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California is a state that has in many respects paved the way in the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. When a company embraces greater diversity, it benefits from a wider talent pool, more engaging productivity and an increase in employee morale. Teams in the modern world must prepare themselves for success by implementing sound diversity and inclusion tactics.

Maintaining a culture that respects and encourages diversity

Diversity and inclusion comes with numerous benefits, and it provides greater protections for all of your workers. Developing a workplace that encourages a diversity of backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, genders and races ensures your company presents an inclusive and supportive image to the world.

The employer should lead the charge to protect employees from discrimination. Candidates now look to a company to provide a work environment where they can grow and learn. Fresh perspectives come from hiring people who have varied backgrounds and interests. Diversity leads to greater employee innovation and performance. When a diverse group of individuals works on a problem, a wider range of possibilities and problems are addressed.

Diversity requires an intentional decision to employ workers who come from a wide array of backgrounds. A company that hires based on diversity demonstrates better problem-solving, creativity and innovation.

Creating a flourishing work environment

Policies that ensure hiring managers understand how an applicant’s background can contribute to a better and more diverse company can help a company achieve the goal of creating a better work environment. When a company brings in diverse talent and ideas, it can avoid an approach to thinking that limits creativity. Making inclusion and diversity a part of company culture creates a more productive and enjoyable atmosphere.

Ensuring your company has a diverse workforce can make it a better place to work for everyone. However, you may find hiring a variety of people from different backgrounds is not easy, especially if you seem to attract the same type of applicants every time you put out a job ad.

TechRepublic explains that you may need to switch up how you advertise a job opening and seek out diverse groups to help vary the applicants you get for a job opening.

Ad placement

The first thing you can do is rethink where you place ads. Consider the audience you will reach by using certain platforms. Try to use a variety of placements that may reach different groups of people. For example, if you cannot attract older applicants, consider placing an ad on Facebook, which tends to have an older crowd.

Ad content

You should also pay attention to the content of your ads. Are you narrowing the pool of potential applicants by making your job requirements too strict? This is a common mistake. Rethink what characteristics and qualifications a person really must have to do the job. Do not ask for too much. You could be chasing off diversity by putting too many requirements in the ad.

Also, revise the language you use. Make sure it is inviting to everyone.

Ad website

Whenever you have your ad include your website, you need to be sure the website shows you welcome diversity. If your website only shows images of older white males, it may not seem very encouraging to people who are not older white males. Showcase the diversity you already have within your company to draw in a diverse applicant pool.

You have to make diversity a priority to draw in a good group of applicants. Make sure you are not placing limitations on yourself through the job advertising process.

Many California residents procrastinate with estate planning. However, estate planning is a good idea for adults of all ages since the unexpected could happen. People who write estate plans can also use them to ensure that their beneficiaries get the maximum possible amount without a portion of the estate being eaten up through taxes. Estate planning can also help to ensure that your assets will go to the people you want to receive them instead of them being passed to the wrong people. Here are a couple of ways estate planning can help your beneficiaries receive a greater portion of your assets.

Reducing income taxes

Some people assume that they only need to write estate plans if they are very wealthy so that they can avoid estate and gift taxes. However, people who receive certain types of assets might also have to pay higher income taxes. For example, if you have a 401(k), a traditional IRA, or another tax-deferred retirement account, the beneficiary of one of these types of retirement accounts will have the amounts they receive added to their incomes. This can bump them into a higher income tax bracket, and they will also have to pay income taxes on the total amount distributed to them. Converting your traditional IRA or 401(k) to a Roth IRA can help your loved ones to avoid having to pay income taxes on what they receive.

Avoiding estate and gift taxes

If your estate is worth $11.58 million or more as an individual, your estate will be subject to federal estate taxes. Careful estate planning can help you to reduce the value of your estate so that it falls below the threshold amount. This can be accomplished through carefully planned gifts during your life, charitable contributions, and creating a trust.

If you die without writing an estate plan, your assets might be distributed to people you did not intend to receive them. When people die without estate plans or wills, their assets are passed according to the state’s intestacy laws. Estate planning helps to avoid unintended consequences and can help your family to preserve your wealth.

