.cfm

Weiss, T. J. (4 October 2011). Trans job applications: To name or not to name?. Retrieved from http://bilerico.lgbtqnation.com/2011/10/trans_job_applications_to_name_or_not_to_name.php

 

Job resources for transgender students

 

Equal opportunityResume building, interview preparation and cover letter writing are tough beasts to conquer to secure a job. However, there is a less frequently talked about but far tougher beast to conquer when job searching: workplace discrimination.

Yes, even in 2017 discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, sexuality, and in the case of today’s blog post, gender identity, is still a prominent issue.

Last year, the rate of unemployment for transgender individuals was triple the rate of the general population—at 15% compared to 7.5% for the general population–according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS).

Of the 27,000 respondents for the NTDS, 27% reported not being hired for a position and 73% reported either being fired, passed up for a promotion or simply being harassed verbally or physically at work.

So obviously, there are still strides to be made. Nevertheless, there are resources available to help place transgender individuals with companies that will make them feel welcome and valued. Here’s a few:

360HR: This is a national job coaching firm that partners with employers to build culturally diverse workforces.

All you have to do is fill out an online application providing where you’re located, your resume, your LinkedIn URL (if you don’t have one you should sign up for one) and whether or not you’re able and willing to relocate for a job and 360HR will help find the right fit for you.

Out for Work (OFW): OFW helps students cultivate and enhance their skills, explore career options, master job search techniques and strategies and research employment opportunities.” Interested applicants can access their job boards for free here.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates: Like 360HR, Out & Equal works with companies—and government agencies—to provide employers with the proper training to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees feel welcomed and valued by their employers. Individuals searching for equal opportunity employers can visit the organization’s job board here.

Transgender Employment Program (TEP): The TEP operates out of San Francisco but has regional offices across the United States. They offer career coaching, job search support, leadership training, community networking opportunities and legal aid.

Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index: Every year the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which provides legal counsel to those that have experienced workplace discrimination, publishes the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a tool for measuring best equality and inclusion corporate policies and practices.

By evaluating the following criteria the HRC is able to rate employers of Fortune 5000 companies on a percent scale of 0-100—with 0 being the lowest score an employer could receive.

  • Internal Revenue Service 990 tax filings for business foundations’ gifts to anti-LGBT groups
  • Court cases and allegations against the organization concerning discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Reported cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity reported to the HRC by individuals or unofficial LGBT groups.

To find out which companies received a 100% rating for this year’s CEI visit: http://www.hrc.org/campaigns/corporate-equality-index

References:

James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

925Hire, L. D. (2016). 360HR more than recruiting: Understanding ¦ training ¦ succeeding.. Retrieved from http://360hr.co/

Fidas, D., & Cooper, L. (2017). Corporate equality index 2017. (). Washington, D.C.: Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. (2017). Out & equal workplace advocates. Retrieved from http://outandequal.org/

Out for Work. (2017). Out for work: Be educated. be prepared. be empowered.. Retrieved from http://outforwork.org/jobs/default.asp

Trans Employment Program. (2016). Trans employment program. Retrieved from http://transemploymentprogram.org/

Why diversity and inclusion are the keys to your company’s success

Diversity and tolerance

If you’re a business owner or manager, listen up. You’ve probably heard the terms diversity & inclusion before. However, the message behind these terms has gotten lost in office politics.

Diversification and inclusion isn’t about hiring an employee to meet a quota based on ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, disability, sexuality, education or religion.

They are about hiring an employee because their differences provide them a unique perspective. It is about valuing them as an employee regardless of these factors.

While these may hardly seem like issues we’re still facing in the 21st century, let’s consider these facts:

  • Men are 30% more likely than women to be promoted from entry- level positions to manager (Women in the Workplace).
  • Only 5 out of all Fortune 500 companies have African American CEOs (CDC, Diversity Inc.).
  • 40% of people think there’s a double-standard against hiring women—both men and women are more likely to hire men over women (Pew).
  • 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers (Glassdoor).
  • 57% of employees think their companies should be more diverse (Glassdoor).
  • 41% of managers say that they are “too busy” to implement diversity initiatives (SHRM).

Despite this, a report from the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute, found that, non-white individuals made up 33% of the workforce in 2012. Women made up nearly 50% of the workforce. To increase these numbers, CEOs will have to initiate diversity and inclusion practices.

“We’re getting better year over year at understanding the importance of valuing diverse inputs and respecting our differences in ways that foster trust and collaboration”, says Erika Hopkins, head of inclusion and diversity at Staples Inc.

