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Legislation in human resource


In all firms, big or small, every once in while there needs to be a recruitment process. This may be due to the fact that positions have become vacant because of retirement, firing, and resignation. Also, a new position might have been created due to expansion or simply diversification.

The firm needs to hire someone who is well qualified for the position, either externally or internally. This is done by advertising or promoting the same in print media or online. If the company wishes to hire externally, then promotion will be done over the internet, in job-search websites; or in print media which includes newspapers and magazines. If the firm wishes to hire internally, then promotion will be done in the intranet and the firm’s notice boards.

Promotion and hiring, however, is not to be done anyhow. There is legislation pertaining to that and must be adhered to. This helps avoid an issue of discrimination or improper actions that may arise. Discrimination may be based on race, gender, religion, , national origin, age and disability.

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Employers are prohibited from discriminating against prospective qualified employees. A qualified individual is one who can do a certain work essential functions with or without accommodation that is reasonable. Discrimination may be in term of sex, HIV/AIDS, race, disability, parental status, marital status, physical features, political belief, religion or sexual orientation.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

Many firms have many employees, young and old. It may seem appropriate for the owners of the firm or the board of directors to come up with ‘appropriate’ policies that favor the firm, say in terms of increasing their profits. However, these policies may be discriminatory in regards to age. For example, if working hours were to be increased, older workers would be disadvantaged since they are not as energetic as their younger colleagues.

This necessitated deelopment of an act by the congress. The Age discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects older workers from discrimination by their employers. Employees who are 40 years and above are considered 'old', and therefore are the beneficiaries of this act. The act covers a wide range of areas: layoff, compensation, firing, promotion benefits, job assignments, hiring and training.

All firms are therefore required by law to favor people who are 40 years and above during the promotion and hiring procedure. The ADEA offers protection against several discriminatory acts. In regards to hiring and promotion, it protects older people in the following areas:

a)      Pre-employment inquiries

The ADEA does not directly prohibit firms from asking prospective employees about their date of birth or age. This however might discourage older people from applying for employment. This is because requesting for the applicants’ age may show that the firm has an intention of discriminating based on age. Such requests are closely monitored to affirm that they were made specifically for law requirement but not for anything against the ADEA.

b)      Job notices and advertisements

When a firm is advertising about a vacancy, it indicates requirements such as education and work experience, duties and the means for applying for the vacancy. However, indication of age preference, limitations or specifications by a firm is deemed unlawful with respect to the act. An exception would be when the firm proves that age is a BFOQ (bona fide occupational qualification). This is when the specific job being advertised can only be done by individuals who lie within a particular age bracket.

Advantage of the ADEA

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act has an advantage, especially to the older people (over 40 years in this case). It ensures that as long as they are qualified for the advertised vacancies, they can be able to get employmment without being discriminated against.

Disadvantage of the ADEA

The disadvantage of this act would be specifically to the employers. The requirement by this act would force the employers to hire individuals who are evenly spread age wise. However, even if older employees would be more experienced, their efficiency in terms of productivity and working hours would be less than that of younger employees.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

Disability is defined as impairment, either physical or mental, which may limit an individual from conducting one or more major life activities. However, certain diseases that are communicable and drug addictions are not considered disabilities. Discrimination by employers against disabled but qualified individuals in regards to hiring, promoting, applying, terminating, compensating, job training, and other employment terms, privileges or conditions is considered unlawful.

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During promoting and hiring, employers are prohibited from implying in any way that they will not be giving the disabled individual the job being advertised. This is because people who are qualified but disabled will be discouraged from applying for the advertised post.

Advantage of the ADA

The main advantage of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that the disabled individuals in society will be given an equal opportunity to access employment across the nation. Employers will have to come up with ways of accommodating the individuals in their premises.

Disadvantage of the ADA

The main disadvantage of the act is that employers will be forced to employ disabled individuals, who usually work at a slower pace compared to the rest. For example, a disabled person who is mentally impaired may take longer to read and interpret certain instructions. A physically impaired individual will not be able to move equipment around as quickly as required.

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