Most Americans are familiar with the basis of the judicial process, if only because of daytime TV. It is likely that you have seen popular television shows on both civil and criminal court cases before. However, the mediation process does not seem to capture the popular imagination as well, and thus has not had a spot in the limelight.

Keep in mind that mediation can look different depending on the circumstances surrounding it. However, according to FindLaw, both parties may or may not have legal representation and the mediation will take place in a private, neutral place.

Are lawyers necessary for mediation?

Not necessarily. It is generally up to the individual parties whether or not they would like to work with personal lawyers during the mediation process. The mediator him or herself is not affiliated with either side and remains neutral.

In some mediation sessions, the parties may appreciate additional personal legal counsel to guide them through the mediation process. However, keep in mind that a mediation session is not a courtroom and the mediation is not a judge. Even with the presence of lawyers, the majority of mediation sessions are non-binding.

Where does mediation take place?

This depends upon the preferences of the disputing parties. However, usually both parties agree upon the location in advance and it is in a private area that has no spectators. However, it is also possible that further mediation processes after the initial meeting may take place over the phone, particularly in non-inflammatory situations. Mediation, in many instances, is a cost-effective, low-stress way to manage disputes.

Estate planning helps individuals living in Hayward, California, to ensure that their assets and property are well taken care of if they die. Why? Because without proper estate planning, the properties may not be taken care of to the extent intended. Read below to learn more about the ins and outs of what is included in an estate plan.

An estate trust is the main component of an estate plan

When you write up an estate trust, you need to make sure that the trust is congruent with the way you pass on assets outside of the will. For example, you should not list your brother as a beneficiary for your life insurance policy, and place your mom as the beneficiary on your trust. If you accidentally do this, you could be subjecting both of these people to a costly and time-consuming court battle.

Draft up a beneficiary designation

It is possible that even if you do not create a trust, your heirs could receive many of your estate assets or 401k account. For this reason, it is important to maintain a beneficiary. Also, if you fail to maintain a beneficiary, the probate court can determine how your assets are allocated. In all likelihood, if a judge is left to make these decisions, they will make decisions that go against your situation or wishes.

The letter of intent is a good add-on to the beneficiary

The letter of intent is a significant addition to the beneficiary because it gives those same beneficiaries explicit instructions for how to care for your assets. You can also include instructions for your funeral plans. While letters of intent are not technically legal documents, they are useful because they show what you want to happen to your estate planning in the event that your trust is deemed invalid for whatever reason.

Do you need to write or rewrite your estate plan? You may want to do this as soon as possible because life is unpredictable. If you need help with writing your estate plan, reach out to an attorney near you.

When you see something wrong in the workplace, you should not face punishment if you step up to talk about it. This is what anti-retaliatory protections are here to do. As an employee, it is important to understand what your rights and protections are.

It is also important to understand what retaliation is, so you can take appropriate actions if this is what you currently face.

What is workplace retaliation?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission examines workplace retaliation. These are any negative actions taken against an employee after they have asserted their right to freedom from discrimination and harassment. In other words, retaliation is an employer’s way of punishing someone for bringing attention to discriminatory or harassing behaviors at their workplace.

Retaliation can come in many forms, which you have protection from. This can include:

  • An increase in scrutiny at work
  • Reprimanding you or giving you a lower performance evaluation
  • Using physical or verbal abuse against you
  • Demoting you to a less desirable position
  • Threatening or making reports to authorities
  • Making your work life more difficult on purpose
  • Spreading false rumors or treating your family in a negative way

Your employers rights

Employers have the ability to discharge an employee for any reason. However, the EEO applies when the reasons for this discipline or discharge stems from discriminatory or retaliatory origins. Employers also cannot act in response to EEO activity that discourages complaints or resistance toward harassment in the future.

It is somewhat tricky to navigate these situations. Thus, if you want to learn more, you could contact legal help to guide you through.

Creating a will is a necessary part of putting together your estate plan. This document outlines how you want to distribute your assets after your death and who you want to care for any minor children.

But many people have yet to create a will – a survey conducted by estimates only 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have made this legal document. Not only should you make creating a will a priority, but after you have this document, you should update it when certain life situations arise.

1. When you become a parent

After you become a parent, you should update your will to name a legal guardian. This person will become responsible for your child if you unexpectedly pass away.

