Is our weather delay/closing policy discriminatory?

AuthorDelogu, Nancy

Q Our company's inclement weather policy follows the local school district--if there's a two-hour delay at school, our office has a two-hour delay. Our CEO wants to say that the two-hour delay will only apply to employees who have school-aged kids. I think that could discriminate against older workers.--Anonymous, Illinois

  1. I agree that your policy should be uniform for all workers, regardless of whether they have childcare obligations. And, of course, you do not need to follow the school delay and closing schedule.

    Also, regardless of whether the existing policy discriminates based on age, it will no doubt create disagreements between employees. You should consider a more uniform policy that allows employees to take unplanned leave when the weather is inclement, and pay those who miss time at work out of available PTO, if you offer paid time off.

    Online resource To sort out when you need to pay workers for inclement weather absences, see our flowchart at www.theHRSpecialist.com/snowday.

    How do we navigate the personal pronoun issue?

    Q We are a small nonprofit. Are we required by law to include employees' preferred pronouns in our organization's email signature template? Must we require employees to refer to their colleagues by their preferred pronouns? It becomes stressful when an employee identifies as non-binary and consistently reminds everyone to use "they/them" pronouns.--Phyllis, Texas

  2. At least three jurisdictions (California, Oregon, and the District of Columbia) have adopted laws recognizing "non-binary" individuals and allowing these individuals to identify as neither male nor female. These laws say employers must honor their employee's choice of pronouns and names to be used at work.

    A Pew Research survey of Generation Z employees (between age 16 and 24) says 35% of them know someone who identifies as gender neutral. Current estimates suggest that only half a percent of Americans identify as non-binary, but that is still more than two million people.

    Legally, you're not obligated to include someone's preferred pronouns in your email signature. But allowing...

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