Chapter 15: Fair Treatment – The Foundation of Effective Employee Relations

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Chapter 15: Fair Treatment – The Foundation of Effective Employee
The Strategic Importance of Effective Employee Relations
Employees are sensitive to the treatment they receive, fairness of processes
used to make decisions that affect them, and fairness of interpersonal
oImproved employee commitment
oReduced employee grievances
oEnhanced employee morale
Employee Communication and Fair Treatment Programs
Four ways to build effective two-way communication: suggestion programs,
employee opinion surveys, top-down communication programs, and fair
treatment programs
Suggestion Programs
Let management monitor employees’ feelings/concerns
Employees have channels to communicate concerns and get responses
Less likely for employee problems to grow into big ones
Employee Opinion Surveys
Use questionnaires to ask for opinions about the company, management, and
work life
Proactive way to get feedback
Top-down Communication Programs
Communication including in-house TV, electronic bulletin boards, verbal
presentations, e-mail and newsletters that provide opportunities for the firm
to update employees on important manners
Fair Treatment Programs
Fair treatment programs – programs aimed at ensuring all employees are
treated fairly
oUsually by providing formal, well-documented, public vehicles through
which employees can appeal any eligible issues
Equitable, fair, impartial, unbiased treatment. Three components:
oDistributive justice – fairness of decision outcome (eg. pay raise)
oProcedural justice – fairness of decision-making process
oInteractional justice – fairness In interpersonal interactions, treating
others with dignity and respect
Electronic Trespassing and Employee Privacy
Employees are concerned with privacy, freedom from unjustifiable
interference, control over personal information, etc.
Employers concerned with managing employees effectively, preventing
liability; want to eliminate time wastage and abuse of company resources
Must balance employee right to privacy vs. employer right to know
oCompany email/Internet for business use only
oNo improper/illegal use of computer system
oDeleted message may remain in the system
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oViolation of policy = discipline
oWritten acknowledgement of policy by employees
Video Surveillance
Used to prevent theft/vandalism and monitor productivity
Monitoring is easy and inexpensive
Privacy Legislation
Collection, use, and disclosure of personal information is governed by the
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
Employers must have consent to collect/use/disclose personal information
Fairness in Discipline and Dismissals
Employee Discipline
Discipline – procedure to correct employee’s behavior because a
rule/procedure has been violated
Fair/just process based on 3 foundations:
1) Rules and regulations
Addressing matters such as theft, destruction of company property,
drinking on the job, insubordination
Inform employees as to what is/is not acceptable, usually during
2) System of progressive penalties
Verbal warning > written warning > suspension > discharge
Severity depends on type of offence and number of times it has
3) Appeals process
Helps guarantee discipline is given fairly and equitably
Six components of a fair disciplinary discussion:
1) Take a counseling approach
2) Exhibit positive nonverbal demeanor
3) Provide employee some process/outcome control
4) Provide clear explanation of problem
5) Ensure discussion is held in private
6) Ensure discipline is non-arbitrary/consistent (standardized and fair)
Discipline disadvantages: creates negative feelings, does not ensure
compliance when supervisors are not around to enforce rules
Non-punitive discipline tries to gain employees’ acceptance of rules by:
1) Issue oral reminder
2) Issue formal written reminder
3) Paid one-day “decision-making leave”
4) If no more incidents, one-day paid suspension is removed from
person’s file; if repeated, dismissal is required
Managing Dismissals
Dismissal – involuntary termination of employee’s employment
Should only be done if there is sufficient cause and all reasonable steps to
rehabilitate the employee have failed
Grounds for dismissal – four bases:
oUnsatisfactory performance – persistent failure to perform
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oMisconduct – deliberate/willful violate of rules (eg. stealing, fighting,
Insubordination – willful disregard/disobedience of boss’
authority or legitimate orders, criticizing boss in public. Includes:
direct disregard for superior’s authority
refusal to obey orders
deliberate defiance of company rules
public criticism of superior
blatant disregard for reasonable instructions
contemptuous display of disrespect
disregard for chain of command
action to undermine superior
oLack of qualifications for job – incapability of doing assigned work after
attempts to train have been made
oChanged requirements of job – nature of job has changed and
employee is now incapable of performing job, cannot be transferred
Employment contracts are written or implied
oEmployment for indefinite period, unless otherwise stated
oTermination requires reasonable notice
oTermination for just cause does not require reasonable notice
Wrongful dismissal – employee dismissal that does not comply with the law or
the written/implied contractual agreement
oEmployee can allege wrongful dismissal if:
Notice is not provided
Notice is not considered reasonable
oTo avoid this, firms should:
avoid inducements to lure prospective employees
use employment contracts with a termination clause
document all disciplinary action
do not allege cause unless it can be proven
do not terminate on employee’s birthday, holidays
use termination letters in all cases
schedule termination meeting in a private area
have two managers at the termination meeting
Just cause – disobedience, incompetence, dishonesty, insubordination,
fighting, persistent absence/lateness; burden of proof rests with employer
If just cause is not involved, employer must provide reasonable notice
Constructive dismissal – employer makes unilateral changes in employment
contract that are unacceptable to the employee, even though employee has
not been formally terminated
oeg. demotion, reduced pay/benefits, forced early retirement or
transfer, or changes in job duties
Dismissal procedures:
oProvide warnings before termination (final written warning)
oPrepare checklist of company property to be accounted for
oChange security codes and locks
oFor mass dismissal, prepare news release
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