2. When you experience changes in wealth

You may have experienced changes in your assets or wealth as the years have passed. When you experience a significant change in your wealth, such as receiving an inheritance, account for this alteration in your will.

3. When you want to change your executor or a beneficiary

You may not want to use the same executor or have the same beneficiaries as when you first made your will. If your circumstances have changed and you want to rename an executor or change the people who receive your assets, revise your will.

Your will is not a stagnant document and will change throughout your life. In addition to altering your will in these circumstances, plan on reviewing this legal document approximately once a year.

Avoiding litigation as a business owner is not only a good way to avoid headaches, but it is simply good business. Getting involved in litigation is expensive and time-consuming. In addition, it can cost you good business relationships.

This is why many in businesses turn to alternative means of resolving disputes. Two of the more common ways to resolve workplace disputes are mediation and arbitration. However, the role of a mediator and an arbitrator is different. Primarily, mediators make non-binding decisions and work to support collaboration and communication between feuding parties, whereas arbitrators act more like judges.

The role of a mediator

It is important to remember that mediators do not issue binding decisions or rulings. It is possible that if you go through the mediation process you may still end up in court if you cannot negotiate a favorable outcome with the other party. However, an experienced mediator can help you create a solution that pleases both you and the other party.

Even though the mediator may not be able to help you and the other party reconcile entirely, even settling minor problems can lead to common goals and quicker overall resolution.

The role of an arbitrator

On the other hand, arbitrators do issue binding decisions. In fact, in some instances it can be more difficult to overturn the decision of an arbitrator as compared to a judge. Arbitrators are very similar to judges, only that you have the ability to choose an arbitrator. You do not have the ability to choose which judge oversees your case in a court of law.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace help to make everyone happier and more productive. However, determining if your work environment is diverse and inclusive can be confusing.

It helps to understand what those terms mean. According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, diversity and inclusion mean having employees from different cultures, races, religions and other backgrounds and accepting and honoring the differences between your employees.

Common characteristics

A workplace that is diverse and inclusive is free of discrimination and harassment. Every worker has the same opportunities. The overall company thrives off the experiences, knowledge and individual contributions that the diverse workforce offers.

The company values every employee despite the differences. It recognizes that everyone has something unique to offer.

Incorporating diversity and inclusion

To ensure your workplace has these characteristics, you should cast a wide net when looking for new employees. Make sure that your policies treat everyone equally and seek out feedback from current employees on their concerns about inclusion and discrimination.

Make sure your executive and management teams are diverse. It is not enough to hire employees from different backgrounds. You also need to lead by example.

You should also work to create a culture within the workplace that is accepting and tolerant. Your policies should make it clear that discrimination or harassment will never be ok. Have strict standards for handling issues.

Ensure you quickly and thoroughly investigate and handle any concerns your employees have in a prompt manner.

Be aware of the differences. Include everyone in parties and celebrations, especially those concerning religious holidays. You may need to adjust current policies to ensure you include employees of all religions.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace involves being more aware. Once you start to look at your employees and embrace their differences, you can reach your goals.

When you operate a California business, it pays to keep your workers happy and comfortable. Part of doing so involves making your workplace a safe and inviting place to be. Yet, certain circumstances have the potential to create an uncomfortable or hostile work environment. Sexual harassment is one such circumstance. So, it often benefits you in the long run – both financially and otherwise – to offer sexual harassment training to your workforce.

Why might you want to consider offering sexual harassment training in your place of business?

It helps you avoid litigation

More than ever, employees are aware of their rights when it comes to speaking up about harassment. In the wake of the #metoo movement, companies paid out an additional $22.5 million in monetary damages over the year prior. Litigation is expensive, but providing sexual harassment training may help you avoid it.

It helps minimize absenteeism

Many employees who are subject to, or who witness, sexual harassment at work find it difficult to return to work each day. This has the potential to breed absenteeism. Productivity decreases when employees fail to show up, and this also means other workers must pick up the slack, which may lead to unnecessary complications and resentment.

It raises morale

Your workers want to feel as if you care about them and want them to feel comfortable in your place of business. By offering sexual harassment training, you are showing them you prioritize maintaining an environment where workers feel safe and included.

There are clear benefits that come with offering sexual harassment training, even if it has not yet been an issue in your business environment.