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A beginning exercise, game or simulation used as a means to reduce tension and create a more relaxed atmosphere during training programs.



Identity theft

Regulated by federal and state statutes, identity theft occurs when a person fraudulently obtains and uses another person's personal information, such as name, Social Security number, credit card number, etc., without that person’s authorization, consent or knowledge.



Illegal immigrant/alien

An individual who is not a U.S. citizen and who has entered the United States without proper documentation and without complying with legally required U.S. immigration and naturalization procedures.



Image consulting

The practice of counseling and advising individuals regarding items such as personal appearance, dress, manner of speaking or style. 



Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency was created after 9/11, by combining the law enforcement arms of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the former U.S. Customs Service, to more effectively enforce our immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks. ICE does this by targeting illegal immigrants: the people, money and materials that support terrorism and other criminal activities. ICE is a key component of the DHS “layered defense” approach to protecting the nation.

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) prohibits the employment of individuals who are not legally authorized to work in the United States or in an employment classification that they are not authorized to fill. The IRCA requires employers to certify (using the I-9 form) within three days of employment the identity and eligibility to work of all employees hired.   IRCA also prohibits discrimination in employment-related matters on the basis of national origin or citizenship.




A physical or mental condition resulting from injury or illness, which diminishes an individual’s faculties such as ability to hear, see, walk, talk, etc. 




Foreign nationals who are hired by U.S. employers under the H1-B visa program to fill highly skilled vacancies due to a labor shortage of skilled U.S. applicants. 



Impact ratio

Selection rate, for an employment opportunity, for a group of people in a protected class, divided by the selection rate for the group with the highest selection rate. For an adverse employment situation, the impact ratio is the rate of the group with the lowest rate divided by the rate of the group in question. Impact ratios are compared to the 80 percent rule to determine adverse impact.



Incentive pay

Additional compensation used to motivate and reward employees for exceeding performance or productivity goals.



Incentive pay  plan

A plan providing additional compensation intended to serve as an incentive for excellent performance, exceeding productivity goals or standards, as well as other contributions in accordance with prescribed goals or standards.



Incentive stock option

An employee stock option plan that allows options to be granted or exercised on a tax-deferred basis.  All gains on options are taxed only when the holder sells the stock. 



Incidence rate

Indicates the number of workplace injuries/illnesses and the number of lost work days per 100 employees. 


Ensuring that all of organizational talent is valued, treated fairly and respectfully, and is fully utilized in a way that enables the organization to succeed. It also means ensuring that everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources.



In-company/in-house counseling

An EAP program which is conducted by a trained professional counselor hired as an employee by the employer to handle all aspects of the company’s EAP.  



Independent contractor

A self-employed individual who performs a service for an employer under an express or implied agreement and who is not subject to the employer's control, or right to control, regarding the method and means in which the service is performed.



Indirect compensation


Compensation that is not paid directly to an employee and is calculated in addition to base salary and incentive pay (i.e., health/dental/vision insurance, vacation, retirement benefits, educational benefits, relocation expenses, etc.).



Indirect costs

Expenses, such as fringe benefits, overhead, utilities, rent or equipment, that have been incurred for the purpose of common general activities and cannot be identified or charged directly to the production of a specific project.



Indirect labor

Used to define labor that is necessary to support the manufacturing of a product, but is not directly involved with the actual process of manufacturing the product.



Induction program

Programs designed to introduce and acclimate newly hired employees into the organization. 



Industrial democracy

The involvement and empowerment of employees in decision-making within the organization by such methods as joint labor-management committees, work teams, quality circles, employee task forces, etc.



Industrial psychology

Applied psychology concerned with the study of human behavior in the workplace and how to efficiently manage an industrial labor force and problems encountered by employees.



Industrial rehabilitation

Programs designed to get employees who have been injured on the job back into the workforce and off workers’ compensation. 



Informed consent

An individual’s agreement to allow something to transpire subsequent to the individual having been informed of associated risks involved and alternatives.




