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C-Suite

A term used to describe members of the executive team, i.e. CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, etc.

   

Call center

The area in an organization responsible for screening, forwarding and logging large volumes of customer-related calls at the same time through the use of technology and other resources.

   

Cafeteria plan

A benefit plan which allows employees to choose between one or more qualified tax-favored benefits and cash.

   

Career center

An office set up within an organization to be used for the purpose of providing outplacement counseling and job placement services to displaced workers.

   

Career counseling

Guiding individuals through the career planning and career decision-making process by helping them to make informed decisions regarding educational and occupational choices, as well as providing resources needed to further developing job search and placement skills.

   

Career development

The process by which individuals establish their current and future career objectives and assess their existing skills, knowledge or experience levels and implement an appropriate course of action to attain their desired career objectives.

   

Career ladder

The progression of jobs in an organization’s specific occupational fields ranked from highest to lowest based on level of responsibility and pay.

   

Career mobility

The propensity to make several career changes during an individual’s lifetime instead of committing to a long-term career within a specific occupational field.

   

Career path

The progression of jobs in an organization’s specific occupational fields ranked from lowest to highest in the hierarchal structure.

   

Career planning

The process of establishing career objectives and determining appropriate educational and developmental programs to further develop the skills required to achieve short- or long-term career objectives.

   

Career plateau

Occurs when an employee has reached the highest position level he or she can possibly obtain within an organization and has no future prospect of being promoted due to a lack of skills, corporate restructuring or other factors.

   

Case study

A case study uses real scenarios that focus on a specific issue(s). It looks deeply at a specific issue, drawing conclusions only about that issue and only in that specific context.

   

Casual dress

Refers to attire such as jeans, casual slacks, t-shirts, sport and polo shirts and other apparel used for leisure.

   

Casual employment

The practice of hiring employees on an as-needed basis, either as a replacement for permanent full-time employees who are out on short- and long-term absences or to meet employer’s additional staffing needs during peak business periods.

   

Caucus

A labor relations term used to define periodic suspensions of negotiations in order to provide both sides with an opportunity to consider their relevant positions.

   

Centralization

The process of consolidating all decision-making authority under one central group or location.

   

Change agent

A term used to define an individual or group of individuals who directly or indirectly cause or accelerate social, cultural, or behavioral change.

   

Change management

The systematic approach and application of knowledge, tools and resources to deal with change. Change management means defining and adopting corporate strategies, structures, procedures and technologies to deal with changes in external conditions and the business environment.

Charge determination A letter issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) to both parties involved in an employment discrimination claim, stating that there is reason to believe that discrimination occurred and inviting the parties to join the agency in seeking to resolve the charge, through an informal process known as conciliation.

Child-labor law

Provisions under FLSA are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety. FLSA restricts the hours that youth under 16 years of age can work and lists hazardous occupations too dangerous for young workers to perform.

   

Civil rights

The rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal and state statutes enacted to protect a wide range of individual rights, such as right to vote, freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to equal treatment, etc.

   

Civil Rights Act of 1964

A federal statute enacted to further guarantee the constitutional rights of individuals and prevent employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin or age.

   

Civil Rights Act of 1991

A federal statute that amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enacted to strengthen and improve federal civil rights laws by providing for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination, clarifying provisions regarding disparate impact actions and for other purposes.

Civil union Legal recognition of committed same-sex relationships in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont.
   

Class action suit

A lawsuit filed by one party on behalf of themselves and other people in a group who share the same complaint.

   

Climate survey

A tool used to solicit and asses employee opinions, feelings, perceptions and expectations regarding a variety of factors pertinent to maintaining the organizations climate, such as opportunities for growth, management, working relationships and environment, etc..

   

Coaching

A training method in which a more experienced or skilled individual provides an employee with advice and guidance intended to help him or her develop skills, improve performance and enhance the quality of his or her career.

   

Co-employment

The relationship between a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or employee leasing firm and an employer, based on a contractual sharing of liability and responsibility for employees.

   

Color discrimination

color discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against based on the lightness, darkness, or other color characteristic of the person. Even though race and color clearly overlap, they are not synonymous

   

Cognitive ability testing

A testing instrument used during the selection process in order to measure the candidate’s learning and reasoning abilities.

Collective action

A federal agency procedure that  permits the aggregation of hundreds or thousands of claims requiring only that the employees be “similarly situated.”  The collective action may be maintained in either state or federal court, although as a practical matter, defendants will remove most actions when the federal statute is pleaded.  In states with strong independent state wage and hour law, plaintiffs will typically plead state law claims in the same complaint.

   

Common law employment test

Refers to the IRS’s 20-question common law test which examines the level of control exercised over a worker by an employer in order to determine whether the individual is an employee or an independent contractor.

