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U.S. Equal Employment sample essay

1.0 Overview

Over the years, Human Resources has been affected by both social and demographic trends that significantly impact on Equal Employment Opportunity legislation and the entire Human Resource Management in general. The research seeks to evaluate how effective and successful this impact has been, and what its future in Human Resource Management is.

It seeks to describe the major conditions that led to the passage of each piece of EEO legislation that is, Title VII, ADA, and ADEA. In each section, we will look at legal, social, political, demographic and economic events. Secondly it will identify the problems these three pieces of legislation intended to remedy while comparing with the current status. Finally the research will look at the success of the legislations and consequently their future.

2.0 Literature Review

2.1 Title VII

This deals with the refusal of employers to hire an individual as a result of his race, color, religion, sex and national background. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits such kind of employment discrimination. It covers all companies with 15 or more employees for more than 19 weeks.

2.1.1 Major Conditions that led to the passage of Title VII legislation.

Legal conditions include the Civil Rights Act of 1991 amendment of several sections of Title VII. This amendment made it clear that it would be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail to hire or to discharge any individual on the basis of his background. This bill was a landmark legislation in the United States that outlawed segregation in schools and public places.

On political grounds, Title VII requirements were first initiated to help African Americans but later amended to protect women in courts, and explicitly included white people as well. It also started the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Secondly, if someone has a complaint and another helps the complainant, the company should not retaliate against either. Thus it gave employees the right to complain. Title VII bill divided and engendered a long-term change in the demographics of two political parties. However, both sides of the political divide voted for the bill, which won because it increased individual liberty.

One of the key provisions by Title VII is the prohibition of unintentional discrimination by use of requirements which have an adverse effect on protected groups. This is for example the use of educational requirements, tests or other restrictions which are not related to the job or even required by business necessity.

Demographic conditions include the fact that pregnant women also had problems getting jobs and this rose to Title VII act which prohibits discrimination due to pregnancy. It requires that pregnancy be treated the same as any other non-work-related disability.

Sexual, racial, religions and ethnic harassment was another major condition for the rising of Title VII. Thus one major provision of Title VII is the prohibition of sexual, racial, religious, and ethnic harassment by supervisors, coworkers or even by third parties. Discrimination of employees under such conditions makes companies strictly liable, which results in tangible loss of job benefits.

Economically, in order to circumvent limitations on the federal use of the Equal Protection Clause handed down by the Civil Rights Cases, the law was passed under the Commerce Clause.

2.1.2 Problems the law intended to remedy.

The discrimination of employment was a major problem that this law intended to remedy, thus it prohibits discrimination due to race, color, religion, gender, and national origin in hiring, employment, and termination. These various laws intended to enable the equal treatment of all people from different backgrounds to avoid social menaces such as riots and crime. Title VII aimed to increase individual liberty.

2.2 ADA

This means Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. However, the determination of whether any particular condition is considered a disability is made on a case by case basis.

The employing company must modify performance standards to accommodate the disability of an employee. For example, if an employee is unable to meet a target because of disability-related absences, then his job must be reduced. If an employee with up-to-date job requirements suddenly starts having performance problems related to the disability, the company must assess the need for new accommodations such as job transfers.

There is also the requirement of provision of extra leave in order to accommodate the disability of an employee. This is for instance by taking measures such as the adoption of an automatic policy of terminations after some leave expires, and even making an individualized determination as to the hardship which would be caused by extending the leave.

However, the employee does not have the right to dictate which type of accommodation is chosen by the company, as long as the accommodation allows the employee to do the work. Similarly, the company may not force an employee to take an accommodation whereas by the refusal of that accommodation, if the employee is unable to do the job, the company is entitled to terminate him.

2.2.1 Major Conditions that led to the passage of ADA legislation.

Employers used to require disclosure of information from applicants including private information. This resulted into discrimination in case the applicant possessed information that favored him adversely. The ADA guidelines provide for job applicants not to be asked if they need accommodation to perform the job. They are only supposed to be asked this after the job offer or if they are to be asked, this may happen only in order for them to complete the application process.

This prompts the company to ordinarily provide the requested accommodation to allow the applicant to complete the application process. Even though it seems completely futile to ask for some positions such as a deaf person applying for a job as a music judge, the applicant must still be allowed to go through the application process. It is unlawful to refuse to allow the applicant to make an application and go through the required applicant testing. As a result, companies seeking employees able to perform certain essential physical tasks may wish to consider including physical performance testing early in the application process.

Legal conditions include circumstances whereby employees used to be discriminated upon and terminated as a result of not being able to do their duties, because of their conditions. In order to be considered covered by the ADA the employee does not need to mention the existence of any disability, or ask for any accommodation.

All that is required is for the employee to give sufficient information to let the Company know that he may have a covered disability or may need an accommodation. Secondly, he does not need to propose any specific accommodation, but just identify the existence of an impairment and give a general description of the problems the impairment may be causing.

Further, he does not need to provide a medical release to the company to allow a general review of all medical records, and may limit the release to records which apply to the particular condition at issue. A company has no duty to monitor an employee’s medications unless failure of taking the medicine by the employee causes the employee not to perform, in which case he should be disciplined.

2.2.2 Problems the law intended to remedy.

Job applicants with disabilities found it difficult because of being required to give reports or mentioning the existence of inabilities. The results of such requirements led to failure to attain employment and this became a problem that needed to be remedied. Besides the reduction of employment opportunities to the disabled, this law also remedied the problem of the possibility of lost talent which could be possessed by Americans with disabilities.

2.3 ADEA

This act is aimed at prohibiting age discrimination in employment. It is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older in the United States. This law also sets standards for pensions and benefits provided by employers and requires that information about the needs of older workers be provided to the general public.

According to the ADEA regulations, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of his or her age. Employers should also not limit, segregate, or classify their employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of age. Reduction of the wage rate of any employee on the basis of age shall also be unlawful. The ADEA specifically prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotions, wages, or layoffs. This includes statements or specifications in job notices or advertisements of age preference and limitations, and denial of benefits to older employees.

An employer may reduce benefits based on age only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing full benefits to younger workers. Since 1978 ADEA has prohibited mandatory retirement in most sectors, with phased elimination of mandatory retirement for tenured workers, such as college professors, in 1993. In the face of rising productivity and affluence, older workers

find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs. The setting of arbitrary age limits regardless of potential for job performance has become a common practice, and certain otherwise desirable practices may work to the disadvantage of older persons.

Long term unemployment, may result into deterioration of skill, morale, and the risk of an employer not accepting the job applicant on the basis of age and especially if the applicant is older than average. This is high among older workers and relatively low among the younger ones.

2.3.1 Major Conditions that led to the passage of ADEA legislation.

There are some circumstances that would lead to the deprivation of employment opportunities to an individual, or limit such employment opportunities. Other circumstances would adversely affect his status as an employee or as an applicant for employment, because of age.

2.3.2 Problems the law intended to remedy.

What ADEA seeks to remedy includes the reinstatement and back pay for employee or damages if reinstatement is not feasible, or if the employer’s violation is intentional.

3.0 Current Status

The three current EEO laws have been successful at achieving their intended purposes.

As a result of the legislation of Title VII, any employer, labor organization, joint labor-management committee, or employment agency can bypass the unlawful employment practice for any person involved with any organization required to register as a Communist-action or Communist-front organization by final order of the Subversive Activities Control Board. Another positive outcome of the passage of Title VII is that an individual can bring a private lawsuit on discrimination.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees or applicants for employment, because such individual or applicant opposees any practice made unlawful by the ADA legislation, or because such individual or applicant for membership makes a charge, testifies, assists, or participates in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADEA legislation.

The ADEA law does not forbid favoring the young over the old, but it prohibits having a discriminatory preference for the young over the old. This leads to giving all job applicants equal employment opportunities regardless of their ages. However, it does not apply to state employees because of the Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents.

These laws have been successful because then employees become free in working or applying for jobs, It has worked in the US and currently employers are observing the rules. The effects of these legislations have been far reaching and have had tremendous long-term impacts in the US. Some of the effects include the prohibition of discrimination in public facilities, in the government, and in employment, invalidating the Jim Crow laws in the southern US. It became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring. Powers given to enforce the bill were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years.

Currently, there are many upcoming events suchas a case study that acts as a precedent for futre rulings. Demographic factors arise due immkigrations caused by economic integration and globalisation. All these need to be accomodated and necessay ammendments made to existing laws. The existence of age discrimination in employment because of age affects commerce, and burdens the free flow of goods in commerce. It is therefore the purpose of this chapter to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.

4.0 Future Status

None of these EEO laws need to be changed. Even though Title I of ADA was found unconstitutional by the United States in the Supreme Court in the case of Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett, and found to be violating the States’ Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution sovereign immunity rights, it allowed the states to be sued for money damages. This is an indication that the legislation is in force.

Title VII and the ADA may be generally applicable when a charge challenges discrimination by a foreign or foreign owned employer within the United States. However, such a respondent may allege that it is protected by the terms of a treaty or international agreement that limits the full applicability of U.S. anti-discrimination laws.

The 1978 Amendments to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act will ultimately affect the future labor force. The retirement age policies have been hurting older workers, but changes that are expected to occur will ensure better terms for them. Pension benefits have also been affecting the older work force but the future holds better terms for them. It also leads to the urge of a linked employment or retirement policy.

Companies and other employers are likely to respond quickly in the future to avoid legal charges, so that they may not be seen as having refused to adhere to a law. Finally, there would be more business as a result of a variety of intellectuals in the work force, both young and old, people of different backgrounds and even those with disabilities.

5.0 References

Brauer, Carl M., (1983) Women Activists, Southern Conservatives, and the Prohibition of Sexual Discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 49 Journal of Southern History.

DeLeire, Thomas. (Autumn, 2000). The Wage and Employment Effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 693-715

Fielder, J. F. (2004). Mental Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act,
Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2004

Loevy, Robert D. “A Brief History of the Civil Rights Act OF 1964,” in David C. Kozak and Kenneth N. Ciboski, ed., The American Presidency (Chicago, IL: Nelson Hall, 1985), pp. 411-419.

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