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The History Of The Department Of Labor And US Employment Laws

For a period of time, employers in the US were allowed to legally discriminate against and bar certain groups of citizens from gaining employment, receiving benefits and equal pay at their discretion. After the Equal Opportunity Employment Act was created, major corporations and business owners have had to be very careful about the way in which they interview, screen and eliminate potential employees. The Department of Labor has been established for more than 100 years, however, its history has shown that the agency has not always enforced regulations that are beneficial to the work force.

Essentially, the Equal Opportunity Employment Act has given employers a set of clear cut guidelines that need to be followed in order to avoid lawsuits. The bill also requires employers that receive federal funding to maintain a specific number of employees of different genders, races, ethnicities in order to remain compliant. Although the law was supposed to encourage employers to start looking at potential employees based on their skills and education first, critics believe that EEOC forces companies to hire lesser qualified applicants simply so that they can have a more diverse work force.

Since then, hundreds of federal lawsuits have been lodged against large scale employers accused of violating the Equal Opportunity Employment Act. Usually, the Department of Labor investigates and makes a ruling on whether or not said employers are in violation of federal employment laws. Acting as a mediator, said employers then have the opportunity to make amends before the accusers take them to court.

Many US private agencies are not bound by the Equal Opportunity Employment Act, however, they still must comply with state regulations and laws. Some legislators have taken these employers to task after they are accused of widespread discrimination, but it is normally up to take corrective measures. Companies such as Wal-Mart and Goodyear have been accused of discriminating against their own employees, but they have vehemently denied such practices. Companies have invested millions of dollars in the creation of departments which deal with issues such as sexual harassment education and prevention, cultural sensitivity training and internal investigation committees as a way to protect themselves from being accused and sued for discrimination. Some employers asked lawmakers to pass new laws that will make it more difficult to be charged with discrimination, which has made it more difficult for employees in some states to have employers investigated unless they have a large amount of evidence.

03.01.2011. 15:09


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