- Employment related Laws
Laws reflect dominant values of the society, particularly labor laws, and they are made to prevent injustice of any kind to the members of the society. Various laws relating to employment are existing in the US, and they are at various levels such as local, state and federal. Laws of employment are intended to protect the rights of both employees and the employers equally. It is believed that compliance with the laws by every one, benefits the society as a whole.
The prominent employment related laws in the US are anti-discrimination laws to bring human equality, while child labor laws to prevent children from harsh working conditions and give them freedom to utilize and enjoy childhood. When legal changes or new laws are introduced, individuals and communities who are likely to be affected by the law usually display apprehensions since newest laws demand a certain level of behavioral changes. The new rule based on the section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, on the Affirmative Action and Non-discrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Individuals with Disabilities, is one such law that creates discomfort and apprehensions in the minds of employers. The article by David Tobenkin (2013) in the HR Magazine brings out the reactions and facts prevalent in the field.
- Introduction to a new rule
Tobenkin, D. (2013) points out that though the new rule presents an opportunity to the contractors in the construction sector to have at least 7% of their workforce be veterans and disabled individuals, but they are pessimistic about complying with this law. Though the rule does not make it mandatory to employ a specific percentage of disabled employees, a benchmark of 7 percent is fixed and any time the officials of the OECCP can know the share of veterans and disabled persons employed in the workforce. There is no penalty for not meeting the benchmark , but it will place a contractor in an unfavorable position. The absence of disabled persons in the rooster is likely to attract unwanted scrutiny and enforcement in other compliance matters too.
- Reactions on new legislation
A sizeable portion of the article is filled with responses of various stakeholders on this rule. Three major points of view found in the article. 1) Cristina Solis, a San Jose based senior compliance analyst at Oracle , says that the compliance requirements will load a huge burden of record keeping , at the same time will not help the disabled individuals much in getting more employment. 2) Carol Glazer, president of the New York City-based National Organization on Disability, presents a very pessimistic view by comparing the new rule with the existing one. She says Disabilities Act, which is there in place for last 23 years could not change the situations of the disabled people. Still 70-80 percent of the disabled are unemployed. Hence the Federal rule can hardly do anything better. 3) Bradley Cave, a partner at law firm Holland & Hart LLP has a different response, he says the rule has many blurry undertones, how OFCCP will apply their perceptions of the rule is unpredictable. Even if the employers genuinely intend to provide employment to the veterans and disabled, the labor officials can quirk the case.
- Features of the new Law
A brief account of the requirements of the Section 503 of Rehabilitation Act is also given in the article. The salient points are as follows
- The final rule of the Act, prohibits contractors / employers from discriminating the individuals with disabilities for employment.
- The hiring goal fixed as 7 percent of the employees should be qualified individuals with disabilities.
- It is mandatory for contractors to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain veterans.
- An emphasis on record-keeping is maintained to assess the effectiveness of recruitment efforts.
- Probable Implementation hassles
A significant potion of the article touches upon the issues related to implementation of the compliance. One of the major issues that can come in the way of implementing the compliance is the process of self – identification (requesting all employees to declare whether they have a disability or not). The existing law prohibits the employers from seeking the information on disability, at least during the prehire period. Another issue is that the term ‘disability’ is vague, and all disabilities are not observable. The research and observation indicate that many employees who have a disability, do not view themselves as disabled or they do not want to declare as one. The employers now has an additional burden of asking the present employees to declare their disabilities, if any, and keep records of that process, which is going to add non-productive work.
- Current Challenges in HR Compliances
Compliance is a major HR issue in most of the organizations , small or big and a dedicated personnel to take care of such issues is very much needed because this function is emerging as a bundle of predicaments. Daniel V. Yager, president and general counsel of Washington,D.C.-based HR Policy Association, wittingly says in the sidebar of the article."It has gone from a situation where our companies were saying they wouldn't be able to comply to the rules, 'We should be able to comply depending upon how the OFCCP administers and enforces it,'.
The labor laws conserve the right of the employers to profit from the enterprise and the right of the employees to compensations for their efforts. Labor laws, whatever may be the criticisms on it, are crucial to a healthy economy. Economic growth reflects healthy businesses with employees who are earning enough to participate as generous consumers. Hence, laws are necessary and are for orderly manner of conduct in the society. ‘Apprehensions’ and ‘fear’ are to be overcome by innovation and constructivism.
Tobenkin, David. "Compliance Concerns.” HR Magazine, Dec. 2013: 46-48. Print.