Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 205–221 | Cite as

Do Employers Comply with Civil/Human Rights Legislation? New Evidence from New Zealand Job Application Forms

  • Sondra Harcourt
  • Mark Harcourt

Abstract

This study assesses the extent to which job application forms violate the New Zealand Human Rights Act. The sample for the study includes 229 job application forms, collected from a variety of large and small, public- and private-sector organizations that together employ approximately 200,000 workers. Two hundred and four or 88% of the job application forms contain at least one violation of the Act. One hundred and sixty five or 72% contain two or more and 140 or 61% contain three or more violations. The most common violations concern age, gender, nationality, and disability. The least common concern political opinion, ethical belief, religious belief, and sexual orientation. Despite widespread violations, many forms do have non-discriminatory questions that yield the same kind of useful information as discriminatory questions. Employers could incorporate these into their job application forms to bring themselves into compliance with the law. The same lessons also generally apply to North American employers, given the high degree of comparability between American, Canadian, and New Zealand anti-discrimination laws.

civil rights human rights regulatory compliance 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adzoxornu. I.: 1996, 'Discrimination Against Fat People. Part I: It Is Not Over Until the Fat Person Sings', Human Rights Law and Practice 2(3), 139–168.Google Scholar
  2. Adzoxornu. I.: 1997a, 'Indirect Discrimination in Employment', New Zealand Law Journal ( June), 216–220.Google Scholar
  3. Adzoxornu. I.: 1997b, 'Religious and Ethical Belief Discrimination in Employment', Human Rights Law and Practice 3(3), 163–199.Google Scholar
  4. Bennington, L. and R. Wein: 2000, 'Anti-discrimination Legislation in Australia: Fair, Effective, Efficient, or Irrelevant?', International Journal of Manpower 21(1), 21–33.Google Scholar
  5. Dodge, L.: 1997, 'Intergovernmental Relations and the Administrative Enforcement of Equal Employment Opportunity Laws', Public Administration Review 57(5), 431–440.Google Scholar
  6. Greenlaw, P., J. Kohl and R. Lee: 1998, 'Title VII Sex Discrimination in the Public Sector in the 1990s: The Court's View', Public Personnel Management 27(2), 249–267.Google Scholar
  7. Human Rights Commission: 1995, Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year ended 30 June 1995 (Human Rights Commission, Auckland, New Zealand).Google Scholar
  8. Human Rights Commission: 1995, Pre-employment Guidelines (Human Rights Commission, Auckland, New Zealand). 220 Sondra Harcourt and Mark Harcourt Google Scholar
  9. Human Rights Commission: 1996, Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year ended 30 June 1996 (Human Rights Commission, Auckland, New Zealand).Google Scholar
  10. Human Rights Commission: 1997, Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year ended 30 June 1997 (Human Rights Commission, Auckland, New Zealand).Google Scholar
  11. Human Rights Commission: 1998, Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year ended 30 June 1998 (Human Rights Commission, Auckland, New Zealand).Google Scholar
  12. Human Rights Commission: 1999, Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year ended 30 June 1999 (Human Rights Commission, Auckland, New Zealand).Google Scholar
  13. Jolly, J. and J. Frierson: 1989, 'Playing it Safe,' Personnel Administrator 34(6), 44–50.Google Scholar
  14. Nothdurft, J. and C. Morpeth: 1995, 'Riddles in the Sand-Human Rights and Disability', Human Rights Law and Practice 1(1), 14–20.Google Scholar
  15. Saunders, D., J. Leck, and L. Marcil: 1992, 'What Predicts Employer Propensity to Gather Protected Group Information from Job Applicants?', New Approaches to Employee Management: Fairness in Employee Selection 1, 105–130.Google Scholar
  16. Shoben, E.: 1998, 'Disparate Impact Discrimination: American Oddity or Internationally Accepted Concept?', Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law 19(1), 108–152.Google Scholar
  17. Taylor, P. E. and A. Walker: 1994, 'The Ageing Workforce: Employers' Attitudes Towards Older People', Work, Employment and Society 8(4), 569–591.Google Scholar
  18. Warr, P.: 1993, 'In What Circumstances Does Job Performance Vary with Age?', European Work and Organizational Psychologist 3(3), 237–249.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sondra Harcourt
    • 1
  • Mark Harcourt
    • 1
  1. 1.Waikato Management SchoolWaikato UniversityHamiltonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations