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February 08, 2024

The Shifting Landscape of Today’s Employment Discrimination Claims


At our most recent Annual Members Meeting, United States EEOC Commissioner, Keith Sonderling, joined Veris Insights Co-Founder & CEO, Carter Bradley, for a fireside chat to speak about some of the trends he’s seeing within the recruiting ecosystem. This is a summary of their conversation on the mental health and remote work trends Talent Acquisition teams are facing in 2024.


 

In the complex realm of Talent Acquisition, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest trends that are actively shaping the workforce landscape. One key aspect for TA professionals to keep in mind is the dynamic evolution of employment discrimination claims, shedding light on the nuance of workplace interactions.

The Unfolding Dynamics of Employment Discrimination Claims

Commissioner Sonderling shared with the group that, against the backdrop of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there were around 760,000 inquiries made, with approximately 73,000 charges leading to federal investigations. Although showing an increase from the year prior, these numbers remain significantly lower than in the post-recession era, suggesting potential positive shifts in workplace dynamics.

The Dominance of Retaliation Claims

Retaliation claims continue to dominate employment discrimination cases, often accompanying other allegations. A noteworthy trend emerges with disability discrimination as the primary underlying claim, showcasing a consistent upward trajectory, particularly in the context of Talent Acquisition.

 

Unpacking the Impact of COVID-19 on Workplace Dynamics

Religious Discrimination in the Wake of COVID-19

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a notable spike in religious discrimination claims, largely attributed to vaccine mandates. The unique challenges faced by TA and HR professionals in managing vaccination policies underscore the complexity of navigating religious exemptions.

Lingering Challenges Post-COVID-19

As vaccine mandates become a thing of the past, two intertwined issues persist—remote work/return-to-office mandates and the growing significance of mental health, especially among Gen Z talent. These challenges pose intricate questions for TA teams, requiring a delicate balance between organizational needs and individual well-being.

 

The Return-to-Office Dilemma and Escalating Mental Health Challenges

Legal Ramifications of Return-to-Office Mandates

Return-to-office mandates have become a central point of contention, leading to a surge in legal cases. TA and HR teams find themselves at the forefront of managing expectations and legal implications arising from these mandates.

Mental Health Claims on the Rise

Mental health claims, encompassing PTSD, depression, and anxiety, are on the rise. Employees are increasingly leveraging mental health considerations as grounds for accommodation requests, challenging TA and HR to navigate this sensitive terrain effectively.

 

Addressing Challenges in Talent Acquisition

Recruiting Amidst Remote Work Challenges

Recruiters face challenges in managing expectations, especially when promises of remote work are reconsidered. Striking a balance between business needs and employee expectations becomes crucial in maintaining a positive Talent Acquisition experience.

Accommodating Mental Health in Recruitment

The emergence of Gen Z talent, more open about mental health discussions, introduces a new dimension to recruitment. Crafting job descriptions that accommodate mental health needs for both applicants and employees becomes imperative, aligning with evolving legal considerations.

 

Navigating 2024: Mental Health and Remote Work as Top Priorities

As we step into 2024, the intertwined challenges of mental health and remote work are set to dominate the Talent Acquisition landscape. HR professionals and recruiters will need to adapt their strategies to address these issues, fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.

Commissioner Sonderling emphasized that staying attuned to these evolving trends will position Talent Acquisition teams to proactively navigate the dynamic landscape of recruiting and retention in the years to come.

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