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Creating a fair and safe work environment is a crucial goal for every organization. Several employment laws regulate the characteristics a workplace needs to have to be considered fair and safe. The legislation covers both practical and ethical aspects and aims at reducing workplace hazards, inequalities, and discrimination. Thorough knowledge of employment laws is paramount during hiring processes and for effective human resource management. Besides ensuring that a company complies to the current legislation, knowledge of the employment laws allows hiring managers to handle different composition of the workforce profitably (Mor Barak, 2017).
Gender, religious, and race differences, as well as disabilities, should be seen as resources that can foster productivity remarkably. This approach is especially important as today’s economy is moving towards a global perspective where religious and race differences are likely to increase. Below are some of the laws regulating rights and safety within the current employment scenario.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Promulgated in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) aims at preventing discrimination toward people with inabilities, ensuring that they have the same opportunities than everyone else in the United States. Disability refers to a physical or mental impairment that narrows everyday life activities. The Act concerns not only employment matters, but it covers other aspects of daily life. Besides guaranteeing equal employment opportunities, the law ensures that people with disabilities can take part in state and local government activities, and purchase goods and services.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) refers to a series of laws aimed at protecting job applicants against discrimination. EEO is fair treatment in employment, promotion, and training without prejudice towards race, religion, age, sex and disabilities. EEO applies to specific sectors, and it is monitored by particular agencies. Mainly, federal, state, and local agencies, as well as many private companies need to conform to EEO.
Equal Pay Act
Introduced in 1963, the Equal Pay Act has the purpose of preventing discrimination in payment among genders. Works requiring similar skills and conditions must have the same wages and benefits whether they are performed by men or by women. The act aimed at amending old habits where women were paid less than men or were forced to work only at determined conditions, for example, they could not work at night.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was promulgated in 2009 with the goal of monitoring and regulating the standards concerning minimum wage, record-keeping, extra-time pay, and youth employment in Federal, State, and local workplaces, as well as in private companies. For example, deductions made from wages for uniforms or tools are not legal, as they reduce the wages below the minimum required. It is important to notice that FLSA does not cover all the employment practices.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), introduced in 1970, relates to creating safe workplaces to keep employees healthy and safe. The primary purpose of the law is to reduce hazards while improving safety. Research, information, education, and training are also among the goals of the act. Also, the law gives employees several rights, while employers have to comply with many obligations.
Example of employment law violation
The EEO provides clear guidelines, but cases of indirect discrimination are common and difficult to be identified (Alonso, Moscoso, & Salgado, 2017). In my personal experience, I remember a case of OSHA violation, where insufficient isolation of an electric source caused a short circuit, harming a fellow employee and damaging a PC. After a thorough inspection, the company I worked for was heavily fined.
Alonso, P., Moscoso, S., & Salgado, J. F., (2017). Structured behavioral interview as a legal guarantee for ensuring equal employment opportunities for women: A meta-analysis. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 9(1), 15-23. Web.
Mor Barak, M. E. (2017). Managing diversity. Toward a globally inclusive workplace (4th ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA; Sage.