Survey Finds Employers Confused About Employment Laws

April 4, 1999
It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

Human resource managers say they often consult attorneys to deal with contradictions in worker laws and regulations, according to a survey of 1,402 personnel managers conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

According to the human resource professionals, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits them from sharing information that is often required to be made public under other regulations. For example, OSHA's recordkeeping rule, due out this spring, may require that all information on accidents be made available to workers, unions and others who request a report. But if an individual's disability will be revealed with the release of such a report, ADA prohibits it.

According to the survey results, eight out of 10 (81 percent) of the organizations turn to legal counsel to clarify the confusion. In addition to consulting legal counsel, nearly two out of three respondents (63 percent) consult professional societies, like SHRM, or business organizations. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they consult safety or ergonomics staff for guidance when conflicts arise.

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