Most Important Developments for 3/12

A discrimination lawsuit by an Amazon senior manager depicts a stark contrast between the company’s public statements affirming its commitment to racial equity and how the employer treats its nonwhite workers. Charlotte Newman filed a federal suit Monday in Washington, D.C., alleging the Seattle-based commerce giant paid her less than similarly qualified white peers, and executives used racial stereotypes to justify denying her opportunities for promotion. Newman filed her suit after the publication last week of an investigation by online tech outlet Recode detailing allegations by Black employees that Amazon routinely passed them over for promotion. Amazon is “currently investigating the new allegations included in this lawsuit,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, and these allegations do not reflect those efforts or our values. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and thoroughly investigate all claims and take appropriate action.” Seattle Times

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The newest HBR Ideacast is all about recruiting. Lauren Smith, vice president at Gartner Research, says the pandemic is accelerating several key recruitment trends. She led a survey of thousands of job candidates and hiring managers that details the shift to virtual interviews, but also identifies other ongoing transitions that may be more important. The research points to three main trends to manage: a rapid turnover of necessary skills, the need to expand beyond existing talent pools, and the competitiveness that comes from offering an “employee value proposition.” Even as more people return to in-person work, Smith argues, these trends will continue. Give a listen to hear all of her thoughts. HBR Ideacast

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Goldman Sachs said Wednesday it will commit $10 billion over the next decade toward advancing racial equity and economic opportunity for Black women. The new initiative — called “One Million Black Women” — will focus on areas such as access to capital, job creation, financial health, and workforce advancement. Goldman said the effort is “the largest announcement of its kind in size and scope.” Goldman is partnering with Black women-led organizations to better understand the barriers Black women face. The bank will also invest $100 million in philanthropic capital over the next 10 years. The targeted funding will take the form of direct investing, as well as grants. The firm said initial investments are underway. The program’s goal is to positively impact the lives of at least one million Black women by 2030, and its advisory council includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. CNBC

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This year, 400 lucky college grads will not only land their first “real” job but will also be the beneficiaries of a new student-loan repayment program from an employer. FIS, a publicly traded provider of technology solutions for merchants, banks, and capital-market firms, just announced this benefit for the U.S.-based college graduates it’ll hire starting in 2021. FIS claims it’s the first employer in the financial-services sector to do so. Only about 4% of private-sector employers offer a similar benefit, up from 3% in 2015. The benefit comes at a time when student-loan debt is topping $1.5 trillion (yes, with a t) and a whopping 45 million Americans owe money for their education — some of whom weren’t even able to earn their degree. According to data from Experian, that number has risen 116% over the last 10 years. New hires (no matter their age, so it applies to those who graduated later in life as well) who come through the FIS University program will begin getting the principal on their student-loan debt balance paid after one year and will receive a complete principal debt payoff after spending 10 years with the company. Fast Company

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If you were keen on getting your employees vaccinated before, the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raises the stakes. On Monday, the CDC announced long-awaited changes to its guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, allowing them to gather indoors with other vaccinated individuals. The guidelines also note that vaccinated people can be indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household, in which individuals are at low risk for contracting a severe case of Covid-19. Vaccinated people can also refrain from quarantining and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic, says the CDC. For businesses, the guidelines give employers a stronger reason to ensure their workforces get vaccinated, as it may mean a quicker return to a degree of normalcy — and that could prompt more employers to mandate vaccinations, says Jill Chapman, senior performance consultant for Insperity, a provider of human resources and business performance solutions. Chapman notes that companies do need to consider vaccine availability and hesitancy, as it’s unlikely that all employees will want to be vaccinated and that accommodations will need to be made. Inc.

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