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Feedback on Paternity Policies, Employee Tests

Letters to the editor about the September 4, 2003 Dear Workforce newsletter.
September 29, 2003
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Regarding paternity policies, Linda Konstan, president of LMK Associates in Denver, Colorado, and a former VP of HR at the American Humane Association, says "I love the info you send out…. I just saw the paternity leave question and answer. Although the answer addresses the practical and emotional aspects, it does not address the legal side.

The EEOC has said that failure to offer leave for fathers to bond with children after birth can be sex discrimination if the employer offers leave for moms to bond after birth.

So even if a company doesn't qualify for FMLA (because of too few employees) it needs to be certain to offer equal parental leave benefits to men and women. The company in the scenario offers four weeks leave for women (and I assume it is for bonding and not for pregnancy disability), so it must offer four weeks to men in the same category.

You can stratify these benefits, however. For instance, you may offer leave only to female managers and no other female employees (or whatever category of employee you choose). Then your only obligation is to offer similar paternity leave to male managers (or males in the chosen category)."

Regarding cognitive tests, Kerry L. Garman, principal, Paragon People Solutions in The Woodlands, Texas, and a former human resources executive for ConAgra Foods, Fortune Brands and Ralston Purina, says "The question on testing was technically correct, however, disconnected to the world of a human resources professional.

Suggesting that an individual conduct a validation study or try to combine tests may produce a valid collection of processes to use in the employment decisions. However, 99 percent of human resources professionals do not have the expertise or the time to do as this answer suggested. The vast majority of them are busy trying to fill positions, solve an organizational conflict or get out a payroll! Therefore, it was a correct answer without any hope of providing a solution.

A better answer would be to seek out a provider of assessment material and ask whether or not it was validated--and when. (Ask for the validation study!) They should also ask what the correlation is on predicting job success. It should be in the study. Correlations below .70 are consistently cautioned by experts as not predictive and would have trouble surviving the test of a courtroom.

There are many tests in the market place, the vast majority of which have a predictive correlation of below .50. Only a very few who continually conduct validation studies have a predictive correlation to job success of above .70 to job success."

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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