Demographic Changes and Equal Employment Opportunity Legislation: Implications for Leveraging Workforce Diversity in the Field of Human Resource Development

Demographic Changes and Equal Employment Opportunity Legislation: Implications for Leveraging Workforce Diversity in the Field of Human Resource Development

Shani D. Carter
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1812-1.ch017
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This chapter reviews the relationship between a selection of United States federal laws and Human Resource Development (HRD). The chapter specifically reviews United States federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws related to race, gender, age, and national origin, discusses how the passage of these laws led to an increased diversity of the labor force, and demonstrates how utilizing this legislation can improve the research and practice of HRD. A comprehensive group of employment laws were passed between 1960 and 2000, and data from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Census indicate that these laws have served to substantially increase the percentage of minorities and women in the labor force. This increasing diversity requires practitioners to rethink the methods they use to deliver training and development programs to employees. In addition, researchers should examine how the increase in diversity impacts all areas of HRD, such as training, mentoring, and work-life balance.
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Hrd, Demographic Changes, And Eeo Legislation

Overview and Relationship of EEO to HRD

There have been significant changes in the composition of the workforce in the last 30 years. Specifically, there has been increased growth in the percentage of employees who are Black, Hispanic, and Asian. In addition, there has been an increase in the labor force participation rate of women, and a continued shift in the age composition of the labor force. The labor force will continue to change significantly in the coming decades.

Due to these demographic changes in the composition of the labor force, organizations should plan to tailor their HRD strategies to the needs of the diverse employees who will enter employment. It is critical that organizations manage diversity in a way that is deliberate and planned, and that the programs have CEO support to be successful (Ng, 2008).

Historic Foundations of Current Legislation

Following the end of Civil War in 1865, the United States federal government wanted to ensure that all people would be treated equally. To this end, the federal government enacted two pieces of legislation that are the basis of modern EEO laws. First, the states ratified the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1868. This amendment guaranteed equal benefits under the law for all citizens, such that all people could own property and make contracts. Employment is considered a contract, so the amendment makes fair employment possible.

Second, the federal government passed the Civil Rights Act of 1871. This act gave everyone the right to sue in federal court. This right enabled people to sue for enforcement of the 14th Amendment, which includes the right to sue for fair employment practices. The following sections review some of the major EEO laws that grew out of the 14th amendment and their relationship to HRD.

Key Terms in this Chapter

U.S. Departments of Labor: Branch of the federal government that oversees workforce issues, and which includes the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Utilization: Number or percentage of people in a demographic group who were selected for a position.

Flex-Time: Allowing employees to set their own work schedules, within limits, such as working from 6:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. or from 12:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Baby Boom Generation: People born between 1945 and 1964.

Latchkey Child: Young child who has a house key who lets herself into her family’s home after school and who stays at home alone for several hours after school until her parents return home from work.

4/5 Rule: Guideline that shows whether disparate impact exists. Demonstrates whether a less preferred group was selected at least 80% as often as the most preferred group was selected.

Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures: Documents produced by the U.S. Department of Labor which define discrimination, validity, and reliability.

Hostile Environment: Type of workplace harassment, such as bullying, that makes it difficult to perform the duties of a job.

Diversity: State of being that exists when a group contains people from more than one demographic group.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act: Law that bans discrimination in employment against people who are over the age of 40, on the basis that they are older than other workers.

Generation Y: People born between 1980 and 2000.

Generation X: People born between 1965 and 1980.

Disability: Within the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of life’s major activities (e.g., walking, seeing).

Equal Employment Opportunity: Fair treatment without regard to demographic characteristics. EEO does not require quotas (i.e., that specific numbers of people per demographic group be hired).

Disparate Treatment: Intentionally treating an individual differently because of demographics.

Validity: A state of being that exists when an instrument (e.g., test) represents or predicts something. For example, a math test contains math questions; or a math test predicts job performance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Branch of the federal government that enforces most diversity-related laws.

Disparate Impact: Unintentionally discriminating against a group because of use of a facially neutral device (e.g., a math test, on its face, looks like it is fair to all demographic groups).

Availability: Number or percentage of people in a demographic group who are qualified & interested in a position.

Telecommuting: Allowing employees to work at home via the use of technology such as cell phones and the internet.

Researcher: A person whose primary tasks are to teach and conduct research at the university level.

Demographics: The innate characteristics of a person, such as race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, or age.

U.S. Departments of Census: Branch of the federal government that gathers population statistics, and which shares some data with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Practitioner: A person whose primary tasks are to deliver HRD to corporate employees.

Job-Sharing: Allowing two highly-skilled employees to share one full-time job, with each employee working part time.

Andragogy: Training methods or teaching methods. Often used to define teaching methods that are used with adults.

Work-Life Balance: A state of being wherein an employee successfully balances time and emotional demands between personal life and professional life.

Career Path: The workplace experiences and occupations a person holds from the first job until retirement.

Reliability: A state of being that exists when an instrument (e.g., test) score is stable (e.g., each time a person takes a test, the score is the same; or if two supervisors rate an employee, they agree on the quality of the employee’s work).

Quid Pro Quo: Literally, this for that. A type of sexual harassment that requires submission to sexual advances as a condition of employment.

Pedagogy: Training methods or teaching methods. Often used to define teaching methods that are used with children.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale: Type of performance appraisal that lists specific work behaviors (e.g., smile at customers) and which can require a supervisor to indicate how frequently an employee performed the behavior during a year.

Labor Force Participation Rate: Percentage of all people who are working or looking for work.

Title VII CRA 1964: Law that bans discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender, and national origin.

Equal Pay Act: Law that bans discrimination in compensation and benefits by gender.

Mentoring: One-on-one, long term training and development with the goal of preparing an employee for higher-level positions.

Presidential Executive Orders: Decree written by the U.S. President ordering the branches of the Federal Government to do something. Does not require permission or approval of Congress or the Supreme Court. Can be withdrawn by any time by any U.S. President.

Human Resource Development (HRD): Training and development activities in an organization conducted to increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees.

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