   

Communicable disease

Any condition that is transmitted directly or indirectly to a person from an infected person or animal through the agency of an intermediate animal, host or vector or through the inanimate environment. Communicable diseases include, but is not limited to, influenza; tuberculosis; conjunctivitis; infectious mononucleosis; acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), AIDS-related complex (ARC) and positive HIV antibody status; hepatitis A, B, C and D; meningitis; SARS; and sexually transmitted diseases.

   

Compa ratio

The ratio of an actual pay rate to the midpoint for the respective pay grade used for comparing actual rates of pay with the midpoint for a particular pay grade within the salary structure.

   

Comparative rating

A rating method that determines ratings by making comparisons between the individuals being rated.

   

Compensatory time-off plan

The practice of giving employees paid time off that can be used in the future in lieu of paying them overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. While an acceptable practice in the public sector, the FLSA places very strict limitations on the use of compensatory time off for private sector employers.

   

Competency-based pay

A compensation system that recognizes employees for the depth, breadth and types of skills they obtain and apply in their work. Also known as skill-based and knowledge-based pay.

   

Competencies

The knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform a specific task or function.

   

Compliance

Meeting the requirements and obligations of affirmative action imposed by Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act and their implementing regulations.

   

Compliance Officer

An employee of the OFCCP engaged in the investigation of employment discrimination charges and conducting compliance reviews. The former name for this position was Equal Opportunity Specialist (EOS).

   

Compressed workweek

An alternative scheduling method that allows employees to work a standard workweek over less than a five-day period in one week or a 10-day period in two weeks.

   

Conciliation agreement

A binding written agreement between a contractor and OFCCP that details specific contractor commitments to resolve major or substantive violations of Executive Order 11246, the Rehabilitation Act or the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act.

   

Concurrent validity

The means of determining a test’s or other assessment tool’s validity by comparing test scores against actual job performance.

   

Condition of employment

An organization’s policies and work rules that employees are expected to abide by in order to remain continuously employed.

   

Confidentiality agreement

A contract restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information.

   

Conflict of interest

Refers to situations when an individual has other competing financial, professional or personal obligations or interests that interfere with his or her ability to adequately perform required duties in a fair and objective manner.

   

Consideration

A benefit or other item of value given to an individual who is asked to sign an employment contract or agreement (i.e., release agreement) that is above and beyond what the individual would have been entitled to, had he or she not been asked to sign a contract or agreement.

   

Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985

Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, if an employee terminates employment with the company, the employee is entitled to continue participating in the company’s group health plan for a prescribed period of time, usually 18 months. (In certain circumstances, such as an employee’s divorce or death, the length of coverage period may be longer for qualified dependents). COBRA coverage is not extended to employees terminated for gross misconduct.

   

Constructive discharge

Occurs when a manager/supervisor or employer makes working conditions so unbearable or abusive that a reasonable person believes that resignation is the only appropriate action to take.

   

Construct validity

The extent to which a test or other assessment instrument measures a particular trait.

   

Consultant

An individual who works independently to assist and advise client organizations with various organizational functions and responsibilities on a fee-for-service basis.

   

Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968

Prohibits employees from being terminated for garnishments for any one indebtedness. Although two or more do allow an employer to terminate, care should be exercised to prevent disparate impact if the employees being terminated are mostly women and minorities.

   

Consumer credit report

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) defines a consumer report as any communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living, which is used, or expected to be used, or collected, in whole or in part, for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes or employment purposes.

   

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

An index of prices used to measure the change in the cost of basic goods and services in comparison with a fixed base period. Also called cost-of-living index.

   

Content validity

The degree to which a test or other assessment instrument used during the selection process measures the skills, knowledge and abilities or other related job qualifications.

Contingency planning

The process of identifying an organization’s critical information systems and business operations and developing and implementing plans to enable those systems and operations to resume following a disaster or other emergency situation.

   

Contingent worker

Refers to an individual employed in a job that does not have an explicit contract for long-term employment (i.e., independent contractor or temporary employee)

   

Contractor

A contractor is a firm that does business with the federal government. A prime contractor receives $50,000 or more in contracts each year and employs more than 50 people in total employment. A subcontractor performs part of the contract at the direction of the prime contractor and receives $10,000 or more in subcontracts each year.

   

Core competencies

The skills, knowledge and abilities which employees must possess in order to successfully perform job functions that are essential to business operations.

   

Core work activities

The tasks or functions within an organization considered essential to the organization’s business operations.

   

Core workers

Employees who are considered to be vital to the organization’s successful business operations.

