Laws designed to reduce employment discrimination and to regulate labor standards have a strong impact on the management of human resources in organizations. This article examines in detail the development and enforcement of antidiscrimination laws in the United States; it also considers comparable laws and policies in the European Union (EU). A significant body of research focuses on the standards that are used to determine whether particular policies or practices are discriminatory, and if so, whether they are sufficiently job-related to be legally permissible; here, I examine key themes in this research. This article also examines emerging issues, such as determining who is an applicant and who is an employee, and it explores the role of the legal environment in impeding the application of scientific knowledge to advance the practice of human resource management (HRM).


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