Legal Aspects of Social Responsibility: EmployerEmployee Responsibility and Relationships
Sweeping human resources legislation enacted by local, state and federal governments during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, combined with increased activity on the part of individuals and groups to improve "unfair" employment practices, has somewhat muted the power and need for unions while at the same time complicated the operation of many businesses.
Almost every facet of employment relations between employer and employee has been affected by new legislation that has been enacted by the various governments. Some of the major pieces of legislation are shown in Table 5. This chapter cannot cover all of the areas in depth; however, key areas of legislation and their impact on the worker, the employer, and society will be discussed.
It is not unreasonable for employees to expect such things as equal job opportunities, an equitable living wage, right to due process, right to privacy, workplace safety, freedom from harassment, vacation and health care, and other possible benefits from the employer. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable for employers to expect a fair day's work, unencumbered by drugs and alcohol, out of their employees in return for such benefits. How to accomplish this and get the employer and the employee to cooperate toward achieving these goals is not an easy task. The government, in its role of "benevolent benefactor" has stepped in with legislation in an attempt to "solve" many of these problems. In spite of this new legislation, many problems still exist in the employer-employee area.