US Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao is doing her part to eliminate discrimination in the workplace. Chao recently presided over the Sixth Annual Asian Pacific American Federal Career Advancement Summit in Washington D.C. Held on May 3, 2007 the event boasted a record number of attendees. The event highlighted federal job opportunities throughout Alabama and the nation for residents of Asian Pacific descent.
Every employer knows that discrimination is illegal under the Alabama discrimination laws. Yet, too few do anything to actively prevent discrimination. The recent summit included participation by the Federal Asian Pacific American Council, the Social Security Administration, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Other summit partners included the US Depart of Justice, the US Department of Transportation, The US Treasury, The US Department of Defense, the US Department of Energy, the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Education.
The summit was held in cooperation with the US Office of Personnel Management. Its goal was to attract minority employees, while helping Asian Pacific Americans in the federal government build their career skills. The event included a plenary session, executive coaching by senior managers, and a number of workshops. An exhibit hall provided resources, and personal motivational testimonies provided inspiration and tips on how to progress in the workplace. The ten workshops included topics such as developing management potential, attracting effective employees and keeping top talent. For those new to the workforce, workshops included skills training in resume writing and interviewing.
The first annual summit was held in 2002 with just one federal partner and 150 attendees. This year, a record 1,300 people registered for the event, setting a new record. There were 31 exhibitors this year, many of whom were highlighting employment opportunities at their agencies. Asian Pacific Americans currently comprise 4.8% of the federal workforce.
Secretary Chao is the first Asian American woman to serve as a cabinet secretary. She leads the Department of Labor, which employs a record number of Asian Pacific Americans. Chao has served in that position longer than any other Secretary of Labor since the Eisenhower Administration. She is the second longest-serving woman in the slot. Since 1950, the average tenure of a Secretary of Labor has been about 3 years. Of the 24 U.S. Secretaries of Labor, six have been women. Five of those six have been appointed since 1987.
The labor law surrounding new hires in each state is different, thanks to a law passed by the federal government a few years back. The law makes it the rule that all employers—even those just with one employee, all the way up to massive multinationals—must report each and every new hire to a specific state agency, designated by each state in the manner set out by each state. Like I said, each state’s hiring labor laws are different.
The reason behind this new law is kind of part interesting, part sensible. The first reason for the law—which all states had to have in place no later than October 1998—was to catch any workers trying to pull off unemployment fraud. The other reason for the law change was to try to track folks who owed child support.
For the employer in Alabama, though, what does the law mean? Basically, it means that you better have all of your new hire’s forms in order as soon as they start working. Employers have 20 days under the general federal statute from the start of the employee’s hiring to report information on that person, so all of those human resource hiring forms—such as the application, the reference checks, and the wage deduction forms—should be organized and stored for each new hire.
Under the Alabama law, though, employers better have even a surer grip on all of their human resource new hire forms. In Alabama, the state gives employers only seven days to get in the necessary info about new hires. If you fail to do so, you could be fined up to $25 for each violation.
All of the new hire reports in Alabama must include the employee’s name, social security number, first day of work, and address in order to meet the labor law.