   

Corporate citizenship

‘Corporate Citizenship is the contribution a company makes to society through its core business activities, its social investment and philanthropy programs, and its engagement in public policy. The manner in which a company manages its economic, social and environmental relationships, and the way it engages with its stakeholders (such as shareholders, employees, customers, business partners, governments and communities), has an impact on the company's long-term success.’ ( World Economic Forum)

The term is also used interchangeably with other similar terms such as Corporate Governance and/or Corporate Social Responsibility.

   

Corporate culture

The beliefs, values and practices adopted by an organization that directly influence employee conduct and behavior.

   

Corporate image

The way in which an organization is viewed by clients, employees, vendors or the general public.

   

Corporate values

The prescribed standards, behaviors, principles or concepts that an organization regards as highly important.

   

Corrective action

Correction of deficiencies identified during a compliance review of an affirmative action plan.

   

Cost-benefit analysis

A means of measuring the costs associated with a specific program, project, activity or benefit compared with the total benefit or value derived.

   

Cost of labor

The total payments in the form of gross salary and wages, bonuses, and other cash allowances paid to employees and salaries, allowances, fees, bonuses and commissions paid to working directors and fees paid to non-working directors for their attendance at the Board of Directors' meetings.

   

Cost of living

The amount of money needed to buy the goods and services required to maintain a specific standard of living. The cost of living is closely tied to rates of inflation and deflation. In estimating such costs, food, clothing, rent, fuel, lighting, and furnishings as well as expenses for communication, education, recreation, transportation, and medical services are generally included. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measurement of the cost of living prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tracks changes in retail prices of an average “market basket.” Changes are compared to prices in a previously selected base year, from which figures the percentage increase or decrease in the cost of living can be calculated.

   

Cost of living adjustment (COLA)

An annual adjustment in wages to offset a change in purchasing power, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Price Index is used rather than the Producer Price Index because the purpose is to offset inflation as experienced by the consumer, not the producer.

   

Cost-per-hire

The direct and indirect costs that are calculated to measure the costs associated with filling a vacancy. Direct costs include, but are not limited to, advertising, employment agency fees, job fairs, employee referrals, credit and reference checking costs, examination and testing costs during the selection process, signing bonuses, relocation costs, human resource overhead costs, college recruiting costs, Internet costs and training and communication costs. Indirect costs can include, but are also not limited to, lower productivity, costs of turnover, morale impacts, safety (if there is a higher number of accidents as a result of the vacancy), disruption of regular business functions, overtime (to compensate for the vacancy) and hiring to maintain production.

   

Counseling

Actions or interactions in one or serial form which serve to provide direction, guidance or advice with respect to recommendations, decisions or courses of action.

   

Craft worker

An individual employed in a profession or activity that uses experienced hands to make something.  Apprenticeships are often required and post secondary vocational schools also offer such craft oriented training.  Training time can be over a course of years and require certification examinations.  Examples: electrician, plumber, tool; and die maker, machinist, HVAC specialist, journeyman carpenter, cabinet maker.

   

Crisis management

A broad term that refers to an organizations pre-established activities and guidelines, for preparing and responding to significant catastrophic events or incidents (i.e., fire, earthquake, severe storms, workplace violence, kidnapping, bomb threats, acts of terrorism, etc.) in a safe and effective manner. A successful crisis management plan also incorporates other organizational programs such as , emergency response , disaster recovery, risk management, communications, business continuity, etc.

   

Crisis planning

A formal written plan establishing specific measures or actions to be taken when responding to catastrophic events or tragedies (i.e., fire, earthquake, severe storms, workplace violence, kidnapping, bomb threats, acts of terrorism, etc.) in the workplace.

   

Crisis prevention

The process of an organization implementing specific plans and procedures designed to circumvent certain disasters or emergencies.

   

Critical success factors

The key items that must be met in order to successfully achieve a specific objective.

   

Critical tasks

The job tasks or functions essential to the proper performance of a particular job.

Cross dressing To occasionally wear clothes traditionally associated with people of the other sex . Cross-dressers are usually comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth and do not wish to change it.
   

Cross-functional teams

Work teams comprised of individuals who represent the various organizational functions, departments or divisions.

   

Cross training

The process of developing a multi skilled workforce by providing employees with training and development opportunities to ensure they have the skills necessary to perform various job functions within an organization.

   

Cybersmear

Using Web sites, listservs, chat rooms or bulletin boards to post insulting or defamatory statements regarding former employers.

   

Cultural differences

The diverse behaviors, beliefs, customs, traditions, language and expressions that are characteristic to groups of people of a particular race, ethnicity or national origin.

   

Cultural integration

The process of bringing people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds into equal association.

   

Curriculum vitae (c.v.)

Used in the United States to describe, a longer, more detailed version of a resume. Internationally is synonymous with resume.

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