The New Office: Personnel Laws in the 1990s

By Bequai, August | Risk Management, January 1992 | Go to article overview

The New Office: Personnel Laws in the 1990s


Bequai, August, Risk Management


Not long ago, futurists predicted that demographic changes would completely alter the American work force by the year 2000. The prediction has already come true: America's work environment is changing. By the turn of the century, much of the work force will be older, with women comprising a sizable component. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Labor, only a handful of employers are currently initiating programs to deal with the significant changes in the look and shape of employee populations. What that means for employers is that many organizations will get caught short by increasing government regulation and employment-related litigation during the next decade. At the very least, risk managers should be prepared for the growing liabilities associated with the work force of the future.

More proactive employers are putting stock in programs aimed at managing increasingly diverse groups of employees: Fifty-five percent of the 227 senior personnel executives surveyed by Towers Perrin have a Work Force 2000 program in place. However, there are still company executives that think they can put all their effort in the venerable employment-at-will doctrine, which allows them to dismiss employees without cause. Increasingly, at-will employment is becoming a concept of the past. An avalanche of federal and state laws and regulations, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1991, now govern the hiring, firing and disciplining of workers. The following are work force trends expected in the years ahead.

Discrimination laws. Real or otherwise, discrimination lies at the core of many termination suits. Employees who wish to charge their former employers with discriminatory firings or layoffs already have an unprecedented amount of legal ammunition at their disposal, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Many workers and their elected representatives believe that the current legal arsenal needs even more firepower. They are pushing for congressional legislation that would produce fundamental changes in the nation's civil rights law. Similar efforts in the state legislatures are taking place across the country.

If congressional and state lawmakers were to pass the legislation that these groups want, employees would be able to take their employment discrimination cases directly to court instead of having to first file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a local human rights commission. The settlements and damages paid to ex-employees are incredibly high now, and they could go higher, especially if Congress expands Title VII to give winning employees the right to ask for compensatory and punitive damages. Million-dollar awards in employment discrimination cases may become the norm in the decade ahead..

Minorities and women. Much more will be heard from women in the workplace. According to the EEOC, African-american women represent 2 percent of the managers in companies with 100 or more employees; 23 percent of the managers are white women. Three percent are African-american men. This situation is bound to change, especially as more black women enter the job market. By the late 90s, there may be more than 8 million African-american women in the U.S. work force. It is a good bet that these women will do whatever is necessary to get the courts and legislatures to guarantee them equal access to the corporate ladder.

Overweight work force. Several U.S. airlines have fairly strict weight requirements for their flight attendants. Until recently, such standards applied only to female attendants. The EEOC has filed a class-action lawsuit against a major airline for firing female flight attendants who did not meet its weight standards. The suit contends that the airline's policy, which states that a 5-foot-5-inch female attendant cannot weigh more than 120 pounds, discriminates against attendants over age 40. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The New Office: Personnel Laws in the 1990s
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.