July 6, 2018

The Roundup: A NY campaign for pregnant women's rights, plus faking feelings and ghosting at work

In this week's Roundup, New York's governor is taking action against pregnancy discrimination at work. Plus, why faking your feelings is bad for you, and ghosting is now a thing in recruiting.

The future of pregnant women’s rights in the workplace

New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo is taking action against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Prompted by a recent New York Times investigation and article that highlighted several women’s pregnancy discrimination experiences, Governor Cuomo has begun a state-led inquiry into some major companies accused of discriminating against their pregnant employees.

In addition to the investigation, the governor is also launching an ad campaign to publicize a new state-sponsored website and hotline, featuring information and resources aimed towards both pregnant and breastfeeding employees and their employers. Rolling out in over 100 subway stations this week, the ads feature photos of pregnant women in diverse career settings and read “Pregnant? Know your rights.”

The governor’s counsel, Alphonso David, expresses the state’s strong stance on the topic, suggesting future investigation into more companies – even offering free legal aide to women affected. David said in his interview with the New York Times, “They do not have to hire a lawyer or spend their resources or their money, because we will represent their interests free of charge.”

According to the initial New York Times exposé, the amount of pregnancy discrimination claims filed this year is “hovering near an all-time high.” As U.C. Hastings law professor Joan C. Williams puts it, “Some women hit the maternal wall long before the glass ceiling..”.

psst…..A recent Podcast by The Daily features interviews with victims of pregnancy discrimination.

Stop faking your feelings at work

An article published by the BBC outlines new research on emotions’ effects on the employee experience. Specifically, how does suppressing one’s true feelings do more harm than good in the workplace? It’s an all-too-familiar office situation – whether dealing with a difficult client or a frustrating co-worker, you’ve likely had to say or do something that went against your true beliefs. Sociologist Arlie Rochschild first studied this phenomenon in the airline industry, coining the term “emotional labour,” defined as the work and energy we put into regulating our emotions.

While smiling through clenched teeth may seem like the polite solution to a tough situation, research shows that faking your feelings can be emotionally damaging. The BBC states that numerous studies show “those who report regularly having to display emotions at work that conflict with their own feelings are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion.” Not only is putting on a false presence exhausting, it can also be isolating and harmful to self-confidence.

Hochschild states that emotional labor is classified into two distinct categories of behavior, surface acting and deep acting. Surface acting involves saying the appropriate things for the situation, regardless of your true feelings. For example, nodding and agreeing while a client says something you don’t actually believe in. Meanwhile, deep acting is the process of internally changing your feelings to understand and empathize with them, as much as possible.

So, what’s the solution? While it may be unreasonable to always show your genuine emotions, certain methods can ease mental exhaustion. Psychologists agree that deep acting, the process of internalizing and attempting to understand others, is much healthier than agreement for the sake of agreement. Among other professionals, clinical and occupational psychologist Lucy Leonard vouches for a genuine, truthful office environment – something she calls, “a climate of authenticity.”

Ghosting has moved to the workplace

As difficult as communicating with someone disagreeable can be, communicating with someone unresponsive is even tougher.

A recent Linkedin article outlines several recruiters’ experiences with the emerging phenomenon known as “ghosting.” Common in today’s online dating world, ghosting is, essentially, ending a personal relationship by suddenly and ending all communication, without explanation As CEO of the dating app League, Amanda Bradford told Linkedin, new social culture is that of “no response is a response”- whether that be through ignored texts, phone calls, emails or faxes.

As hurtful as ghosting between romantic interests can be, it can be even more detrimental in the workplace. Many recruiters are now faced not only with hiring great candidates, but also holding onto them. As many are learning, just because someone accepts a job offer, doesn’t mean they will show up to their first day, or any day after that.

Just as Tinder and other dating apps have opened up a seemingly endless, global dating pool, the internet and current economy have created a surplus of job opportunities. According to LinkedIn Editor at Large Chip Cutter, employees going ghost is probably due to the unemployment rate being at an 18-year low, with more jobs existing than people to fill them.

In response to these changing employee attitudes, employers have had to make adjustments to their hiring process. One HR director said she now overbooks interviews, saying that up to half of candidates for entry-level roles likely wouldn’t show up. But the lesson here is that communication best practices are applicable across the board – whether in personal relationships, or those between new hires and employers: show courtesy on both sides, and close the door respectfully.

Kelsey McGillis

Kelsey McGillis is a writer at Ceridian's Toronto office. An avid reader and writer, she studies English and Communications at the University of Toronto.

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