A court-issued order requiring a party to either do or refrain from doing a certain act.




These foreign national employees have been transferred to work in the home country of an international organization on a temporary or permanent basis. 



Inplacement counseling

A form of employee counseling geared toward acclimating recently promoted or transferred employees into their new positions or providing current employees guidance on the steps they need to take to be considered for promotion or transfer to alternative positions. 




Refers to the process of internally administering employee benefit plans or other programs, as opposed to utilizing the services of a third-party provider. 



Instructor-to-trainee ratio

The maximum number of trainees assigned per trainer. 




The willful or repeated disobedience to an order or directive from a higher level manager or superior to a subordinate. 


Intangible rewards

Nonmonetary reinforcing, such as praise, given to an employee in recognition of a job well done or a particular achievement. 



Integrity testing

A pre-employment psychological assessment tool used to gauge an applicant’s honesty. 



Intellectual property

Property which is protected under federal law, including trade secrets, confidential or proprietary information, copyrightable or creative works, ideas, patents or inventions.



Intelligence quotient (IQ)

The measure of an individual’s cognitive abilities, as measured by an intelligence test. 



Intermittent/reduced schedule leave

Under FMLA, intermittent and reduced schedule leave is used to describe leave that is not taken on a consecutive basis but rather taken in increments of days or hours.



Internal audit

The process of conducting an in-house examination of one or more of an organization’s processes, functions, programs, etc. 



Internal equity

A term used to refer to employees’ perceived fairness of a company’s  pay structure as it relates to their responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and working conditions compared with those of other employees in similar or like positions.   

Internal mobility

The movement of employees from one job to another either vertically or laterally within an organizational structure.  Internal mobility is a cluster comprising of promotion, demotion, transfer and separations.  Such movements may take place between positions in specific areas, departments, divisions or establishments for employers with multiple establishments .

Internal recruitment

The practice of assessing the employer’s current workforce to determine whether or not current employees possess the required skills or qualifications to fill specific vacancies either through promotion or transfer. 



Internal temporary pool employee

A pool of former employees who are called upon and hired to fill temporary staffing needs on an as-needed basis. 




A partnership between an organization and an educational institution, whereby students are hired by an employer for a specified period of time into a professional or technical position that correlates with their area of study in order to provide them with hands-on experience and prepare them for the workforce. 



Interpersonal communications

Refers to the process of communicating with another person or group to express feelings, thoughts or information by means of physical gestures or verbal exchanges.



Interpretive Guidelines on Sexual Harassment

EEOC issued guidelines defining sexual harassment and the employer’s responsibility for maintaining a workplace environment which is free from sexual harassment or intimidation.



Intersectional discrimination

Discrimination not just because of one protected trait (e.g., race), but also because of the intersection of two or more protected bases (e.g., race and sex), i.e., Title VII prohibits discrimination against black women even if the employer does not discriminate against white women or black men




Used during the selection process, an interview is a face-to-face meeting with an individual or group, which involves asking questions to elicit information from the applicant to determine whether or not an applicant is suitable for a position of employment.



Interview to offer ratio

The ratio of the numbers of individuals interviewed to actual offers extended.


Intrinsic reward

Refers to an outcome received by an individual as a result of engaging in a particular activity (i.e. a job well done) and for which there is no observable external or monetary incentives. 



ISO 9000

Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), it is a set of standards for quality management systems that is accepted around the world.  Organizations that conform to these standards can receive ISO 9000 certification.  The standard intended for quality management system assessment and registration is ISO 9001.  The standards apply uniformly to organizations of any size or description.



Invitation to self-identify

An invitation by an employer extended to all employees who believe they are covered by Section 402 or 503 to identify themselves as having a disability, being a disabled veteran, a Vietnam-era veteran or other eligible veteran for purposes of making reasonable accommodation and taking affirmative action. Applicants may no longer be asked to self-identify prior to an offer of employment being extended to them by the employer.

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