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Harassment and Employment Related Laws

Employment laws refer to regulations that oversee the relationship among the employees, employers and their unions (Appleby, 2008). These laws consist of contract doctrines and statutory regulations. Matters such as labor wages, hours, safety, and protection are predetermined in the employment laws. Apart from enhancing the relationship among labor stakeholders, these laws create a powerful system for enhancing a collective and cultural life. Globally, employment laws regulate employment relationships for two main reasons. The laws ensure that employees, employers, and their unions function successfully, and at the same time safeguard workers from being exploited by their employers (Appleby, 2008). Through this, employment laws do not only aim at protecting workers from exploitative employers, but also promote the production of wealth by advocating for division of labor and channeling the relations of production. This paper focuses on harassment and employment related laws, and outlines reasons why the laws require distinctive support and regulation from labor stakeholders for it to function effectively.

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Currently, employment laws symbolize two hundred years of advancement of realistic efforts to balance the market systems with liberal ambitions to ensure that workers are treated with respect and justice (Collins & Ewing, 2012). Currently, there are no fixed settlements or solutions to employment issues. In this regard, the ever-changing demands from market dynamics and political aspirations necessitates that the laws be altered more often. Owing to this, the employment laws have and will always evolve as a distinct subject of legal scholarship.

The concepts behind the anti-harassment laws are beyond debate. Workers deserve to work in environments that are free from harassment and racial, sexual, religious and any other form of discrimination. In the workplace, harassments refer to all acts that humiliate, intimidate, or bully an individual through personal attack. Workplace harassment often occurs when an employee or an employer exert power over an individual. According to the psychologists, workplace harassments may be considered intentional or unintentional depending on the perception of the recipient. Depending on jurisdictions, laws prohibiting harassment varies. In the US, Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids harassment based on color, nationality, race, and sex (Appleby, 2008). This act was passed into law in the year 1964. Upon the passage of this act, the United States markets witnessed the prohibition of racial, sexual, and religious discrimination. During the 1960s, the law had little powers, however during the preceding years the law was amended to guarantee workers and employers equal protection and representation. These laws have allowed workers to file complaints and charges related to discrimination without fear of retaliation from their employers (Collins & Ewing, 2012). Equally, the law mandates the employers to accommodate employees’ cultural and religious practices in the workplace, so long as their practices do not enforce any undue adversity on the actions of their firms.

Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has enforced laws that oversee cases of sexual harassment in the workplaces (Collins & Ewing, 2012). These laws define forms of sexual harassments in the workplace and outlines standards to be adhered to by legal systems when solving sexual harassment cases. According to the EEOC, sexual harassments in the workplace include unwarranted sexual advances, sexual favoritism, verbal and physical harassment based on sex. This does not imply that sexual harassments in the workplace are only restricted to sexual nature. Sexual harassments in the workplace may include odious remarks about an individual’s sex.

Another law that prohibits harassment in the workplace is the Iowa Civil Rights of 1965 (Collins & Ewing, 2012). This act was passed into law in the year 1965. Upon the passage of this act, discrimination based on race, religion, sex, nationality, color, and disability was outlawed in the state of Iowa. This act acknowledges discrimination as a form of harassment. Unlike other acts passed before, the law outlawed employers from discriminating their workers in areas of accommodations, education, and housing.

According to the Protection from Harassment Act of 1997, workers can sue their employees if they fall victims of harassment in the workplace. Through this act, employers should compensate victims of workplace harassment.

Globally, different countries and cities have laws and rights that prohibit harassment in the workplace. Currently, understanding of workplace harassment has been embraced by most states. Notably, most countries have imposed anti-harassment laws using the US approach. Owing to this, business experts have indicated that the adopted laws in foreign countries have evolved and mutated over time. According to these business experts, global initiatives aimed at eradicating workplace harassment should be done in accordance with the multinationals’ approaches to eliminate workplace discrimination and enhance equal employment opportunities. In Canada, anti harassment laws require all the employers to put in place harassment policies and programs. Through these requirements, workplace stakeholders are required to handle workplace cases before they escalate. These policies and programs should be reviewed annually to meet the ever-changing needs and expectations of the workers and their employers.

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Employers should realize that harassments are expensive. An environment that fosters harassment causes low morale in the employees and leads to high turnover. Low morale among the employees in any institution translates to low production hence decrease in returns. Researchers have affirmed that most workers prefer to quit or change their work rather than to be constantly harassed by their employers. Similarly, an institution may incur costs because of a harassment claim. If a victim files a case of harassment against a staff member or the employer, an organization has to set aside time and resources to explore and resolve on the issue. Equally, an organization can damage its public image whenever it is alleged that it harasses its workforce leading to a drop in its returns.

In conclusion, the best practical advice that this paper can offer to employers is to evaluate their employment policies in line with the anti-harassment laws, and ensure that their employees observe these policies to the letter. Employers should acknowledge that anti-harassment laws are formulated to help them come up with an appropriate decision safeguarding the interests of the employees and not to punish them. In general, these laws have forbidden them from discriminating during hiring, implementing policies, promoting, training, and retrenching employees. Researchers have asserted that most of the current cases of harassments are subconscious. Thus, employers and the employees should be cautious of subconscious discrimination as this may cost an organization. Through this, all employers should not only rely on the right policies to end cases of harassments but should also communicate to their employees on the risks associated with harassments. In addition, employers should act swiftly to contain cases of harassment in the workplace before they escalate.

References

Appleby, G. S. (2008). Harassment and discrimination: and other workplace landmines. Irvine, Calif : Entrepreneur Media.

Collins, H., & Ewing, K. D. (2012). Labour law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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