In fact, a recent study conducted by Stephanie N. Downey (University of Georgia), Lisa van derWerff (Dublin City University), Kecia M. Thomas (University of Georgia) and Victoria C. Plaut (School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, found a correlation between feelings of inclusion among employees whom had diverse backgrounds and their overall workplace engagement.

The study surveyed over 4,000 health sector employees and concluded that when diversity practices were effective and fostered high levels of inclusion workplace engagement was high.

The effectiveness of these diversity practices, according to the study, were largely dependent upon the “trust climate” of the workplace. If an employee of a diverse background felt that the diversity practices of the organization fostered inclusion then they were likely to act in service of the organization.

Dr. Duperval Brownlee of Ascension, a faith-based healthcare organization, spoke to this fact in Equal Opportunity magazine and suggested the key to breaking the barriers within an organization:

“It’s [Ascension] one of the nation’s largest non-profit healthcare systems, but I’ve found that ours is a culture where people come to work mission-led, whatever their position. […] Because of it, we’re more collaborative and inclusive and respectful of each other. We’re connected to a purpose bigger than us.”

References:

Burns, C., Barton, K. & Kerby, S. (12 July 2012). The state of diversity in today’s workforce. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2012/07/12/11938/the-state-of-diversity-in-todays-workforce/

Downey, van derWerff, Thomas and Plaut as qtd. in Deloitte. (May 2015). The role of diversity practices and inclusion in promoting trust and employee engagement. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/human-capital/articles/role-diversity-practices-inclusion-trust-employee-engagement.html

Equal Opportunity: The Career Magazine. (Spring 2017, Ascension’s Duperval-Brownlee delivers purposeful patient care. Equal Opportunity: The Career Magazine, 50, 22.

Equal Opportunity: The Career Magazine. (Spring 2017, Managers speak out!: Valuing diversity & inclusion fosters trust & collaboration at staples. Equal Opportunity: The Career Magazine, 50, 9.

Stutes, B. (1 December 2016). The state of US workplace diversity in 14 statistics. Retrieved from http://archpointgroup.com/the-state-of-us-workplace-diversity-in-14-statistics/

 

 

 

 

Know the signs to combat workplace stress

 

stress level conceptual meter indicating maximum

So, you’ve been out of college for a year now, going on countless interviews looking for your dream job and now you’ve got it!

You’re on your path to changing the world and want to prove that you’re a hard worker. So, you figure that right out of the gate, you’re going to give it everything you’ve got.

Stay late every night for a week? Sure! Work weekends? Sign me up!

These are all admirable qualities in a new hire but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew and quickly becoming burnt out.

A study published in May by the nonprofit organization, Families and Work Institute, found that out of over 1,000 respondents, 28% often or very often felt overworked while 28% reported feeling overwhelmed.

While occasionally staying at work late or working through the weekend is acceptable, and sometimes even mandatory, making this a habit can have adverse health effects.

A study published in 2014 by The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, found that those who worked more than 55 hours per week–both men and women–had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack.

The same study found that those who worked 55 hours per week were 33% percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those who worked 35-40 hours per week.

But considering that it’s common to have periods of stress at work, how do you notice the red flags that the effort may not be worth it anymore?

Dr. John Ballard, a psychologist at The American Psychological Association, says these signs may suggest that you’re burnt out at work and need a change.

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Slip in Job Performance/In Hygiene
  • Being Preoccupied With Work Outside of Work

Other side effects, according to Business Insider, include:  

  • Irritability towards coworkers/customers
  • Responding to questions about your job with one-word answers
  • Feeling liberated after a Friday at work
  • Dreading every Monday morning

stress level conceptual meter indicating maximumSo, what can you do to reduce or eliminate burn out?

  • Figure out what’s causing the burn out: Has your workload increased while your resources to handle the increase haven’t?
  • Talk with your boss to reassess your responsibilities and resources: If more responsibility has been handed to you but the resources haven’t then talk to your supervisor to see if any resources e.g. people; can be spared.
  • Take breaks: According to fastcompany.com, taking a break every 50-90 minutes rejuvenates your mind, helping you to continue focusing on a task once you’ve come back to it.
  • Get a solid 8 hours of sleep: The quickest way to burn yourself out is to frequently come into work already exhausted.
  • Plan ahead: If you have a big project coming up, split it up into smaller tasks so that it’s easier to manage and can be completed on time or a few days early.

