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

Sondra Harcourt and Mark Harcourt
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 35, No. 3 (Feb., 2002), pp. 207-221
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25074670
Page Count: 15
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Do Employers Comply with Civil/Human Rights Legislation? New Evidence from New Zealand Job Application Forms
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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.

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