Any given society is made up of different social groups mainly characterized by varied features such as race, gender, ethnicity and economic status among others. As a result, there are various imbalances that exist in societies in terms of access to available opportunities. In a business setting, the employed human resource exhibits such variations and at time, there have been cases whereby employees are discriminated due to their race, age, gender and religion.
To mitigate this, governments have in the recent past established legislations that seek to protect employees from such discriminations when it comes to employment, promotions, demotions and rewards. This paper shall set out to identify and analyze three legislations that specifically deal with discrimination in promotion and hiring. To this end, an overview of the selected legislations shall be provided, and their strengths and weaknesses analyzed.
The affirmative action plan was introduced in 1961 by President Kennedy in order to address discrimination based on race and minorities in various sectors (Pynes, 2008). Today, federal contractors and subcontractors are expected to implement affirmative action when recruiting, hiring and promoting minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and veterans.
Pynes (2008) asserts that the procedures used to implement affirmative action in work places should be incorporated into the company’s personnel policies and are expected to be updated annually. The main advantage of affirmative action is that it empowers the minority communities and other vulnerable groups by ensuring that they have an equal opportunity to compete favorably with advantaged groups in society.
On the other hand, Pynes (2008) states that affirmative action leads to misguided notions adopted by the minority groups. For example, young employees from minority groups who join the workforce may expect preferential treatment in regard to promotion and compensation as a result of affirmative action plans set by organizations. This is not right since such considerations should be based on merit (experience) rather than status.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
According to EEOC (2011, p. 1), Title VII “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” Section 703 of this act clearly states that it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or discharge an individual based on his color, race, religious affiliation or nationality.
In addition, it states that it is considered as an unlawful employment practice when an employer discriminates against any individual in matters pertaining to compensation, terms and conditions of employment or privileges due to the individual’s sex, religion, race or nationality.
Similarly, Title VII considers it an unlawful employment practice if an employer segregate, limit or classify his/her employees in a manner that denies or seeks to deny any individual employment opportunities or affect an individual’s employment status because of his/her race, sex, religion or nationality (EEOC, 2011).
The Act applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, training programs, national security agencies and other sectors within the economy. The main advantage of this legislation is that it protects all employees in varied sectors and gives them a leveled field from which they can effectively compete with others for employment opportunities.
On the other hand, the legislation does not consider language barriers and cultural and religious differences, which may affect the employment process regardless of qualifications. For example, an Indian call center representative may find it hard to gain employment for a similar post in the united state due to the language barrier. This is a disadvantage to organizations since hiring such individuals may cost them in the long run.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
ADEA prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual because of their age. Cihon and Castagnera (2008) assert that the Act states that employers should not refuse to hire, promote, or discharge an employee on the basis of age. It covers matters pertaining to compensation, terms and conditions and other rights such as health care benefits.
In addition, the authors state that the Act specifically seeks to protect employees over the age of 40 years by promoting the employment of older persons in society (Cihon & Castagnera, 2008).
On the same note, this legislation applies to labor organizations, individuals, partnerships, employment agencies and corporations that have a workforce of at least 20 employees.
Cihon and Castagnera (2008), state that under this Act, employers are not supposed to segregate employees in a manner that hinders their ability to compete for employment opportunities or affects their current working status. This Act is beneficial in the sense that it enables older people to earn for a longer period and secure a brighter future after retirement.
As people grow old, their needs increase rapidly especially in medical and health terms. As such, this act protects such individuals by ensuring that they have more time to save up for their retirement years. On the other hand, this Act presents a challenge to organizations. In an era whereby job opportunities are scarce and a large number of fresh graduates are seeking employment, maintaining the older employees means that youth unemployment rates will continue to rise.
Discriminatory practices should be mitigated if our societies are to survive the harsh realities in today’s global community. In this paper, various legislations enacted in order to protect employees against various forms of discrimination have been discussed. To that end, the advantages and disadvantages of the discussed laws have also been provided.
Despite the fact that such legislations provide an avenue through which individuals can favorably compete for employment opportunities regardless of their differences, more amendments should be made to ensure that organizations and other people do not suffer at the expense of following the law.
Cihon, P., & Castagnera, J. (2008). Employment & Labor Law. New York: Cengage Learning.
EEOC. (2011). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Retrieved 04 N0vember, 2011 from: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm
Pynes, J. (2008). Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit organizations: a Strategic Approach. Boston: John Wiley and Sons.