Employer-employee relationships are the most common legal relationships. Both parties of this relationship have specific rights and obligations. There are numerous laws that influence the employment process and human resource management. Two of the most important external influences are government legislation and court interpretations of the legislation and regulations. The text describes these in four areas of federal and state regulation; employment discrimination, employee protection, labor management, and hiring of aliens.
The Civil Rights Act was first passed in 1964. Since this act was passed, congress has made many amendments to this act and it now plays a major part in the workplace. This act prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of race, national origin, color, gender, or religion. In 1991, the act was amended again and it now provides solutions for the complaining party to recover punitive damages if he/she can prove discrimination by the employer took place.
However, the following limits were placed on the amount of the awards, based on the number of people employed by the company:
Between 15 and 100 employees -- $50,000
Between 101 and 200 employees -- $100,00
Between 201 and 500 employees -- $200,000
More than 500 employees -- $300,000
Also included in this act is the Glass Ceiling Act of 1991. The glass ceiling is the invisible barrier in the organization that prevents many women and minorities from achieving top-level management positions. In 1990, the case of Hopkins v Price Waterhouse went to trial. Price Waterhouse was found to have discriminated against Ms. Hopkins by sexually stereotyping her employment activities when the accounting firm denied her partnership status in 1983. The Supreme Court ruled in Ms. Hopkins favor and instructed Price Waterhouse to make her a partner, award her back pay for the seven years, and give her full seniority.