December 14, 2011

The Legal Environment of HRM - Review Notes

Human Resource Management Revision Article Series

There are a plethora federal, state, and local laws and regulations related to workers' compensation, unemploymenet compensation, wages, health and safety in workplace,, whistleblower's protection, retirement, employee benefits, right of privacy, and protection against unjust dismissal.

Most Americans work under the employment-at-will doctrine that stiputes that both employer and employee can terminate a working relationship at any time and for any reason other than those characteristics or situations explicitly stipulated by law.

HR managers and persons intending to be HR managers should realize that the practice of human resources is a litigous minefield with more "mines" being planted in the form of new laws or regulations and the judicial acceptance of new legal theories of unfair or injurious employment practice.

Equal Employment Opportunity Law

What is employment discrimination?

Employment discrimination can be broadly decisions or working conditions that are advantageous (disadvantageous) to members of one group compared to members of another group. These advantages or disadvantages can be in the areas of personnel selection, admission to training programs, promotions, work assignments, transfers, compensation, layoffs, punishments, and dismissals.

All claims of discrimination must be filed with EEOC (http:// ). The most frequently used sources for filing discrimination violations are Title VII of the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act (CRA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA).

Sexual harassment cases are also filed under Title VII. According to guidelines, sexual harassment is defined as "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment. (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual , or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Presentation slides

Bernardin's HRM book


Chapter Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

Explain the legal issues affecting HRM activity and the various laws related to equal employment opportunity and employment discrimination.

Identify potential problems in HRM policy and practice as related to equal employment opportunity laws.

Know the importance of judicial interpretation in EEO law.

Understand the implications of EEO law in the international context.

Describe the future trends related to EEO law and their implications for practice.


Related Chapters

Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

Employee Health and Safety

Video Lectures and Presentations on Employment Law



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