References:

Baer, D. (19 June 2013). Why you need to unplug every 90 minutes. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3013188/why-you-need-to-unplug-every-90-minutes

Dr. John Ballard qtd. in Lisa M. Gerry. (1 April, 2013). 10 signs you’re burning out — and what to do about it. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/#15dbefc2625b

Families and Work Institute qtd. by ABC News. (16 May, 2017). Study: U.S. workers burned out. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93295&page=1

Gillett, R. (23 June 2016). 25 signs you’re burned out at work. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/signs-youre-burned-out-at-work-2016-6/#-1

Kivimaki, M., Jokela, M. & Nyberg, T. Solja et. al as qtd. in John Ross. (14 December 2015). Only the overworked die young. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/only-the-overworked-die-young-201512148815stress level conceptual meter indicating maximum

4 open-ended interview questions and what employers really want to know

Applicant and recruitment procedure

A job interview is your first and only opportunity to make a positive face-to-face impression. So, it’s important that you’re prepared to answer whatever questions come your way.

However, not all questions are going to have simple yes or no answers or require you to rattle off your work experience and skills. Employers may simply want to gauge your ability to think critically or assess how you’ll fit into the company culture.

You might be wondering: Where do I begin to answer the question? How much detail is too much detail and what are employers looking for in my answers?

So, here are 4 commonly-asked, interview questions and what employers really want to know:

  1. What can you tell me about yourself? Employers typically ask this question so they can learn about your previous work experience and gauge your skills. Kathryn Minshew, a writer for The Muse.com, a website that offers career advice to job seekers, suggests that to answer this question, job candidates should use the Present-Past-Future Formula.

This formula prompts job candidates to guide their answer by talking about present and past job positions they’ve held, the skills they acquired through their past positions and how their experiences and skills pertain to the position they’re applying for.

2. What is your greatest weakness? It may seem counterintuitive to go into a job interview and explain in detail your greatest weakness to a potential employer. However, it’s important to realize that they’ll simply want to ensure you’re aware of your weaknesses and have taken steps to improve.

So to answer this question, you might want to share an anecdote about a time one of your weaknesses e.g. an inability to delegate tasks, threatened your work efficiency and explain how you overcame that challenge e.g. by learning to delegate tasks.

Monster.com says that when choosing a weakness to discuss, make sure it’s not directly related to the job you’re applying for e.g. if the job required you to keep track of and file documents, it would be unwise to mention that you have a problem with organization.

Instead, mention that you tend to take on more work than you can handle. So essentially, don’t place doubt in your employers mind that you are unable to handle critical components of the job.

3. What is your greatest strength? When asking this question, employers typically want to confirm that you have the credentials listed on your resumé. So, don’t be vague when giving your answer.

Detail concrete examples of situations where you exhibited a strength in order to complete a task e.g. being detail-oriented helped you to identify a mistake in a client logo that no one else had noticed and was due to be printed on 100+ shirts.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years? According to Dayvon Goddard from LinkedIn, employers want to know that their potential investment in you is going to be a valuable one. Do not place doubt in their minds by suggesting that your potential investment in them is not a long-term one.

Instead, suggest that you are interested in growing with the company and that the position is pertinent to your long-term career goals.

Begin preparing answers to these questions now so you’re not thrown off guard during a job interview. Make sure that you’re confident in your answers so that a potential employer is confident in your abilities.

Need some practice?

The USF Career Success Center conducts mock interviews.

Visit Tower Hall N204

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Adams, S. (6 February, 2014). 4 ways to use facebook to find a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/02/06/4-ways-to-use-facebook-to-find-a-job/#16480f0f1fab

Doyle, A. (18 January 2017). Best way to answer interview questions about your weaknesses. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-your-greatest-weakness-2061288

Goddard, D. (15 July 2014). Where do you see YOURSELF in 5 years? (how to answer). Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140715181346-135125319-where-do-you-see-yourself-in-5-years-how-to-answer

Martin, C. (2017). List of strength & weaknesses: What to say in your interview. Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/greatest-strengths-and-weaknesses

Minshew, K. (2017). A simple formula for answering “tell me about yourself”.. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-simple-formula-for-answering-tell-me-about-yourself

 

New and Improved USF Career Success Center Web Pages

Check out the recently updated USF Career Success Center webpages. It’s a one-stop spot for alumni, current students and employers. USF Career Success Center staff assists students with their employment needs. We are devoted to helping students and alumnus research career options. In doing so, we focus on the individual needs, goals, and values of each student. The Career Success Center believes in personal and professional development therefore assistance with job search, resume and cover letter writing, along with career counseling are among the services available.