There are a number of employment laws that need to be closely monitored in an organization. They include; Equal Pay Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII, Vocational Rehabilitation Act Of 1974, Civil Rights Act Of 1964, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Immigration Reform and Control Act ,Congressional Accountability Act, and Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990. Equal Pay Act allows men and women to receive equal payment for all jobs that are performed using equal effort and skills. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects employees who are above forty years from employment discrimination. Title VII protects employees from being discriminated based on their national origin, race, sex, color, and religion. Vocational Rehabilitation Act Of 1974 aims at ensuring that people are not discriminated because of the disability. Civil Rights Act Of 1964 prevents individuals from various forms of discrimination such as racial and ethnic discrimination. Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects pregnant women from being discriminated in different employment aspects like promotion, training, and job assignments. Immigration Reform and Control Act helps to deter and control illegal immigration. Congressional Accountability Act helps to educate employees on their rights, while the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 protects employees from being discriminated by employers based on age (Mathis & Jackson, 2008).
The state and the federal systems are tasked with the responsibility of implementing various employment laws at different levels. The federal employment laws are established to ensure that there is balanced power, and to achieve equity between the employee and the employer. However, the employment regulations and laws established by the state are derived from federal laws, and act as enhancements to the federal laws. A very good example of an enhancement is the minimum wage laws set by the state. It is also worthy to mention that, federal employment laws act as a guarantee to the rights of employees or workers by ensuring that workers are provided with improved and healthful working conditions, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, minimum working age, and freedom from discrimination in employment. Some good examples of Federal Employment Laws are Fair Labor Standards Act and Medical Leave Act (Walsh, 2013).
As a VP of Human Resources, I would perform a number of roles and responsibilities that include the following. My main role would be to ensure that the company has an effective system for administering the human resource function. This requires me to use my knowledge and skills to determine and direct the staffing strategies and goals of the company. As McConnell (2011) explains, my other specific duties might include facilitating and guiding management teams in matters that relate to human resource, directing the company staff on various functions of human resource, establishing and implementing all the procedures and policies in accordance to the laws and regulations set by federal and state government. Incase there are grievances; it would be my duty to ensure that they are handled in an appropriate manner, and in a way that does not cause any problem in the company. In order to avoid litigation and other losses, I would ensure that there is active participation to both state and federal regulations such as equal employment opportunity and Family and Medical Leave Act. I would also make sure that proper mechanisms are put in place to help employees comply with the set company policies.
To help protect my company from claims that what employees are asked to do once hired were not a part of the job description, I would make sure that only the top-quality employees are hired and retained. The selected employees should also be offered a competitive salary and other benefits in an effort of preventing them from raising concerns, especially in instances where they are asked to do additional work. While undertaking this process, I would also ensure that both long-term and short-term goals are established, and provide the company employees with an opportunity of networking and interacting with one another (Saiyadain, 2009).
Although organizations or businesses may be tempted to engage in negligent hiring, a good number of them insist on taking the right steps to avoid hiring ineffective employees. Considering the fact that no employer can prove to be invulnerable to litigation, there is a strong need for employers to develop effective strategies for reducing or preventing possible litigation. If an organization conducts its recruiting and hiring practices in a careless manner, it is very likely that the company will face unwelcome and unexpected consequences. A company that engages in negligent hiring can be easily sued especially in instances where an employee harms or injures a fellow employee. The increasing court cases that rule in plaintiff’s favor due to negligent hiring has put a lot of pressure to companies in trying to obtain accurate and detailed information that concern prospective employees (Saiyadain, 2009).
In order to protect an organization from possible litigation when hiring a new employee, the human resource department should observe the following steps. The first step involves obtaining comprehensive and accurate information that relate to the applicant, and ensuring that all potential job applicants fill an application form that contains all the necessary employment laws. This helps to reveal or identify applicants who qualify to perform a given task. In case the human resource manager fails to obtain all the required information, he or she can consider hiring an applicant using the available information. The next step is to determine whether an applicant is capable of performing well if assigned a given task and establishing the true character of an individual. The main reason for undertaking this step is based on the fact that an organization is able to reduce on potential litigation since employees with a good character are not likely to engage themselves in such practices. This step involves subjecting an applicant to a thorough prescreening to establish whether the applicant is of reasonable character. For example, companies can carry out drug testing to determine whether an individual applying for a given position has ever engaged in drugs (Landy, 2005).
There are eight steps that organizations should follow when terminating an employee to protect the organization from possible litigation. The first step requires the organization to adhere to all the set policies especially those that relate to the discipline of an employee. This requires an employer to consider a number a number of questions that justify the basis for terminating the services of an employee. For example, an employer should try to establish whether the employee was given time to improve immediately after noticing a certain problem or weakness. The second step involves treating an employee in an appropriate and consistent manner. Although it is not a requirement for organizations to treat all employees in a similar manner, organizations should follow similar procedures to maintain consistency. Employees with similar performance histories, jobs, and length of employment should be subjected to similar treatment to eliminate any form of bias. The third step concerns making a thorough investigation before making a decision of terminating a given employee. The investigation should yield sufficient evidence that justifies the reason for termination. The fourth step is to analyze and interpret the risk of any possible legal claims that a company can face after termination. For example, an organization should try to establish whether an employee was subjected to any form of discrimination, or violated employment laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act. The fifth step is to document all the available reasons that explain why a particular employee was terminated from work. The personnel file of an employee should be able to reflect termination reasons, and should include various items such as counseling memos, performance appraisals, and written warnings. The sixth step involves planning for a meeting where the company reveals the reason for terminating the employee. The seventh step requires the company’s human resource manager to explain the actual reason for termination. The organization should be factual and restrain from interjecting personal opinions. In addition, an organization should try as much as possible to limit discussions that relate to the termination. The last step requires an organization to establish or develop appropriate strategies that make it easier for the organization to undertake the termination process in a freely, and in a manner that protects an organization from possible litigation (Roussel, 2013).
Landy, F. (2005). Employment Discrimination Litigation: Behavioral, Quantitative, and Legal Perspectives. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (2008). Human resource management. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-western.
McConnell, J. H. (2011). Auditing your human resources department: A step-by-step guide to assessing the key areas of your program. New York: American Management Association.
Roussel, L. (2013). Management and leadership for nurse administrators. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Saiyadain, M. S. (2009). Human resources management. New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Pub.
Walsh, D. J. (2013). Employment law for human resource practice. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning