Uber DEI chief told to ‘step back’; Americans are growing older, faster

Uber's chief diversity officer is told to 'step back', while new data shows those aged 65 and over have increased by a third in the last decade

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May 26, 2023

Uber DEI chief told to ‘step back’

Uber’s chief diversity officer, Bo Young Lee, has been sensationally asked to “step back and take a leave of absence,” while the company decides what steps it will take after Lee moderated an Uber internal event titled ‘Don’t Call Me Karen’. [The name ‘Karen’ has increasingly been used as a term to describe someone who is perceived as being entitled, white, and sometimes racist]. The Uber employee event was aimed at discussing the “American white woman’s experience,” and was meant to invite white female Uber employees to discuss their perceptions. However, according to The New York Times newspaper, the effort to be inclusive was reportedly perceived as insensitive by employees of color, who said they felt it trivialized racism. Critics also said the event attempted to sympathize with the “white woman’s experience.” Lee has worked at Uber since 2018, where she has been charged with building “a work culture where radically diverse and inclusive teams drive innovation, accelerate growth, and build a work culture and systems where all employees have the opportunity to excel and grow to their highest potential.”

Americans are growing older, faster…

Data released this week shows that the number of Americans over the age of 65 grew by more than a third between 2010-2020 – which is the fastest rate of any decade in the last 130 years. That data now means people aged 65 and over comprise 16.8% of the total US population of 331 million. During the same time, however, the number of children under five has declined, meaning the median age in the US is now 38.8 – up from 37.2. While these numbers may not appear to be significant, the changes could have an important bearing on workforce composition, the types of jobs likely to be needed in the next 20 years, and whether the US has a high enough birth-rate to fill jobs that support people living longer. Also at stake is whether the number of working-age adults is sufficient to support older people through Social Security and Medicare contributions. Utah, home to the largest Mormon population in the US, is the youngest state, with a median age of 31.3 – a function of having one of the nation’s highest birthrates. Meanwhile Maine was the oldest state in the US, with a median age of 45.1. Experts argue the way America will avoid population decline is through immigration.

…as bipartisan immigration bill seeks to expand lawful migration

A new, bi-partisan bill has been published this week, which seeks to expand lawful migration channels and legalize many immigrants currently living in the country without permission. The near 500-page bill – introduced by lead sponsors Reps. María Elvira Salazar, a Republican from Miami, and Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who represents a district along the border in Texas – is the most detailed and wide-ranging attempt to reform US immigration laws in recent years. Most have not been updated in any significant way since the 1990s. Under the so-called Dignity Act of 2023, the bill would fund centers in Latin America where would-be migrants could be screened for eligibility to come to the US with the government’s permission, either because they pass initial asylum screenings or qualify for work visas. Unauthorized immigrants brought to the US as children, colloquially known as “Dreamers,” would be allowed to apply for permanent residency and ultimately citizenship through a version of the Dream Act proposal that has been floated in Congress since 2001. However, the bill is likely to face stiff opposition in a divided Congress – mostly from Republicans opposing any measures to legalize unauthorized immigrants.

US debt default could put jobs at risk

President Joe Biden has warned the economy could enter a recession, with the loss of more than a million jobs unless Republicans agree to raise the country’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling before a fast-approaching deadline. The deadline is June 1st and if the US treasury department is unable to pay its bills then according to a jobs calculator created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, up to 1.7 million jobs could be lost in the next 12 months. This would be significant enough to push unemployment up from 3.4% to 4.2%. However, if there is an even longer default, of say two months, this could have the impact of creating 8 million job losses, according to Moody’s. “The economic downturn that would ensue would be comparable to that suffered during the global financial crisis,” Moody’s Analytics warned. Officials already expect there to be a ‘mild’ recession – potentially by the end of the year – but even a small recession could put another one million jobs at risk, according to analysts.

IT recruitment company fined for discriminatory job ads

Infosoft Solutions Inc, which runs IT recruiting and contracting company operating as KForce Tech, has been fined $25,500 for posting discriminatory job ads, and those only seeking applicants from India. Federal investigators found that the company violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), by posting ads that wanted only non-US citizens who needed visa sponsorship, and for also seeking applicants who only came from India. “The Civil Rights Division will not tolerate national origin or citizenship status discrimination, and is committed to knocking down these unlawful discriminatory barriers,” said assistant attorney general, Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Clarke added: “When employers advertise jobs only to applicants from a certain country or who need temporary visas, they discourage all other eligible workers and deny them a fair chance to be considered.” Under the settlement, Infosoft will pay $25,500 in civil penalties to the United States. The agreement also requires the company to train its recruiters on the INA’s requirements, revise its employment policies and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

Illinois set to become latest state to implement pay transparency

Lawmakers in the Illinois Senate this week voted on new legislation (by a margin of 75-39), that should now force employers to disclose pay for roles in businesses with more than 15 staff. The bill has been the subject of a huge amount of disquiet from employers and employer groups alike, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Technology Manufacturers Association – both of whom opposed the bill in a House committee this week. Meanwhile Sen. Win Stoller, R-East Peoria, called the proposal “divorced from reality,” saying that the bill does not account for an often unpredictable hiring process. But, assuming the bill becomes law, Illinois will join New York, which last year required that all job postings include a minimum and maximum salary or wage. In 2019 Colorado passed a similar law requiring disclosure if pay ranges, while other states, such as California, Nevada, Maryland and Rhode Island, all require employers to disclose pay ranges to job applicants on request. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk to be officially signed into the statute book.

Michigan considers banning pre-employment drug testing

The state of Michigan is reportedly considering dropping the requirement for applicants for federal jobs to be tested for marijuana. According to Quest Diagnostics, a national lab company, marijuana use among US workers reached historic highs last year. It analyzed more than six million general workforce urine tests and found 4.3% tested positive for marijuana. This is up from 3.9% in 2021. In light of these findings, the Michigan Civil Service Commission is proposing a rule change that would drop pre-employment drug testing for marijuana, accept for certain designated jobs, such as state police troopers and drivers of commercial vehicles. The state is asking for feedback on the proposals, and will review this feedback during a public meeting on July 12th. Recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older has been legal in Michigan since 2018. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.


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