Common sense in the workplace has been replaced by litigation. Human resource departments now have many rules and regulations that need to be followed or the company can face stiff fines and penalties. Some of these regulations that have been established by the United States, such as the Department of Labor, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Americans with Disabilities Act from 1990, and the Department of Homeland Security will be discussed in this paper in relation to how they have an effect on all human resource departments of all types of organizations.
The Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws (Calvasina G,Calvasina R, Calvasina E, 2009). These laws cover a large variety of workplace laws. These include some that assure workplace safety, minimum wage, overtime pay, freedom from employment discrimination, and unemployment insurance. The human resource departments of all companies have to assure that they are in compliance with minimum wage pay, making sure that all employees get paid appropriately for overtime, and that the workplace is safe and has healthy conditions for all employees. Another way this effects human resources is they have to continually assure that no employee was let go for a discriminatory reason.
If it is found that the company has not hired someone, or even fired someone because of discrimination, the company can face huge fines. Also, when laying someone off, or firing them, human resources have to make a decision as to whether they would benefit keeping this person on and possibly put in a different position that they may be more fit for, or if they want to pay them unemployment. Either way, the company is paying out money, or human resources has to decide what is the best decision for the company.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ensures that all qualified people get hired for a position despite race, creed, or sex. This mandates that, if a person feels that they did not get a job that they were interviewed for because they were a minority, that the company can face fines and penalties. This forces human resources to not only look at a typical person for a certain position, but anyone that could be qualified. For instance, a man and a woman both apply for a nursing position in a doctor office. The human resource manager is old fashioned and feels a female nurse is better suited for the job. The female gets hired, but the male is more qualified for the job. According to the rules and regulations from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the better qualified person would be hired, despite the fact he is male. These laws force human resource to be more open minded when it comes to hiring people.
The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 states that all people, even those with disabilities, have the right to fully participate in all aspects of life, including employment. These laws make it illegal for persons who are qualified to not be hired based on a disability. They also require reasonable accommodation for any employee that may need it. It was the first federal based anti-discrimination act that covers a variety of employees (Burkhauser, Schmeiser, and Weathers, 2012). As it affects human resources, they have to assure that they can make accommodations for any disabled employee that has been hired. So, if an employee who is in a wheelchair is hired, the company must provide a ramp or some sort of way for the employee to enter and exit the building safely, as well as appropriate parking. This does not include employees who get hurt on the job.
The Department of Homeland Security has only recently come into play. It mainly affects federal employees, but it brings up a whole new set of rules for human resources when it comes to the federal agencies. A human resources management system that is unique to Homeland Security. The human resources department that is involved with Department of Homeland Security has to be very careful in who gets hired. They have to have a strict background check and have to have certain clearances with the government. This can lead to some people that may be deemed suspicious not being hired, even though they may be better qualified for the job than the person who passed the security clearance. The human resources manager has to be very careful and assure that they ask the right questions in an interview, along with a background check. This makes it very difficult for a person in human resources to perform their job.
Has common sense in the workplace been replaced by litigation? In many of these cases and laws, I do not agree with this statement. I agree that one is using common sense when they hire the person best qualified for the job despite sex, race, religion, or disability. But, I agree with this statement when it comes to the requirements of the Department of Homeland Security. The person who is best qualified can miss out on the job if they happen to have a certain background that may look suspicious, even if the person would never intend on being a terrorist. I do feel these other laws do force people to be open minded, and that can lead to good things for the company when they look beyond a disability or minority and hire the best qualified person. I do not feel that it should be too hard on human resources to apply these laws.
BURKHAUSER, R. V., SCHMEISER, M. D., & WEATHERS II, R. R. (2012). THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWS ON THE PROVISION OF WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATIONS FOLLOWING THE ONSET OF A DISABILITY. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 65(1), 161-180
Calvasina, G. E., Calvasina, R. V., & Calvasina, E. J. (2011). CHANGES IN ENFORCEMENT FOCUS COMING TO THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: POLICY AND PRACTICE ISSUES FOR EMPLOYERS. Journal Of Legal, Ethical & Regulatory Issues, 14(1), 91-99
How to Protect the Nation. (2002). Congressional Digest, 81(8), 225