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The field of human resources management is greatly influenced and shaped by the state and federal laws governing employment issues. Indeed, regulations and laws govern all aspects of human resource management—recruitment, placement, development, and compensation.
One of the most important pieces of HRM legislation, which affects all of the functional areas, is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent amendments, including the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These acts made illegal the discrimination against employees or potential recruits for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It forces employers to follow—and often document—fairness practices related to hiring, training, pay, benefits, and virtually all other activities and responsibilities related to HRM. The 1964 act established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce the act, and provides for civil penalties in the event of discrimination. The net result of the all-encompassing civil rights acts is that businesses must carefully design and document numerous procedures to ensure compliance, or face potentially significant penalties. Another important piece of legislation that complements the civil rights laws discussed above is the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This act forbids wage or salary discrimination based on sex, and mandates equal pay for equal work with few exceptions. Subsequent court rulings augmented the act by promoting the concept of comparable worth, or equal pay for unequal jobs of equal value or worth.
Other important laws that govern significant aspects of labor relations and human resource management include the following:
The network of state and federal laws that exist to regulate employment and labor relations is extensive. In many cases, rules only apply to firms with a specified minimum number of employees and thus do not regulate small companies. But, other regulations apply to all employee/employer relationships, regardless of enterprise size. So, companies of all sizes must make an effort to stay abreast of legislative and regulatory developments in this area. Trade associations are a good source of news on new regulations as is the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM). The SHRM tracks developments at the state and federal level regarding human resource matters and makes much of this available on its Web site, located at http://www.shrm.org/.
SEE ALSO Employee Manual; Employment Contracts; Employment Practices Liability Insurance
Armstrong, Michael. Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. Kogan Page, 1999.
Mathis, Robert L., and John H. Jackson. Human Resource Management. Thomson South-Western, 2005.
Rossiter, Jill A. Human Resources: Mastering Your Small Business. Upstart Publishing, 1996.
Society of Human Resource Managers. "Federal Government Information." Available from http://www.shrm.org/issues/ps/federal.asp Retrieved on 22 March 2006.
U.S. Small Business Administration. Roberts, Gary, Gary Seldon, and Carlotta Roberts. "Human Resources Management." n.d..
U.S. Social Security Administration. "Legislative History." Available from http://www.ssa.gov/history/35actinx.html Retrieved on 15 March 2006.
Hillstrom, Northern Lights
#x00A0; updated by Magee, ECDI